High Court of Australia

Monis v The Queen [2013] HCA 4

Droudis v The Queen

249 CLR 92; 87 ALJR 340; 295 ALR 259

27 Feb 2013

Case Number: S172/2012 S179/2012

Before

French CJ, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel, Bell JJ

Catchwords

Constitutional law – Implied freedom of communication on government and political matters – Criminal offence under s 471. 12 of Criminal Code (Cth) for person to use postal or similar service in way that "reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, menacing, harassing or offensive" – Appellants allegedly sent communications to relatives of Australian soldiers and officials killed in Afghanistan and Indonesia – Communications criticised deployment of Australian troops in Afghanistan in terms critical of deceased – Appellants charged with using and aiding and abetting use of postal service in way that reasonable persons would regard as offensive – Whether s 471. 12 in its application to "offensive" uses of postal service effectively burdens implied freedom of political communication – Whether s 471. 12 in its application to "offensive" uses of postal service is reasonably appropriate and adapted to legitimate end in manner compatible with system of representative and responsible government.

Statutes – Interpretation – Whether purpose of s 471. 12 of Criminal Code (Cth) in its application to "offensive" uses of postal service is only to prohibit those offensive uses – Whether purpose of s 471. 12 in its application to "offensive" uses of postal service is to prohibit misuse of service for intrusion of seriously offensive material into home or workplace – Whether s 471. 12 in its application to "offensive" uses of postal service is limited to seriously offensive uses.

Words and phrases – "effectively burden", "legitimate end", "offensive", "proportionality", "reasonable person", "reasonably appropriate and adapted".

Constitution – ss 7, 24, 128.

Criminal Code (Cth) – Div 471, s 471. 12.
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