Friday, March 23, 2012

Judgments to be delivered in the High Court of Australia

The High Court will deliver judgment in five cases next week.
On Wednesday, 28 March 2012 it will deliver three judgments: 
Phonographic Performance Company of Australia Limited v Commonwealth of Australia which deals with the question of whether or not certain statutory licence provisions in the Copyright Act 1969 (whereby radio stations are entitled to broadcast sound recordings upon payment of a fee determined by the Copyright Tribunal) constitute an acquisition of property without providing just terms, contrary to section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution.
BBH v The Queen – which deals with whether evidence of an event, the source of which was a witness who proffered an innocent explanation for that event, could be used to prove an unnatural relationship between the accused and the complainant, where the complainant gives no evidence about any such event.  In this case the trial judge admitted evidence from the complainant’s brother who gave evidence that when he, the complainant and the accused were on a camping holiday he returned to the campsite to find the complainant undressed from the waist down and bent over with the accused’s hand on her waist and his face close to her bottom. The brother agreed that the incident could have been consistent with the accused examining the complainant for a bee sting or ant bite. The complainant gave no evidence about the incident.
R v Getachew – which considers the burden of proof in relation to the mental element for the offence of rape where the complainant was asleep at the time of penetration, and the evidence is silent as to whether or not the accused knew the complainant was asleep, ought to have known the complainant was asleep, or thought the complainant was awake.
On Thursday, 29 March 2012 the High Court will deliver judgment in Commissioner of Taxation of the Commonwealth of Australia v Bargwanna.  The question in this case is whether, in determining an application by a charitable trust for endorsement as an income tax exempt entity, the fact that the application of some of the trust funds is for purposes other than public charitable purposes results in the trust not being entitled to tax exempt status.
Finally, on Friday, 30 March 2012 the High Court will deliver judgment in Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd v The Queen.  This case will (hopefully) examine the extent to which a company can discharge its obligation to do what was reasonably practicable to provide and maintain a safe work site by relying on the expertise of its independent contractors (in this case, a haulage company which transported crates of chickens, and a labour-hire company that provided chicken catchers).

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