Friday, February 14, 2014

The view from above

Just as cirrocumulus stratiformis clouds are broadly similar to cirrus spissatus undulatus clouds, and most of us don’t really pay much heed to the difference between them, so too is Milne v The Queen [2014] HCA 4 (14 February 2014) broadly similar to Richardson v DPP [2014] UKSC 8, discussed here on 7 February 2014.

Both cases take a purposive interpretation of specific legislation. In Milne an exchange of property with intent to conceal the profit to avoid paying tax did not make the property an “instrument of crime” for the purposes of s 400.3(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth). The property disposed of was not thereafter “used” in the commission of a relevant offence.

Not too far removed from a hypothetical considered in Richardson: the shop’s lawful activity of selling soap would not have been made unlawful if a sales assistant were being paid below the minimum wage.

But we lawyers, whose heads are definitely not in the cirrus, can see the difference as well as the similarity.