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Case Notes from the High Court – Coughlan

High Court overturns decisions of the Jury and Queensland Court of Appeal in the case matter of COUGHLAN v The Queen [2020] HCA 15. Find out more from Butler's Principal Nambour Solicitor Peter Boyce.

I read with interest that there is another decision that has been handed down by the High Court where decisions of the Jury and the Queensland Court of Appeal have been overturned.

That case is the matter of COUGHLAN v The Queen [2020] HCA 15.

The relevant issue in this case was that the High Court held that the evidence presented, as part of a circumstantial case, against the Appellant for arson and attempted fraud, lacked the capacity for it to be open to the Jury to be satisfied of the Appellant’s guilt “beyond reasonable doubt”.

The Prosecution had failed to exclude the possibility that the destruction of the Appellant’s house (which was the subject of the arson charge) was caused by an electrical fire and so it was not open for the Jury to convict. That was the unanimous decision of five High Court Judges.

This is yet another example of how the High Court works, overseeing each State’s Court of Appeal rulings.

 

Authored by Butler McDermott Lawyers Principal Nambour Solicitor, Peter Boyce

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