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Judge's pen loses ink during bondage trial

Judge's pen loses ink during bondage trial

Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, the former DPP of NSW, last night asked a court in session if he could borrow a pen."Mine's run out....these things are important," he told a courtroom gathered for a…

Nicholas Cowdery AM QC, the former DPP of NSW, last night asked a court in session if he could borrow a pen.

"Mine's run out....these things are important," he told a courtroom gathered for a criminal law moot named after the man himself and featuring contentious criminal law matters based on the "substantial impairment of the mind".

Audience members of the inaugural Nicholas Cowdery Criminal Law moot dared to laugh as the judge received a working pen and scrawled down his next incisive challenge to the sweating student mooters.

Students from the University of Sydney (USYD) and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) faced off in USYD's Landerer Court last night (15 September) before an esteemed bench that included Cowdery, Justice Bell of the High Court and Justice Fullerton of the NSW Supreme Court.

Despite the high-powered bench, the lights went out before the second speaker had time to give a submission.

"Things look like they work around here, but actually they don't," said the second speaker, 'Mr Ward'.

Just as Folklaw was enjoying the romance of the dark, the lights returned, with Ward back in the groove and arguing that "substantial impairment of the mind" was not sufficiently explained to the jury and thus the appellant- who was convicted of murder for getting too rough in a bondage session - did not receive a fair trial.

Nearly pen-less Nick fired off a challenge; "Are you saying that 'some symptoms' of the disorder indicate the presence of the condition of bipolar disorder?"

Ward put up a strong fight but 'Mr Chin' of UTS convinced the judges with his multifaceted argument that "it was no obligation of the trial judge to leave the option of manslaughter up to the jury."

Justice Fullerton said that the judges had "sorted out their personalities for the night" beforehand, Australian idol style.

"Nick's going to be the grumpy judge," she joked.

But each of the esteemed judges, for all their discerning looks and raised eyebrows, received much praise from both the UTS and USYD teams for "actually turning up".

"We appreciate the time that the judges gave to actually turn up and give us some guidance and experience from the bench which you couldn't get anywhere else," said a beaming Chin.

"We were really nervous but it was good to be put on our feet and challenged being quite young and not quite in the profession yet."

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