23 Nov High Court Overturns Murder Convictions
On Wednesday 16 November 2016 the High Court of Australia overturned the murder convictions of Tristan Castle and Jason Bucca. Mangan Ey and Associates acted as solicitors for Ms Castle. See the judgement here.
The appeal was upheld on the basis that the South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal had not correctly applied the proviso. The proviso is a section of legislation which allows the Court of Criminal Appeal to dismiss appeals if there is no substantial miscarriage of justice, despite the fact that the appeal might otherwise be decided in favour of the appellant.
In other words, if the Court of Criminal Appeal agrees that the trial had miscarried for some reason it would normally uphold the appeal and send the matter back for re-trial. However, if it is of the opinion that the error of the trial court did not occasion a substantial miscarriage of justice, then it may dismiss the appeal even though there was an error in the trial.
In the case of Ms Castle and Mr Bucca, the Court of Criminal Appeal in South Australia ruled that there had been an error in the trial. However, the Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that this was only a small part of the evidence and would not have affected the outcome. It therefore dismissed the appeal under the proviso.
Mangan Ey on behalf of Ms Castle appealed this decision to the High Court of Australia.
The High Court held that the error did occasion a substantial miscarriage of justice. It upheld the appeal and sent the matter back to the Supreme Court of South Australia for a new trial.
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