Greg Connellan is a major contributor to Criminal Law, Investigation and Procedure Victoria (Edited by Dr Ian Freckelton SC). Appointed to the Victorian Magistrates’ Court in September 2007, he practised at the Victorian Bar from 1995 until his appointment. Graduating from Melbourne University in 1980 with degrees in law and commerce, he spent four years farming in western NSW and six years as an outreach worker with Koori and other young people in Melbourne, before commencing legal practice in 1990.
He has also served as vice-president (1998–2002) and president (2003–2004) of the Victorian Council for Civil Liberties, and was a founding board member of the National Children’s and Youth Legal Centre (1993–1999), the Public Interest Law Clearing House (Victoria) (1994–1996), and the Human Rights Law Resource Centre (2006–2007), as well as a committee member of the Criminal Bar Association (2005–2006).
Thanks to such extensive experience, Greg Connellan’s contribution to the Criminal Law, Investigation and Procedure Victoria is spread over many commentary areas:
- Property Offences
- Public Order
- Search and Seizure
- Electronic Surveillance
- Summary Trials
- Summary Offences
- Sex Work
- Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Domestic Animals
- Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Enforcement)
- Gambling Regulation
- Family Violence
- Control of Weapons
Below, we ask Greg Connellan about his time on Criminal Law, Investigation and Procedure Victoria and his perspective on upcoming developments that might affect the service:
How would you describe your years as an author for this service?
Very enjoyable – it has certainly helped me keep up with changes in the law.
What value do you feel the service provides to Victorian practitioners?
It is an enormous resource, particularly for solicitors practising criminal law in rural, regional and the suburbs as it contains a full range of the legislation up dated and useful commentary as well as covering all the important fundamentals.
Has your appointment as a Magistrate affected your approach to writing commentary for the service?
The only significant change has been that I am less inclined to argue that once interpretation of a statute is to be preferred over another. Otherwise I don’t think it has changed my approach, save sometimes I worry I am not as up to date with the commentary as I used to be because of work pressure.
What major changes or trends in the Court’s dealing with matters have you observed during your time as author?
The focus on pre-trial disclosure, negotiation and possible resolution, combined with a more active approach by the court to defining the issues in dispute have been the most significant changes. In the area of sentencing there has been a very significant shift towards the lower court engaging in a solution focused approach to issues in offenders lives with a view to improve the quality of their lives with the important side benefit of reducing recidivism. Both of these significant changes will have strong long-term benefits for the community.
Have any particular areas become more significant during your time working on the service?
I have always enjoyed the areas of identification, search & seizure, electronic surveillance and summary trial procedure more than annotation and commentary on legislation but inevitably the demand for up to date annotation, in a vain attempt to keep apace of Parliamentary activity, takes over.
Are there any upcoming developments that will affect the service?
Certainly, the online world will be a greater focus into the future. Even now Ipads are the in-court tool of choice to prosecution and defence. In some ways these tools create real challenges for services such as this as there is so much legal information available online now. The role of services such as Criminal Law, Investigation and Procedure Victoria is increasingly to provide lawyers with a road map to the issues, legislation and cases rather than to provide the definitive legal gospel.