Lee v New South Wales Crime Commission

The High Court has dismissed an appeal against the decision of the NSW Court of Appeal, which ordered that the appellants be compulsorily examined under oath by a registrar of the NSW Supreme Court in relation to money laundering offences, on the application of the NSW Crime Commission. At issue before the High Court was whether s 31D of the Criminal Assets Recovery Act 1990 (NSW) allowed the NSWCA to make that order, notwithstanding a risk that the subject matter of that examination might overlap with related criminal proceedings already on foot. Four Justices (French CJ, Crennan J and Gageler and Keane JJ in a joint judgment) held that it did: although there was a clear possibility that the examination might interfere with the administration of justice, the NSWSC still retained sufficient abilities to control the examination and publication of answers or documents produced. The possibility of interference alone was insufficient to support the proper exercise of discretion to refuse to make the order. The minority Justices (Hayne J, Kiefel J and Bell J, in separate judgments), held that the recent case of X7 v Australian Crime Commission [2013] HCA 29 was determinative of the outcome of this case, and that the appeal should be allowed.

Anna Dziedzic recently published an opinion post on the X7 case for Opinions on High.

High Court Judgment [2013] HCA 39 9 October 2013
Result Appeal dismissed
High Court Documents Lee v NSWCC
Full Court Hearing [2013] HCATrans 93 1 May 2013
Special Leave Hearing [2013] HCATrans 27 15 February 2013
Appeal from NSWCA [2012] NSWCA 276 6 September 2012
Trial Judgment
[2011] NSWSC 80  28 February 2011