Friday, June 15, 2012

Forthcoming judgments in the High Court

On Wednesday, 20 June 2012 the High will deliver judgment in two cases in which it is currently reserved.
The first is in Williams v Commonwealth, in which the plaintiff, the father of four children enrolled in a Queensland public school, is challenging the Commonwealth's National Schools Chaplaincy Program, introduced by the Howard government in 2006 and extended for four years by the Gillard Government in 2010.
The second is in King v The Queen, which addresses the issue of whether, in relation to dangerous driving charge under the Victorian Crimes Act 1958, it is sufficient that the driving need only have significantly increased the risk of hurting or harming others, or whether it must also be established that the driving was deserving of criminal punishment.
The High Court will also deliver its reasons for allowing the appeal in Clodumar v Nauru Lands Committee. 
Finally, the High Court will pronounce orders in the appeal in Burns v The Queen (one assumes that because they are pronouncing orders but not delivering reasons, the appeal must have been successful).  This was an appeal from the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal which upheld the appellant’s conviction on a charge of manslaughter in circumstances where she and her husband had either supplied methadone by injection to the deceased (constituting manslaughter by unlawful and dangerous act), or they owed a duty of care to the deceased but failed to render assistance to the deceased when he became ill as a result of the effects of the methadone (constituting manslaughter by criminal negligence), or both.

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