“QUOTEWORTHY” 2000

1. “This application involves circumstances which are all too familiar to the judiciary in this State; namely an armed robbery of a chemist shop by a man of relatively youthful age, living in depressed circumstances and looking for money to feed a heroin addiction. The robbery was carried out with the use of an offensive weapon wielded with the intent to instil fear into an innocent, and in this case a young, shop attendant.

The circumstances of the offender usually, as they do here, excite sympathy in those who are called upon to administer punishment, but cannot be permitted to conceal the gravity of the crime which has been committed. Heroin is, and has been for many years, a blight upon the community, but a craving for it, as courts have constantly said, cannot be used to avoid just punishment for armed robbery in which general and specific deterrence must play a prominent role.” Per Winneke P in R v Reddrop [2000] VSCA 101, Vic Court of Appeal, (Winneke P, Batt and Buchanan JJ A), 31 May 2000.

2. “The offence for which the applicant was convicted was committed at Coolaroo, specifically in a shed called Shed 42F which was part of a complex in Maffra Street of that suburb. At least from June 1995 the applicant and Rodney Robinson were tenants of that shed. By mid-1996 the complex owner sub-let half of the shed to a Mr Cornfoot and a Ms Scacco, and not long later there was evidence that the applicant may be living on the premises. The shed had a single electric supply meter and so Cornfoot and Ms Scacco became aware that electricity usage in the applicant’s part of the premises had escalated greatly in the period from 30 December 1996 to 1 April 1997. Unusual activities of the applicant and Rodney Robinson were noted by other occupants of the complex and, not surprisingly, the police attended Shed 42F in the very early morning of 14 March 1997. They found the applicant therein and that the premises had been divided into living quarters and another area which contained a hydroponic plantation of 150 cannabis L plants and a smaller third area which had three cannabis L plants under a single sodium lamp. Cautioned by the officers, the applicant responded in somewhat Delphic terms, saying, ‘Yeah, I’m not saying anything, you know how it is. This is me; I’m here.'” Per Phillips CJ in R v Gillick [2000] VSCA 127, Vic Court of Appeal (Phillips CJ, Callaway and Chernov JJ A), 13 June 2000.

3. “The applicant at first repeatedly asserted to the police that he had gone from the restaurant to the hotel, saying that he had been at the hotel for 35 to 40 minutes and had emerged from it very shortly before he was arrested. As I have mentioned, he later admitted that he had not gone to the hotel that night. Having regard to other evidence, his original statement can be taken as a statement concerning his whereabouts at the time when the fire started. (His counsel was, as I have mentioned, later to concede that he must have been in the restaurant building when the fire started.) The Crown wanted to put to the jury the commonsense suggestion that the applicant had lied about his whereabouts because he knew he was guilty. Not so very many years ago a trial judge would without hesitation have permitted the suggestion to be made, giving the jury a short warning to make it clear that lies may be consistent with innocence. But we seem to have allowed a jurisprudence of lies and consciousness of guilt to develop and to obscure what is a very old, very simple, very sound and very important notion, as I tried to point out in R v Chan [1998] VSC 250; [1998] VICSC 39, Vic Court of Appeal, 12 March 1998, and as was recognized in R v Bandiera & Licastro [1999] VSCA 187; [1999] 3 VR 103. In Victoria, R v Renzella [1997] 2 VR 88; (1996) 88 A Crim R 65 is perhaps the high water mark of the rising tide of complexity. But of late the tide has turned in this State as this Court has emphasized the need for an approach which, while grounded in principle, is pragmatic and simplified. This retreat from intricacy may receive some welcome impetus from Zoneff v R [2000] HCA 28; (2000) 200 CLR 234; (2000) 172 ALR 1; (2000) 74 ALJR 895; (2000) 112 A Crim R 114; (2000) 21 Leg Rep C3; (2000) 8th CA 28. I repeat the concern expressed by this Court in Chan and Bandiera & Licastro that fear of a mistrial should not deter prosecutors from relying, and judges from permitting reliance, on lies as suggesting guilt in appropriate cases. By all means let caution prevail where the matter is at all doubtful. But the present was a clear case and one in which a relatively simple direction would have sufficed to enable the jury to consider whether the applicant had lied out of consciousness of guilt.” Per Brooking JA in R v Mazur [2000] VSCA 111; 113 A Crim R 67, Vic Court of Appeal (Winneke P, Brooking and Chernov JJA), 8 June 2000.

4. “Inscrutability is not a quality to be encouraged in judges, for reacting to submissions and the voicing of concerns and questions from the bench is likely to promote more relevant and helpful submissions from counsel and concentrate attention upon the real issues in the case.” Per Buchanan JA in West v Creasey & Anor [2000] VSCA 80, Vic Court of Appeal (Winneke P, Callaway and Buchanan JJ A), 27 April 2000.

5. “It has often been said that the fixing of a non-parole period requires discrete consideration. It has also been said, and it is perhaps worth repeating, that it is not to be fixed unthinkingly by some such method as taking two years or one-third or one-quarter off the head sentence. Just as there may be factors pointing in opposite directions in deciding on an appropriate head sentence, so, too, such factors may impinge on an appropriate non-parole period. The applicant’s youth and the question of reformation are no less relevant at that stage of the sentencing process, but the non-parole period cannot be so short as to undermine the punitive and denunciatory purposes that the sentence is designed to serve.” Per Callaway JA in R v Saunders [2000] VSCA 58, Vic Court of Appeal (Winneke P, Charles and Callaway JJ A), 4 April 2000.