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Key decisions

  • De Silva v The Queen [2019] HCA 48
  • DBE17 (by his litigation guardian Marie Theresa Arthur) v Commonwealth of Australia [2019] HCA 47
  • Boensch v Pascoe [2019] HCA 49
  • CNY17 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2019] HCA 50

Criminal practice

Directions to jury – Liberato direction

De Silva v The Queen [2019] HCA 48 (13 December 2019) concerned the adequacy of directions given to the jury in a criminal trial. The trial judge had not been asked to give, and did not give, a direction along the lines of the direction proposed by Brennan J in Liberato v The Queen (1985) 159 CLR 507 at 515 (a ‘Liberato direction’). Such a direction serves to clarify and reinforce directions on the onus and standard of proof in a case in which there is a risk that the jury may be left with the impression that the evidence on which the accused relies will only give rise to a reasonable doubt if they believe it to be truthful, or that a preference for the evidence of the complainant suffices to establish guilt.

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