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Court of Appeal Endorses Criminal Charge Book
In the decision of R v Said  VSCA 244, the Court of Appeal expressed its appreciation and unequivocal support of the College’s Victorian Criminal Charge Book.
The Court of Appeal expressed the view that the case illustrated just how important a resource the charge book is for trial judges, and how vital it is that the Charge Book be used for its intended purpose, that is, to minimise the risk of appealable error.
Click the blue hyperlink above to access the full text of the decision. For ease of reference, all references to the Criminal Charge Book are highlighted in red.
The Victorian Criminal Charge Book includes model jury directions ('charges'), explanatory commentary ('bench notes'), statutory extracts, lists of authorities and jury checklists. It is used extensively by Victorian judges, and is also available to legal practitioners, the public and the media. Its free availability will assist lawyers to fulfil their responsibilities to the court, and will make criminal law more transparent and accessible for members of the public.
The Charge Book is a work in progress and contains charges in respect of various offences, including rape, indecent assault, incest, various sexual offences against children, the major drug offences, assault and stalking. It also contains directions for use in other areas, including consciousness of guilt, identification evidence, recklessness, self defence, verdict taking and jury perseverance.
Judicial College researchers draft all new material, which is settled by an Editorial Committee, consisting of judges of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Court of Appeal and Trial Division) and the County Court of Victoria.
New charges and their associated documents are added once they are settled by the Committee. Materials are updated to reflect changes to the law, and the update status of all content is shown by the "last updated" feature at the foot of each page.
It is solely available as an on-line document. The College does not prepare or provide print or CD-ROM versions, and it cannot be saved to a user's computer.
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The Judicial Officers Information Network (JOIN) is an online resource for judicial officers and their support staff. JOIN ensures judicial officers have access to legislation, judgments, publications including benchbooks and manuals, sentencing statistics and legal reference material.
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