Objective purpose

DPP v Whittle [2023] ACTSC 64

Was the offence of possessing prohibited firearms one that ‘relates to money or other property’ under s 375(1)(b)(i) of the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT)?  The answer was ‘not obvious’.  In selecting the interpretation that best achieved the purpose of the provisions, Mossop J (at [18-19]) emphasised 3 key things.

First, purpose is to be worked out by reference to the terms of the legislation ‘read in their total context’.  Second, this is wholly an objective exercise carried out in accordance with ‘orthodox principles of statutory interpretation’.  Third, it does not involve any subjective analysis of ‘what the legislature did (or more often, did not) think about’10.

This principle is from Episode 96 of interpretation NOW!


10 Singh [2004] HCA 43 (at [19]) quoted.