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‘There are Mistakes, and Then There are Mistakes’: Jurisdictional Error Revisited in Stanley v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW)


Joshua Woodyatt and Imogen McIntyre

The High Court’s recent decision in Stanley v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) [2023] HCA 3 concerned a relatively rare finding of jurisdictional error by the District Court of New South Wales. The Court held 4:3 that the judge sentencing a guilty defendant had, by failing to take community safety into account as the paramount consideration in determining whether or not to grant an Intensive Correction Order (‘ICO’), exceeded her power under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW). This article examines the reasoning of both the majority judgment and the three dissenting justices, locates Stanley among the key authorities in this space—Craig v South Australia and Kirk v Industrial Commission of New South Wales—and considers its consequences for busy trial courts, practitioners, and self-represented defendants alike.

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