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These tables are intended to be used as a guide only. Individual cases should be read if they are to be relied upon.


Contempt of Court - (Common Law Offence) 

(age if known)


AG (NSW) v Whiley


(1993) 31 NSWLR 314


2 x Contempt of CourtPG

3y 6m

NPP 18m

 Long history of violence – breached parole and recognisanceInfant son taken into foster care – application by Department of Community Services to have child made permanent ward of state – during hearing before magistrate threatened to shoot foster parents and take child – intentional attempt to influence outcome of court proceedings by influencing Director General of department of Community Services -  magistrate – serious threat in view of long history of violence – threats repeated outside court

Registrar NSWSC v Glasby

[1999] NSWSC 846

Adams J


MT 2y

AT 4y

(cumulative to existing murder sentence)


Female – refused to answer questions at murder trial for husband – deliberate attempt to frustrate course of justice – personally involved in murder herself – under domination of husband

Some prospect of rehabilitation – sad background – mother to young child – suicide attempts

Prothonotary v Wilson


[1999] NSWSC 1114

Wood CJ at CL


[2000] NSWCA 23

2 x ContemptVGFT 2y


FT 3m 20d

No priors

Threw two plastic bags full of paint at judge after delivering judgment against offender - premeditated offence

No contrition or remorse - dentist – genuine belief in injustices of legal system – served time in Vietnam resulting in poor health – heart condition – devoted family man with dependent children – obsessive compulsive personality disorder – faces substantial financial hardship

Justice Ireland v Russell


[2001] NSWSC 468

Ireland AJ

ContemptPG5y GBB Breached bond

Female - car belonging to offender and partner used in murder – made statement to police identifying one of four occupants of car – initially refused to give evidence – agreed to give evidence via video link but no genuine attempt to be truthful – abusive and aggressive manner towards Crown

7m pregnant at time of trial – poor health – oldest of three children has cerebral palsy – father of children in gaol – contrition – fear for safety of children – 6 days custody

Principal Reg NSWSC v Jando


(2001) 125 A Crim R 473


Studdert J




6 x Contempt 12m PD Record

Refused to answer Crown Prosecutor at robbery trial for co-offender – breach of undertaking to given evidence – feared co-offender and consequences in prison – received 6m discount from prison sentence for undertaking to given evidence

Low intelligence – some evidence of rehabilitation

Re Ezold

[2002] NSWSC 574

Barr J


FT 6m

(partially concurrent with existing sentence for murder)

 Minor apart from related murderRefusal to give evidence at murder trial of co-accused – convicted and sentenced for murder at separate trial – understood consequences of refusal – no serious consequences of refusal – refusal based on fear of retribution – never gave undertaking to give evidence

Principal Reg NSWSC v Drollet


[2002] NSWSC 490

Newman AJ




4 x ContemptPG

FT 15m

(cumulative to existing sentence for robbery offences)

 Poor criminal record

Refused to answer questions at trial – threw container of water at judge –breached undertaking to give evidence in armed robbery trial – given credit for undertaking in sentence

Serious drug problem

NSW Crime Commission v Field


[2003] NSWSC 5

Bell J


[2008] NSWSC 103

Adams J


[2009] NSWCA 144


FT 12m

(partially concurrent to existing sentence for drug offences – effectively increased NPP by 6m)


FT 4y 6m

(partially concurrent with existing sentences – effectively increased NPP by 2y)


Refused order to be examined by registrar under Criminal Assets Recovery Act – refused to answer questions in view of pending criminal trial – received legal advice

Serious health problems

After initial sentencing was ordered to appear for examination – continued to refuse to be examined and committed to imprisonment until further orders of court by Hulme J

Subsequently appeared before Adams J for finalisation of sentence




[2005] NSWSC 61 Dunford J

ContemptPG250h CSO Bad record

Outburst against juror after announcement of murder conviction against brother – addressed female juror by name – intent to intimidate – significant effect on juror

