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- Unreported Judgment
DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND
RTM v The Queen  QDC 93
Pre-trial hearing: application for a no-jury trial
District Court at Brisbane
28 April 2020 (ex tempore)
28 April 2020
Farr SC DCJ
CRIMINAL LAW – PRE-TRIAL HEARING – Application for a no-jury trial – Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) ss 614, 615 – where the application is not opposed – where the applicant is facing charges of indecent treatment of a child under 16, under care, maintaining a sexual relationship with a child and three counts of rape – where the matter would not involve the court applying or determining community standards – whether it is in the interests of justice for the trial to proceed on a judge alone basis – where an unknown delay currently exists due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions – where the Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) s 32(c) provides an accused person is entitled to a trial without unreasonable delay.
R v Pentland  QSC 78, followed.
G S Bain for the applicant
S J Muir for the respondent
Walker Pender Solicitors for the applicant
Director of Public Prosecutions (Qld) for the respondent
- HIS HONOUR: No. Thank you. All right. The applicant seeks, pursuant to section 614 and section 615 of the Criminal Code, a no jury order in relation to the trial of this matter. The application is not opposed. The defendant, or the applicant, is facing charges of indecent treatment of a child under 16 under care, maintaining a sexual relationship with a child and three counts of rape. As I understand it, the issue at trial will be whether the prosecution can prove the alleged events occurred as described by the complainant child. And there is no dispute that if so proved, that the described events would constitute the sexual offences alleged. In other words, there is to be no application in this matter of community standards.
- The identity of the trial judge in this matter is not known. Does it have a trial date? It doesn’t, does it?
- MR MUIR: It doesn’t, your Honour, no. It’s only listed for today’s hearing.
- HIS HONOUR: All right. The identity of the trial judge is not known. In fact, it does not yet even have a trial date. The matter has some history to it. The offences are alleged to have taken place back in 2012 and it has taken some considerable time for the matter to even get to this court. I won’t repeat, in the course of these remarks, the provisions of sections 614 and section 615. This is one of a number of applications of this nature that are being entertained by the courts at the present time as a consequence of the cessation of jury trials back on the – I think it was the 16th of March this year – as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- An application of this – on an application of this nature, the principal consideration is whether a trial without a jury is one that is in the interests of justice. That is a provision that has been the subject of some judicial examinations, although to date no one has really attempted to define it in any limited way, and one could well understand the reasoning for that. And I note that section 32(c) of the Human Rights Act 2019 now provides that an accused person is entitled to a trial without unreasonable delay.
- Given that, as matters presently stand, it is not known when jury trials will recommence, the court’s in a rather unusual and unique position. It can be beyond question that the speedy resolution of criminal matters is in everyone’s best interests, and it cannot be argued that it would not be in the interests of justice to make orders that would result in the trial of a matter being heard as reasonably quickly as possible. Given the uncertainty as to when a trial by jury might otherwise be reached, and given the breadth of the term ‘in the interests of justice’, it is my view – and, particularly, of course, given that there is no objection to the application, that it would certainly be in the interests of justice in this matter for a trial to occur before a judge alone.
- This is a matter which complies in all respects with the relevant provisions of the legislation and is a matter that warrants the order being sought. So the application is allowed and I make a no jury order in relation to the conduct of the trial of this matter. Anything else for that matter? Do you need a mention date?
- Published Case Name:
RTM v The Queen
- Shortened Case Name:
RTM v The Queen
 QDC 93
28 Apr 2020