Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Judgments tomorrow in the High Court of Australia

Tomorrow, 5 June 2013 the High Court will deliver judgment in three cases.
The first is Kakavas v Crown Melbourne Limited, a case involving a chronic gambler seeking to recover $20.5 million from the operator of Melbourne’s Crown Casino.  The appellant was suffering from a psychiatric condition known as pathologic gambling.  He was also subject to an exclusion order from Star City Casino in Sydney (issued by the NSW Police) as a result of which he was also prohibited from entering the Crown Casino in Melbourne and any winnings payable to him from gambling were forfeited to the State of Victoria.  It is apparent Crown Casino was aware of the appellant’s gambling habits and financial difficulties over a long period of time, but nonetheless the appellant was provided with various inducements to return to the casino and to gamble.  At issue in the High Court is whether the Casino acted unconscionably within the meaning of section 51AA of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by inducing him to gamble when it knew or ought to have known that he was suffering from a “special disadvantage”, namely pathological gambling.  Also at issue is whether or not the Casino acted unconscionably in inducing him to gamble in circumstances where it knew or ought to have known that by reason of the interstate exclusion order he was unable to retain any winnings from gambling at the Crown Casino. 
The second is State of NSW v Kable, the latest instalment of the long-running saga involving Gregory Wayne Kable.  At issue before the High Court is whether or not obedience to orders of a State Supreme Court that were valid on their face (but which were subsequently found to be ineffective by virtue of the invalidity of the authorising Act) provides a defence of lawful authority at common law to the claim for false imprisonment.
The third is Agius v The Queen.  At issue in the appeal is whether a person commits the offence of conspiracy to defraud contrary to section 135.4 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code where the agreement underlying the alleged conspiracy was formed prior to the commencement of that section, but the agreement was given effect to after that commencement.

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