Issued: 3 July 2020
Mr Nguyen was charged on indictment with offences against the
Criminal Code (NT) when he allegedly threw a bottle of beer at someone after a singing game went awry. He had been interviewed by the police about the offences prior to being charged. The interview, which was recorded, contained admissions together with exculpatory statements in the form of a claim of self-defence ("mixed statements").
At the first trial the prosecutor played the recorded interview and the jury did not reach a verdict. At the second trial the prosecutor made a "tactical decision" not to tender the recorded interview as it would not assist the prosecution case. The defendant applied to stay the second trial.
Following previous NT appellate authority, the Full Court of the NT Supreme Court held that the prosecutor was not obliged to tender the interview as there was no general principle requiring a prosecutor to tender a record of interview simply because it contained admissible material.
The Court unanimously held that the prosecutor was obliged to tender the recorded interview, settling prior divergent judicial authority on this issue. Key points in the joint judgment of 5 judges included:
Prosecutors should assume they are ordinarily obliged to tender mixed statements in recorded interviews. The High Court's decision confirms that this approach, which reflects professional practice in NSW and Victoria, is correct.
Sarah-jane Morris, Director Regulatory & Environment practice groupSarah-jane.Morris@cso.nsw.gov.au 02 9497 9390
Naomi Malhotra, Assistant Crown Solicitor Inquiries & Criminal Law divisionNaomi.Malhotra@cso.nsw.gov.au 02 9474 9184 0416 927 933
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