Evidence of recent rehabilitation

Principal Reg NSWSC v Assi

[2005] NSWSC 183

Brownie AJ

8 x Contempt 


NPP 3m

(cumulative to existing sentenced for fraud offences)


Held himself out as a solicitor over two years knowing prohibited from doing so by Supreme Court – sentenced for related fraud offences – defrauded four people

Gambling addiction

Took into account sentence for related offences

Prothonotary NSWSC v McCaffrey

[2005] NSWSC 1237

Latham J

29 x Contempt 


NPP 6m



Appeared in court as barrister without current practicing certificate – combination of depression and financial difficulties – 14 months – deliberate conduct

Contrition and remorse – good character



[2005] NSWSC 1329

Studdert J


FT 12m

(cumulative to existing sentence for manslaughter)


Convicted of manslaughter at trial with co-offenders – co-offenders successfully appealed against murder conviction and sent for retrial – refused to give evidence and became verbally abusive – feared for safety in prison and safety of family

Prospects of rehabilitation – difficult childhood

Comm Police Integrity Commission v Walker

[2006] NSWSC 964

McDougall J



(referred for assessment for home detention)

 No significant record

Refused to answer questions truthfully at Police Integrity Commission – subsequently answered questions

Suffering depression – otherwise of good character – former police officer



(2006) 166 A Crim R 132


Johnson J

ContemptPGFT 15m Larceny, GIC, traffic offences, mal woundingVictim of shooting refused to take oath or affirmation when called by Crown at trial of shooter for attempted murder and murder – serious offence with substantial consequences – context of ongoing and violent feud between families – evidence suggests motivated by fear

Principal Registrar of Supreme Court of NSW v Thanh Vu Tran

(2006) 166 A Crim R 393


Buddin J

ContemptPGFT 4m  

Refusal to answer questions at own trial - withdrew confession to murder and stood trial, claiming confession under duress – in giving evidence about duress, refused to answer questions in cross-examination - acquitted of principal charges but pleaded guilty to contempt – refusal based on fear of retribution.

On remand for other offences.

Trad v Pickles Auction Ltd; in the Matter of Carl Trad

[2006] NSWSC 1177

Hamilton J




21 days Older offencesRefused to answer questions during civil proceedings in relation to ownership of a car – seriousness of offence applies equally to civil matters – feared for safety to himself and family

Prothonotary of Supreme Court of NSW v Katelaris


[2008] NSWSC 389

Hoeben J


[2008] NSWSC 702

Hoeben J

2 x ContemptVG12m suspended sentence Contempt, drug cultivation

After conviction of drug cultivation offence, made insulting remarks in presence of jurors – further insulting remarks made to media outside court - not high level of seriousness - statement to TV journalists more serious matter – not planned or organised – absence of remorse.

Medical practitioner until removed from Register in 2005 for prescribing and using drugs – stable family background.

El Jamal


[2009] NSWSC 686

Hulme J

ContemptVG9m – suspended Assault and resist arrest

Brother on trial for murder – threatened witness during break in evidence in corridor outside courtroom – no significant premeditation – no threat to kill – no evidence threat influenced giving of evidence

Fact that offender not following in footsteps of brothers as professional criminal a significant mitigating factor

Prothonotary of Supreme Court of NSW v Rakete

(2010) 202 A Crim R 117


Harrison J

ContemptVGGBB 9m Nil

Filmed witness giving evidence with digital camera during high-profile court case - had no idea of consequences - just wanted to view some court cases.

Custodial sentence not warranted.

[Review of sentence principles].

