R v Peter John Parkes [2010] ACTSC 44 (21 May 2010)

CRIMINAL LAW – trial by judge alone – offence of trafficking in a controlled drug other than cannabis, namely heroin – whether accused sold heroin or gave it as a gift – sale not proved beyond reasonable doubt – accused found not guilty.

EVIDENCE – prior inconsistent statements – assessment of explanation for making prior inconsistent statement – consideration of what use can be made of prior inconsistent statement – operation of credibility rule and hearsay rule – prior inconsistent statement admitted to prove the truth of the facts asserted in the statement.

CRIMINAL LAW – circumstantial case – judge asked to draw particular inferences from evidence – whether evidence supports those inferences – requirement that no inference should be drawn from direct evidence unless it is the only rational inference available.

CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution request that if verdict of acquittal to be entered, the Court should instead direct the accused to be indicted on a charge of possession of heroin – operation of s 296 Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) – s 296 not applicable where accused to be acquitted – possession charge no longer indictable.

Evidence Act 1995 (Cth), ss 38, 59, 60, 101A(b), 102, 103, 192