Closings

These include that Crown closings should not express, or suggest that they express, the Crown’s personal views about the matter, speculate about matters not admissible or otherwise not in evidence, or disparage the defendant.

Coming at the end of a trial, and directly before the summing up, closings of self-evidently an important part of the advocacy process.

Many of the same principles that apply to Crown cross examinations apply to Crown closings. These include that Crown closings should not express, or suggest that they express, the Crown’s personal views about the matter, speculate about matters not admissible or otherwise not in evidence, or disparage the defendant.

Naturally, and as was set out in some detail in McCullough v R [1982] Tas R 43; (1982) 6 A Crim R 274, the crucial restraint that applies only to the Crown is that a Crown closing must be conducted “temperately and with restraint, bearing constantly in mind that his primary function is to aid in the attainment of justice, not the securing of convictions.”

There was also once a tradition of sorts that, where the Defendant was unrepresented, the Crown would not close its case. This has fallen somewhat out of favour of recent times, no doubt (at least in part) due to the increasing complexity of trials (not to mention the increasing number of persons no longer entitled to legal aid.

 

McCullough

McCullough v R [1982] Tas R 43; (1982) 6 A Crim R 274

“Counsel for the Crown is obliged to put the Crown case to the jury and, when appropriate, he is entitled to firmly and vigorously urge the Crown view about a particular issue and to test and, if necessary, to attack that advanced on behalf of the accused. But he must always do so temperately and with restraint, bearing constantly in mind that his primary function is to aid in the attainment of justice, not the securing of convictions.”