R v Abdallah: In the matter of John Leger

[2014] NSWSC 320

Campbell J




FT 6m Appalling driving and traffic record

Refused to answer questions in murder trial of Abdallah - Abdallah shot associate of contemnor in street – shot at fleeing contemnor - acquitted of attempted murder of L contemnor – declined to give account to police or give evidence at committal or trial

Suffering PTSD from shooting – protective custody

R v Abdallah: In the matter of Matthew Lewis


[2014] NSWSC 319

Campbell J




FT 3m  

Refusal to answer questions in murder trial of Abdallah - Abdallah shot associate of contemnor in street – contemnor fled and did not witness second shooting at second person – declined to give account to police or give evidence at committal or trial

Suffering anxiety after shooting

In the matter of Steven Smith


[2015] NSWSC 1141

Wilson J

2 x Contempt




(Partially concurrent with existing sentence)


When called to give evidence against co-offender in murder sentence refused to take oath and became verbally and physically aggressive – threatened court officer – very serious examples – refused to purge contempt after legal advice

Aboriginal with difficult background – given no warning he would be called to give evidence – related to co-offender – concerned would be labelled an informer in gaol – serving lengthy sentence for murder

In the Matter of Barnes


[2016] NSWSC 133

Hall J


1y 10m

NPP 12m

 Relatively minorRefused to take oath or affirmation in preparation for giving evidence at murder trial – some evidence he was motivated by fear of reprisals

Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of NSW v Fajloun

[2016] NSWSC 927

Rothman J

5 x contempt



4y GBB Significant record

During trial for serious assault charges offender became frustrated and angry – on several occasions over multiple days wilfully insulted judge by swearing – spat at judge – threw paper cup – spontaneous offences – serious contempt

Apology given to court – already serving sentence for original trial offences

Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of New South Wales v Mallegowda

[2016] NSWSC 1087

Adams J





NPP 6m



During defamation proceedings made threatening phone calls to two witnesses – impulsive acts

Suffering mental illness which affected culpability and time in prison – good character

Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of New South Wales v Ceren

[2016] NSWSC 1187

Harrison J

ContemptPG12m GBB Related offences of conspiracy to cause GBH and procure commission of serious indict offence

Female – refused to give evidence against co-offender – loss of significant evidence to crown – became fearful of way persons assisting authorities treated in gaol – feared for safety of family

Released to parole – 19y when involved in substantive offence – difficult background – remorse – did not originally gain from promise to give evidence

Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of New South Wales v Jarvie


[2017] NSWSC 786

Fagan J





(immediate release)

 Old criminal record – not fraud related

Altered signed and sealed orders of the Supreme Court – property dispute after separation - altered orders regarding sale of house to suggest money to be paid to offender not estranged de facto wife – involved $231,000 – alteration easily uncovered and would never have succeeded

Inordinate and unacceptable delay in pursuing charge

Back injury making custodial conditions difficult – genuine remorse

Doe v Dowling

[2017] NSWSC 1037

Harrison J

ContemptVGFT 4m Contempt ion similar circumstancesPublished article online with names of plaintiffs – failed to comply with take down order and published further articles on facebook, online and twitter account – intentional, wilful and deliberate action – views himself as journalist and proponent of free speech – seeks financial donations through website – need for deterrence and denunciation

Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of NSW v A

[2017] NSWSC 495

Bellew J




12m suspended sentence Nil significant

Pleaded guilty to offence of recklessly firing at dwelling place and agreed to give evidence against co-offender – when called to trial of co-offender failed to appear then refused to give evidence – evidence vital to Crown case - original conviction quashed on appeal and pleaded guilty to being accessory after the fact – subsequently gave evidence against co-offender who pleaded guilty – significant objective gravity – feared for personal safety

Remorse – good prospects of rehabilitation

The Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of NSW v AS

[2018] NSWSC 664

Latham J




FT 9m nil prior to drug offences

Sentenced for involvement in serious drug offences and given 5% discount for future assistance – refused to give evidence at trial of co-accused citing fear for family – sustained and emphatic refusal to answer questions

Referred to principles set out in Wood v Staunton (1996) 86 A Crim R 183

Prothonotary of the Supreme Court of NSW v Dowling


[2018] NSWSC 1301

Wilson J

3 x ContemptVG






 contempt offencesDisrupted proceedings before a Registrar by loudly and aggressively making insulting and baseless allegations to officer presiding – published material in deliberate contravention of court orders – serious and deliberate breaches

Last updated: 15.11.2017 

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