LAW161 Hypothetical Assignment 2018
Yasmin and Zane had been in a ‘stormy’ de facto relationship for six years. Both were
addicted to ice.1 Over the years, Zane’s behaviour towards Yasmin had become increasingly
violent. Yasmin had suffered minor injuries at Zane’s hands on countless occasions, and had
also been hospitalised twice with more serious injuries. In the three months prior to
Yasmin’s death, neighbours said that the arguments had become more intense and more
frequent. One neighbour said that on two occasions, she clearly heard Zane shouting that he
was going to kill Yasmin. The last of those occasions was at 11.00 pm on the 10th August
On 11 August 2018, Zane decided that he wanted to go hunting, and he wanted Yasmin to go
with him. He packed ammunition and his trusty .243 bolt action centrefire rifle (for which
Zane duly held the appropriate Category B licence under the Firearms Act 1986 (NSW)). Zane
and Yasmin headed out to an area of remote bushland west of Uralla (NSW).
The bushland in question was designated under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974
(NSW) as a ‘Nature Reserve’. Section 56 of that Act prohibits hunting in designated nature
By 11.00 am, Zane and Yasmin were in the bush. They stopped at a picnic table to have a cup
of tea and take some ice. Then Zane spotted a kangaroo. Zane moved about 20 metres
away, took aim and shot at the kangaroo. Yasmin remained seated at the picnic table, about
120 degrees behind where Zane was standing, and to his right. The shot missed and the
kangaroo took off. Zane spun round to his right, following the trajectory of the kangaroo.
Zane discharged the rifle again. The bullet hit Yasmin squarely in the chest and lodged just
above her heart. Zane left the scene.
Yasmin was found a few minutes later by bushwalkers who heard the shots, and came to
investigate. Yasmin was rushed to Tamworth Hospital. Luckily, the bullet missed Yasmin’s
heart, and there were very good prospects for survival. But during surgery to remove the
bullet, Yasmin suffered a brain haemorrhage which caused permanent and catastrophic loss
of brain function.
When Yasmin came out of surgery, she was placed on life support. One month later,
Yasmin’s parents made the difficult decision to allow doctors to remove life support. Yasmin
was declared dead on 11 September 2018.
The pathologist who performed the autopsy reported that the brain haemorrhage was
caused by a fatal error on the part of the overworked and exhausted surgeon. Yasmin was
under the influence of ice, which meant that she had unusually elevated blood pressure. The
surgeon failed to take that into account and he negligently ordered the wrong dosage of a
drug, which, coupled with the already elevated blood pressure, resulted in a massive brain
Analyse Zane’s liability for unlawful homicide under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)?
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