Legislative intervention

Ghamrawi v R [2017] NSWCCA 195

Constructional choice is one thing, but statutory words, even when read in their widest context, only stretch so far.  Ghamrawi was convicted of ‘break and enter’ to commit assault12.  He had permission to enter, however, and used no trick or threat. 

Law reform elsewhere had extended the meaning of ‘break’, but the position in NSW was governed by general law principles.  The court allowed the appeal and ordered a retrial.  Extending the meaning of ‘break’, it said (at [64]), ‘should await legislative intervention’.  Change to stable law like this is ‘best resolved by legislative processes rather than by any extreme exercise in statutory interpretation’13.                   

This case is from Episode 29 of interpretationNOW!


12  s 112(1) of the Crimes Act 1900.

13  Roadshow Films [2012] HCA 16 (at [120]), quoted.