Masciantonio Case Note and Critique Essay

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Case Note & CritiqueMasciantonio v The Queen (1995) 183 CLR 58
Case Note
Appellant: Mr. Giovanni MasciantonioRespondent: The Queen
Court & Year: High Court of Australia 1994 - 1995
Relevant Facts: Appeal from the Supreme Court of Victoria.
19 June 1991 Giovanni Masciantonio had a heated altercation with his son-in-law Maurizio Femia.
Altercation resulted in Mr. Femia’s life.
Fatal wound being a severed aorta (known as wound 5).
Giovanni Masciantonio was convicted of murder in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
O’Bryan J trial judge.
The defence argued provocation.
An appeal was put before the Court of Criminal Appeal Victoria.
Reason for the appeal was that the judge had failed to mention provocation to the jury
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Brennan, Deane, Dawson and Gaudron JJ concluded that the appeal should be allowed and a retrial ordered.
Issues: Whether an ordinary person could have regained the self-control in the time between the first and second stage events?
Why did the trial judge not direct the jury to the option of provocation as a defence from the jury’s consideration during the second stage of the event?
Was there a miscarriage of justice?
Decision: Appeal Allowed
Retrial Ordered.
Ratio: The trial judge inadvertently or not, effectively withdrew from the jury’s consideration the issue of provocation at the second stage of events and since the appellant’s loss of self-control may have continued to that stage, there cannot be said to be no miscarriage of justice.
Obiter: That a reasonable jury could conclude the appellant was acting under provocation. Upon the evidence it was open to a jury, properly directed as to the law, to reach that conclusion.
Majority Judgments Brennan J
Deane J
Dawson J
Gaudron J
Minority Judgments McHugh J
The case of Masciantonio v The Queen (1995) 183 CLR 58 (‘Masciantonio’) is a High Court of Australia decision from 1995 that deals with jury direction and provocation and whether the original trial judge caused a miscarriage of justice when he ‘inadvertently or not, effectively withdrew from the jury’s consideration the issue of provocation’ or whether ‘provocation ought not to have been left to the jury at all.’
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