Criminal Trial Courts Bench Book Update 75 published

Update 75, December 2023

Update 75 amends the Criminal Trial Courts Bench Book to incorporate recent case law and legislative developments. The following chapters have been revised or added:

Pre-recorded evidence in child sexual offence proceedings

  • The chapter at [5-400]ff has been extensively revised to incorporate amendments made by the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Child Sexual Offence Evidence) Act 2023 which commences 29 January 2024. The Act amends the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 by inserting new Div 1A, extending the Child Sexual Offence Evidence Pilot scheme (confined to Downing Centre, Sydney and Newcastle District Courts), with some amendments, to all District Courts (“relevant places”) in NSW. The amending Act applies to proceedings commenced on and from 29 January 2024.

Abusive behaviour towards intimate partners

  • A new chapter at [5-2000]ff provides suggested directions and commentary on the new offence of abusive behaviour towards intimate partners created by the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 (expected to commence between 1 February and 1 July 2024). The offence involves engaging in a course of conduct consisting of abusive behaviour (violence, threats, intimidation, or coercion or control of a person) against a current or former intimate partner, with the intention of coercing or controlling that person. The new offence provisions will only apply to conduct occurring on or after the commencement of the amendments.

Prospect of disagreement

  • [8-100] to add reference to Haile v R [2022] NSWCCA 71 where it was held that the trial judge’s omission of a reference to the power to discharge the jury as required by Black v The Queen (1993) 179 CLR 44 was erroneous, and to modify the jury directions at [8-070] and [8-090] to take account of s 56 of the Jury Act 1977.