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R v ‘Mercury’

Published date: Friday, 17 May 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

On 15 February this year, in R v Mercury, the Supreme Court ruled inadmissible the record of an interview between police and the individual known as ‘Mercury’ in which he made admissions relating to the murder on 12 January 1970 of Cheryl Grimmer.

It was common ground between the Crown and the accused that without the evidence of the interview and admissions, the case against Mercury could not succeed.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) declined to appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal from the Supreme Court decision.

In NSW there is a separation of powers and functions whereby prosecution decisions are made by the independent DPP and not by a political Attorney General. I have no power to direct the DPP or intervene in his decisions.

I do have my own right of appeal in such cases, however, this is rarely exercised by Attorneys General, in recognition of the separation of prosecution and political functions.

However, given the gravity of the crime involved and of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s and DPP’s decisions, I asked the Crown Advocate Dr David Kell SC to provide me with my own independent legal advice.

I have carefully considered that advice. I have also discussed the matter with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Today, I have told members of Cheryl’s family that I have concluded that any appeal against the Supreme Court’s decision will fail and that I will not be bringing any appeal.

I am sorry for the further distress this will bring to Cheryl’s family, who seek justice for her. I am sorry that today I am unable to help end that search.