R v C [1983] NZLR 748 (CA); (1983) 1 CRNZ 116

This case established that no adverse inference is to be drawn from the exercise by a suspect of the right to silence when interviewed by a law enforcement officer.

R v C [1986] 2 NZLR 93 (CA); (1984) 1 CRNZ 406

The Court of Appeal made a statement of the principles governing the exercise by a trial judge of the discretion to exclude unlawfully obtained evidence.

The Court also ruled that a trial judge is not to question a juror about discussions that had taken place amongst jurors.

[Mr C, an Auckland University student, had, in the one prosecution, been convicted twice by the Auckland High Court of possession of heroin for supply.  Following each conviction the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a new trial. On his third trial he was acquitted.] 

Commissioner of Police v Ombudsman [1988] 1 NZLR 385 (CA); also reported as Pearce v Thompson  (1988) 3 CRNZ 268.

The judgments of the Court of Appeal (five member court) in this case established the present system, based upon the Official Information Act 1982, of disclosure by the prosecution in criminal cases.

The case brought to an end the unsatisfactory position that had previously applied in a summary hearing of a defended criminal case in the District Court, where the defendant had no advance disclosure of the evidence to be adduced against him. It also introduced the regime under which the Crown, in a trial on indictment, makes disclosure of material from the police file including statements made by witnesses to the police.

Mr Pearce had made application to the police, in relation to charges brought against him in the Upper Hutt District Court, for access to the briefs of evidence of the witnesses to give evidence against him. The request, which was made under the Official Information Act, was refused. The Ombudsman found in favour of Mr Pearce but the High Court took the contrary view and ruled that the briefs did not have to be disclosed (Commissioner of Police v Ombudsman [1985] 1 NZLR 578). A five judge Court of Appeal decided that there is a general obligation on the prosecution, in summary proceedings, to disclose, on request, briefs of evidence, witness statements and police job sheets. The principles enunciated in the case applied equally to witness statements and job sheets in trials on indictment. 

R v N-B [1990] 1 NZLR 559 (CA); (1990) 5 CRNZ 496

A statement of principle was made by the Court of Appeal of the need to protect the confidentiality of jury deliberations.

R v McF  [1992] 3 NZLR 424 (CA); 1992) 8 CRNZ 266

Following the reclassification of cocaine as a Class A controlled drug the Court of Appeal in this case reviewed the appropriate sentencing range for dealing offences in respect of that drug.

R v L (1993) 10 CRNZ 350 (CA) 

Two important principles were established by this case.  First, that a search is prima facie unreasonable, for the purposes of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, where there is an absence of power to undertake it; and secondly, that a search without warrant under section18 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 will be unreasonable, although the power to conduct such a search exists, when, in the circumstances, a search warrant could have been obtained.

R v S [1994] 3 NZLR 450 (CA);  (1994) 12 CRNZ 12

The Court of Appeal reviewed section 198 of the Summary Proceedings Act 1957 and set out in detail the principles applicable to search warrant applications, the principles applicable to the form and content of search warrants and the principles applicable to the execution of search warrants.

This case has been used as the basis for many attacks upon the validity of search warrants.

R v H [1995] 1 NZLR 6 (CA);  (1994) 12 CRNZ 119

A rape conviction was over-turned as the verdict was unsafe when the jury had deliberated into the early hours of the morning.

A further ground of appeal advanced was that the jury deliberation room attached to Courtroom number 2 of the (then new) High Court building at Wellington was too small.  Expert evidence before the Court of Appeal established that the overall dimensions of the room were significantly below the recommended space requirements for such a meeting room. It was argued that the inadequate space would have contributed to jurors feeling cramped and claustrophobic, leading to potential impairment of decision-making. The Court concluded that the jury room was “inadequate in size” and this may “have contributed to the jury’s difficulties”. Following this decision building alterations were undertaken to increase the size of the room.

R v S (1995) 13 CRNZ 222 (CA)

Mr S was a prominent member of a well-known motorcycle group in Timaru. He was charged with serious drug offending. The local newspaper had, over a period of time, published much prejudicial material about the activities of the motorcycle group. The defence applied to the trial judge for permission to examine each prospective juror for cause during the jury selection, on the basis that publicity relating to the accused, his associates and the offences was potentially sufficient to destroy prospective jurors’ impartiality. The application was disallowed. An appeal was unsuccessful. The judgment of the Court of Appeal (five member court) held, however, that in New Zealand in “wholly exceptional cases” a judge may allow jurors whose names have been called to be cross examined before taking their seats.

R v H [1997] 3 NZLR 529 (CA); (1997) 15 CRNZ 158

Mr H appealed conviction for a serious violent offence on the grounds that the trial judge had erred in allowing a key witness for the prosecution to give evidence with out disclosing his name and address. The Court of Appeal (five member court) allowed, by a majority, the appeal on the basis that the common law did not allow witness anonymity.  Shortly afterwards Parliament reacted to the decision by enacting legislation allowing a witness anonymity in certain circumstances.

Solicitor-General v M [20011 NZLR 533; (1998-2000) 17 CRNZ 671

The Court of Appeal reviewed the power vested in a court under the Costs in Criminal Cases Act 1967 to award costs to a successful defendant in a criminal case.

R v McM (2001-02) 19 CRNZ 669

The Court of Appeal held that a person executing a search warrant issued on the basis of inadequate or misleading information will not normally be permitted to justify the search as reasonable by pointing to other material available to the applicant for the search warrant that was not placed before the judicial officer who issued the warrant.

R v S [2005] 1 NZLR 767; (2004) 21 CRNZ 345

The Court of Appeal considered issues relating to severance of counts in an indictment and issues concerning the conduct by police of interviews of suspects, as well as the admissibility into evidence of those interviews.

R v M [2008] NZCA 290

The Court of Appeal found that the Crown prosecutor in a rape trial had misconducted himself by statements he made in his closing address to the jury. A re-­-trial was ordered.

R v McM et al [2008] NZCA 431

The appeal concerned two important issues. First, the circumstances in which an accused's out-­- of-­-court statements intended to be used as evidence in a trial can be edited at the behest of a co-­-accused in the trial. The second issue related to the effectiveness of judicial directions to juries.

R v MacD (2008) 24 CRNZ 785

The Court of Appeal reviewed the law concerning the direction a trial judge should give to the jury concerning the approach the jury takes to the evidence of an accused person.

T v The Queen [2010] NZCA 69

The Court of Appeal considered the nature of the direction that was required in the judge's summing up to the jury to overcome the prejudice that could be expected to arise in a case involving homosexual sex.

M v The Queen [2010] NZCA 123

The Court of Appeal considered whether evidence should have been admitted at the appellant's trial for rape about his HIV positive status and decided the directions the trial judge should give to the jury about the use to which such evidence should be put. A further issue raised by the appellant concerned the nature and extent of jury directions a judge should give to prevent jurors from undertaking internet inquiries.

A v The Queen [2011] NZSC 130; [2012] 1 NZLR 534

The Supreme Court considered whether the interpreting assistance afforded Mr A at his trial for rape met the standard required by s. 24 (g) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. The Supreme Court described the standards to be observed in the future when evidence is interpreted for an accused in a criminal trial.

H v The Queen [2012] NZCA 301

The Court of Appeal ordered a re-­-trial on the basis that Mr H's trial counsel made an error in adducing at trial evidence of H's sexual orientation in circumstances where the evidence had little or no probative value and carried substantial prejudice. Mr H also argued in the appeal that the trial judge failed to give adequate directions to the jury in order to counter the prejudice that would have flowed from evidence having been given about Mr H's sexual orientation.