Coherence and fairness

Commissioner of Police v TM [2023] NSWCA 75

A minor had child abuse material on 3 devices.  He was convicted for each4 and his name entered on the Child Protection Register5.  He argued that a minor who commits a ‘single offence’ (extended to cover ‘more than one offence of the same kind arising from the same incident’) is exempted from being named6

But, was this subject to the further requirement that offences arising from the ‘same incident’ must be committed ‘within a single period of 24 hours’ and against the ‘same person’?7  Yes, it was held, even if this may ‘produce some incongruous and even unfair results’, it was not incoherent.  ‘It is not the role of the court to arbitrate on the fairness of legislation’8.

This principle is from Episode 97 of interpretation NOW!


4 s 91H of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

5 s 19 of the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW).

6 s 3A(2)(c)(ii) Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW).

7 s 3(3) of the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (NSW).

8 (at [103]), Cooper Brookes (1981) 147 CLR 297 (at 304-305) Gibbs CJ quoted.