Regina v Saraswati: 1989

(Criminal Court of Appeal – New South Wales) The defendant appealed convictions on counts of indecency with a child, the only evidence relied on, in relation to some counts, being evidence of full sexual intercourse. Statutory time limits precluded prosecution for unlawful sexual intercourse and indecent assault. It was held at trial not to be an abuse of process for the prosecution to rely on the evidence of sexual intercourse to establish the charge of indecency
Held: (Majority) The High Court applied a ‘rule that, when a statute specifically deals with a matter and makes it the subject of a condition or limitation, it excludes the right to use a general provision in the same statute to avoid that condition or limitation’. The court did not accept that when Parliament amended the relevant Act to criminalise acts of indecency it intended that general power to be used to circumvent the time limit placed on prosecutions under the specifically applicable sections of the same statute.


Toohey J, McHugh J


(1989) 18 NSWLR 143


Not FollowedRegina v Blight 1903
(New Zealand) The Criminal Code in force at the time, reflecting the English, included an offence of sexual intercourse with a girl under 16, to which a one month time limit applied, and also an offence of indecent assault to which no time limit . .

Cited by:

CitedRegina v J HL 14-Oct-2004
The defendant was to have been accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under 16. Proceedings could not be brought, because the allegation was more than a year old, and he was instead accused of indecent assault, but on the same . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Crime

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.216525