High Court: Reeves v The Queen

Reported on the Law Geek Down Under site:

On Tuesday, 29 October 2013 the Court will hear argument in Reeves v The Queen, an application for special leave to appeal referred to the full court for argument as if on appeal. The applicant was infamously dubbed “The Butcher of Bega” by the press. The main issue on appeal arises out of his conviction for the offence of maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, contrary to section 33 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This charge arose out of the performance of a vulvectomy. The applicant had been prosecuted for the offence of female genital mutilation (section 45) but the jury had been unable to reach a verdict. The alternative charge gave rise to the issue of whether or not the patient had consented to the operation (or more accurately, whether the applicant did not have an honest belief that the patient had so consented). One question on the appeal is what is the correct test for consent in a criminal medical assault case, and in particular does it involve any of the ingredients of “informed consent” as applied in civil cases. There is also a question of whether the CCA erred in applying the proviso, as well as a challenge to the sentence imposed by the CCA.