Openings

The authorities require that the Crown’s opening is to “outline the facts which the Crown proposes to establish in evidence”... Defence openings, whilst permitted, are limited to “matters disclosed in the prosecutor's opening address, including those that are in dispute and those that are not in dispute, and the matters to be raised by the accused person.”

The Criminal Procedure Act 1986 permits both the Crown and the Defence to deliver an opening at the commencement of a trial.

The authorities require that the Crown’s opening is to “outline the facts which the Crown proposes to establish in evidence” (Robinson v R [2006] NSWCCA 192). The Crown is also permitted, however, to articulate how it is that the Crown case might “fit together” and assist the jury in coming to grips with the evidence that will follow (R v Xie (No. 14) [2014] NSWSC 1979).

Defence openings, whilst permitted, are limited to those matters set out in s159 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986, namely “matters disclosed in the prosecutor's opening address, including those that are in dispute and those that are not in dispute, and the matters to be raised by the accused person.”

It is important that the Crown, absent consent from the accused person, not be permitted to depart materially from the opening (Robinson v R [2006] NSWCCA 192) in the presentation of the case or in the arguments put to the jury.


Tangye

R v Tangye (1997) 92 A Crim R 545

“The obligation of the Crown prosecutor in opening the Crown case is not merely to outline the facts which the Crown proposes to establish in evidence. It is also to indicate, in conceptual terms, the nature of the Crown case. This is to assist both the trial judge and counsel for the accused, more so than the jury. It is essential that any doubt about the nature of the Crown case, conceptually, be removed at that early stage.”