“QUOTEWORTHY” 1997

1. “One final point I wish to make is that this is a committal, not a trial. It is an administrative step, albeit an important one, in the criminal process. The need of the public to know what is happening at a committal is of far less significance that its need to know what is happening at a trial. Indeed, I consider it is strongly arguable that the less publicity attaching to a committal the better. I say that for the reason that often at a committal only one side of the coin is fully presented to the magistrate, namely the case for the Crown. In such a situation the publicity attaching to the committal tends to over-emphasise the case for the Crown and often is highly prejudicial to the accused.” per Beach J in David Syme & Co Ltd v Hill and Ors [1995] VicSC 101, Vic. Sup. Ct., 10 March 1995.

2. “On the question of intoxication we were referred to R v Davis, CCA, unrep, 9 May 1980, where Young CJ, said at p7:

“Intoxication is, of course, not an excuse for crime. Sometimes, however, it does reduce the culpability of a particular offender. I think that it does in this case”.

That case involved a 17-year-old youth who had been convicted of rape…There have been a number of cases since Davis where the Court has declined to regard intoxication as a mitigating factor. Some of them are referred to in Part C.17.7 of the Victorian Sentencing Manual. Where an innocent citizen is set upon and savagely attacked, it would, in my opinion, be a rare case indeed where a court would be persuaded to extend leniency to the culprit upon the basis that he was intoxicated.” per Southwell AJA in R v Angus [1996] VicSC 11, Vic Court of Appeal, 1 February 1996.

3. “The increase in the volume and complexity of litigation has led to increasing demands on the time of the courts and to the development of new methods of managing cases, often times in specialized lists. The courts have rightly expected litigants and their professional advisers to prepare and present their cases in accordance with time schedules which courts have laid down for the parties. These management practices have not been introduced for the benefit of the courts. They have been carefully devised, in response to public demand, to ensure the orderly and expeditious disposal of business in the interests of all litigants”. per Winneke P in Howarth v Adey [1996] VICSC 4; [1996] VicRp 85; [1996] 2 VR 535, Vic Court of Appeal, 9 February 1996.

4. “[I]t is recognised that the consequences of an adjournment will often not be confined to the parties and that the claims of other litigants to be heard and the public interest in achieving the most efficient use of court resources are relevant considerations. The weight to be given to them depends upon all the circumstances. They may be given greater weight where the case is in one of the controlled lists, where an adjournment is particularly undesirable and where the undesirability of adjournments both reflects and is reflected by the practices adopted in the management of the list. The interests of other litigants and the public interest in the best possible use of court resources are a relevant consideration whether or not the case is in one of the controlled lists. The pressure of business which is largely responsible for the great developments in recent years in case management techniques has required and resulted in a change in judicial attitudes to all litigation.” per Brooking J in Howarth v Adey (as above).