NSW Dookheea & "intention to kill"

Discussion in 'Australian Law Students Forum' started by bruce227, 24 September 2018.

  1. bruce227

    bruce227 Active Member

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    In Dookheea vs Queen [2017] HCA 36 - re the third element that apparently was the entire crux of the trial: to "have a reasonable doubt that an intention to kill or cause really serious injury was present at the time Mr Dookheea killed [the deceased]."

    Asking as a juror faced with an upcoming criminal but still hypothetical trial:

    1. How is it possible to know (how would one determine) a state of mind? What (in the trial evidence) establishes that.
    2. Didn't the prosecution make that decision when they charged defendant with murder instead of manslaughter?
    3. In that trial [still reading the details] if found not guilty, would defendant go free, or default to guilty of manslaughter?
     
    #1 bruce227, 24 September 2018
    Last edited: 24 September 2018
  2. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    As a potential juror, I suggest you stop doing what you're doing right now. Juries are there to determine matters of fact - not the legal reasoning behind them. The judge will give you direction on what and how you're supposed to make your determinations. Reading cases and trying to understand the legal reasoning is a good way to get yourself disqualified. That's one of the reasons why practising solicitors are exempting from serving on juries.
     
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  3. bruce227

    bruce227 Active Member

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    Btw, those questions (1-3) aren't asking about the Dookheea case in particular. It was chosen after searching "beyond reasonable doubt." Reading the facts of the trial, it seems a rather good example of how tough it could be for a juror to decide guilt, considering how narrowly the issue was defined.

    4. What should a potential juror (me) consider if faced with this situation?
    5. No matter the evidence, how would I know what the defendant was thinking at the moment of the victim's death.
    6. Ultimately, is my decision always going to be an educated/informed guess, or can evidence [beyond doubt] prove what the defendant was thinking/intending?
     
  4. bruce227

    bruce227 Active Member

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    Ok, my aim here was to not be overwhelmed by the courtroom process. Those questions weren't aimed at legal reasoning but were more concerned with the problem I'll face in question 6 above. Reading of Dookheea suggested to me facts were of no relevance. The jury had to guess/decide a state of mind. That's a surprise to me. Hope I'm wrong.

    Disqualification isn't the intent. Advice accepted. Thanks.
     
  5. Rob Legat - SBPL

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    For your own sake, stop what you are doing right now. I'm no expert on juries by any measure, but what you're doing right now is probably sufficient grounds for a challenge and to warrant at least a stern talking to from the judge. If you were to do it once sworn in as a juror, it would be an offence.

    You will be given directions and instructions by the judge at the appropriate time. Everything you need to know will be set out there. In NSW you will be given written directions, verbal directions and shown a video. You can also ask questions directly to the judge if you are unclear about what is expected of you.
     
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