Centre Fellow - Belinda Baker

Belinda’s interests are in constitutional, administrative and criminal law.

Belinda was appointed a Crown Prosecutor in 2016. She currently specialises in criminal appeals, and frequently appears on behalf of the Crown in the Court of Criminal Appeal and on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions in judicial review applications in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She also appears as junior counsel on behalf of the Crown in High Court appeals.

Belinda has previously worked as a Solicitor Advocate in the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office and as Counsel Assisting the New South Wales Solicitor General and Crown Advocate. She has also practiced as a barrister in private practice.

In 2003, Belinda was awarded the Menzies Scholarship to Harvard University, where she completed her LLM in 2004. At Harvard, Belinda studied constitutional law, federalism, advanced criminal procedure and administrative law.

Examples of recent cases

Hughes v The Queen [2017] HCA 20; 344 ALR 187 – led by L Babb SC and K Shead SC – tendency evidence – significant probative value (conflict between Victorian and NSW decisions)

Aubrey v The Queen [2017] HCA 18; 260 CLR 305 – led L Babb SC and H Baker – meaning of the word “inflict” – whether reckless indifference established by foresight of possibility or probability of harm

McPhillamy v The Queen [2018] HCA 52; 361 ALR 13 – led by L Babb SC and K Shead SC – tendency evidence – significant probative vale

R v Towney [2018] NSWCCA 65 – conviction appeal – correctness of directions re: self defence and onus of proof – application of proviso

R v Wade [2018] NSWCCA 85 – conviction and severity appeal – judge alone trial – adequacy of reasons – whether verdict unreasonable

R v Pullen [2018] NSWCCA 264 – Crown appeal – dangerous driving causing GBH – risk to road workers – amendments to legislation governing ICOs

R v Shaba [2018] NSWSC 811– Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act - statutory interpretation – construction of Firearms Act

R v Alexander [2019] NSWCCA 79 – conviction and severity appeal – Surveillance Devices Act – procedural fairness

R v Banks [2019] NSWSC 363 (opposed by G James QC) – Director’s appeal under the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act - s. 589F of the Criminal Procedure Act – admissibility of DVEC recording – statutory interpretation

Publications

Waller’s Coronial Law and Practice in New South Wales (LexisNexis, 4th ed), with J Abernethy, H Dillon and H Roberts

Dangerous Dicta? The use of decisions of the courts of foreign jurisdictions before Australian appellate courts [2018] (Summer) Bar News 30

Talks and presentations

Statutory construction for criminal lawyers – paper presented to NSWODPP, 30 November 2016

The intersection between criminal law and constitutional law, Panellist (together with President McMurdo, Jeremy Gans, and Jonathon Hyuan) at the Gilbert and Tobin Annual Constitutional Law Conference, 17 February 2017

Contempt for criminal lawyers – paper presented to NSW Crown Prosecutors’ Conference, 18 - 19 April 2017

Proportionality in constitutional law – commentator at UNSW constitutional law roundtable – 7 December 2017

Conceal serious offence, presentation delivered to UNSW Staff, March 2018

Statutory interpretation for criminal lawyers, paper delivered to training for ALS, Legal Aid and DPP trial advocates, June 2018

Panel Women in Public Law (with L Armstrong, Crown Solicitor and K Richardson SC), UNSW students and staff, July 2018

Crown Appeals, Seminar for recently appointed Crown Prosecutors, NSW ODPP, 30 August 2018

The Wire’: The admissibility of intercepted communications under State and federal law, CPD presentation to NSW Bar Association conference, 30 March 2019, with Julia Roy