Natasha Rudra June 16, 2012
The ACT Court of Appeal has thrown out an appeal against the acquittal of a young woman accused of murdering an apprentice chef in Kingston four years ago.
And the woman's lawyer says she will apply for an ex-gratia payment from the government for the failed prosecution.
The Crown had lodged a reference appeal in the case, arguing the trial judge, Supreme Court Chief Justice Terence Higgins, had made errors in coming to his not guilty verdict.
A reference appeal is made on points of law and cannot change the outcome of the trial.
The woman, who cannot be named because she was only 17 at the time, stabbed teenager Cameron Anderson repeatedly after drinking with him at Kingston's Green Square nightspot in the early hours of September 1, 2008.
Mr Anderson, 19, was found dead on Giles Street with eight stab wounds.
During her Supreme Court murder trial in February last year, defence barrister Bernard Collaery argued the young woman, who was a declared lesbian, stabbed Mr Anderson in self-defence after he attacked and raped her near Telopea Park.
Chief Justice Higgins acquitted the young woman, saying she had acted in self defence and the young man would have been charged with sexual assault if he were alive.
The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had appealed the verdict on several grounds, arguing Chief Justice Higgins had failed to properly consider evidence, failed to consider issues of law and did not state the reasoning process that led him to link legal principles to findings of fact.
But the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal yesterday, saying it had no jurisdiction to consider the grounds.
Justices Richard Refshauge and Bruce Lander said, ''This court cannot express an opinion upon any errors of law in a trial where there has been an acquittal because no such power exists.
''That power would only exist if the court had jurisdiction to hear a prosecution appeal from an acquittal in a trial conducted by a judge alone in a criminal proceeding. There is no such jurisdiction in the Australian Capital Territory.''
The two judges said the questions raised in the reference appeal could not be dealt with by the court.
Mr Collaery had also suggested the appeal was an abuse of process that re-victimised the woman but Justices Refshauge and Lander said the ''abuse of process'' claim should not have been made.
Justice Hilary Penfold agreed the appeal should be dismissed.
In a statement, Mr Collaery said the appeal judgement did not represent closure for his client.
He said she intended to apply for an ex-gratia payment from the government for further trauma that she had suffered.