Friday, April 04, 2014

Points to file away ...

To do an act “with” the defendant
Policy was an important consideration in interpreting the phrase “to do an indecent act with or upon” the defendant in s 2(1B) of the Crimes Act 1961 [NZ], where the defendant, an adult, induced young people to masturbate in his presence but without any physical contact or overt participation by him: Y (SC40/2013) v R [2014] NZSC 34 (3 April 2014). The policy point is apparent at [16].

Equally interesting is the submission made for the appellant that the interpretation imposing liability on the defendant would amount to retrospective criminalisation, in view of decisions that appeared to suggest he would not be liable. At [27] the Court noted that the earlier decisions did not deal with situations where young people had performed the indecent acts, so this was not retrospective criminalisation.

Civil but contemptuous
The distinction between civil and criminal contempt of court was the basis for holding that extradition on a criminal matter did not operate to bar proceedings for an earlier civil contempt, in O’Brien v R [2014] UKSC 23 (2 April 2014). The distinction between civil and criminal contempt is mentioned at [37] – [40], [42]. It is the nature of the defendant’s conduct that determines the category of the contempt.