Areas of Practice

Criminal Law
Administrative Law
Civil & Human Rights/Discriminations
Inquests/Commissions of Inquiry/Statutory Tribunals

Contact Details

‘8 Petrie Terrace’
#2 Jacksons Building, 8 Petrie Terrace, Brisbane Q 4000, Australia

P: +(617) 3369 7900
M: 0419 641 360
F: +(617) 3369 7098

Professional History

Peter Callaghan was admitted as a Barrister in 1986.

He worked as a Crown Prosecutor for the Commonwealth, ACT and Queensland DPPs until 1995, and has been in practice at the Bar since then.  He was appointed Senior Counsel (Silk) in 2004.

Service to the Queensland Bar Association has included membership of the Bar Council, the Editorial Committee of the Bar News, the Criminal Law Committee, and as one of the Association’s Ethics Counsellors. He has been a frequent contributor to the Bar’s CPD program, and in 2013 was part of the BAQ delegation that provided training to lawyers in Papua New Guinea.

In 2011 he was appointed as Counsel assisting Holmes JA in her conduct of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.

Between 2008 and 2011 he was a member of the Board of Legal Aid Queensland. He is a past President of the Queensland Branch of the International Commission of Jurists and of the Law and Justice Institute (Qld) Inc.

Notable cases in which he has appeared include:

Criminal Law

Case Citation Issues Involved

Tardrew v DPP

1988 FCA 156


Donnelly v Rose

[1993] QCA 223
[1995] 1 QDR 148

Possession of minute amounts of a dangerous drug

R v Ozdemir

[1993] QCA 463

Principles applicable to sentencing for perjury

R v Wishart and Jenkins

[1993] QCA 563

Principles applicable to time spent in custody prior to sentence

R v Noble and Verheyden

[1994] QCA 283
(1996) 1 QdR 329
73 A CrimR 379

Whether injury should be taken into account as a mitigating factor when sentencing

R v Shaw

[1995] QCA 045
[1996] 1 QdR 641
(1995) 78 A CrimR 150

Considers concept of ‘consent’; ’flight’ as evidence indicative of a guilty conscience

R v Walbank

[1995] QCA 149
(1995) 79 A CrimR 180

Judge’s obligation to rule on admissibility of involuntary confession

R v Griffith

[1995] QCA 159
(1995) 79 A CrimR 125

Admissibility of opinion evidence as to identification

R v L ex parte Attorney General

[1995] QCA 444
(1996) 2 QdR 63

Whether delay is a mitigating factor in sentencing

R v Ivan Milat

[1996] NSW SC 382

Statistical validity of DNA databases

R v S

[1998] QCA 303
(2000) 1 QdR 546

Evidence of ‘coaching’ a complainant

R v Lowrie and Ross

[1999] QCA 305
(2000) 2 QdR 529

Correct application of ss7(1)(b) and 7(1)(c) of the Criminal Code

R v Abbott

[1999] QCA 425

Cumulative sentences/totality principle

R v Mackenzie

[2000] QCA 324
(2002) 1 QdR 410

Sentencing for manslaughter against background of domestic violence

R v Gilles

[2000] QCA 503
(2002) 1 QdR 404

Sentencing for total criminality/difficulty in ascertaining range

R v Edwards, Heferen and Georgiou

[2000] QCA 508
(2002) 1 QdR 203

Irregularities with a jury

R v B ex parte Attorney General

[2001] QCA 059

Adequacy of particulars

R v Fahey & Others

[2001] QCA 082

Power to amend indictment after verdict

R v Charles

[2001] QCA 320
(2001) 123 A CrimR 253

Whether direction given on s23(1A) of the Code without reference to s23(1)(b) is misleading

R v Butler

[2001] QCA 385

DNA evidence

R v York

[2001] QCA 408

Exercise of discretion under s15 of the Evidence Act 1977

R v S

[2001] QCA 501
(2001) 125 A CrimR 526

Severance in case of multiple complainants, conduct of Crown Prosecutor, ‘expert’ evidence about behaviour of victims

R v Fairfax

[2002] QCA 228

Per Jerrard JA, on the role of a Court of Appeal

R v Smillie

[2002] QCA 341

Inconsistent verdicts

Henry v DPP

[2003] QCA 2

Relevance of cash deposits on bail applications

Maroney v R

[2003] HCA 63
216 CLR 31

Concept of ‘supplying’ a drug to self

R v B

[2003] QCA 68

Orders under s19 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act

R v Betts

[2003] QCA 159

Sentencing for wilful damage to property

R v Wiggins

[2003] QCA 367

Relevance of offer to plead guilty to only offence of which convicted

R v Middleton  

[2003] QCA 431

Correct form of direction to a jury when intoxication is an issue

R v Sambo

[2003] QCA 443

Applicability of s8 of the Code; admissibility of hearsay statements claiming responsibility for a killing

R v Ettridge

[2003] QCA 488

Objective contract theory

R v ND

[2003] QCA 505
(2004) 2QdR 307

Inadequacy of legal representation as a ground of appeal

R v Reid

[2004] QCA 9

Relevance to penalty of fact that accused was a police officer

R v Young

[2004] QCA 84

Proper form of direction when self defence is an issue

R v Huebner

[2004] QCA 98

Need for warning as to the limited use which can be made of similar fact evidence

R v Corry

[2005] QCA 087

Where need for a direction about self-defence against a provoked assault

R v Daley

[2005] QCA 162

Petition for a pardon pursuant to s672A of the Criminal Code

R v Sheppard  

[2005] QCA 235

Conduct of legal practitioners

Uittenbosch v Department of Corrective Services

[2005] QCA 300

Principles applicable to sentence of a juvenile

Darkan v R

[2006] HCA 34
(2006) 228 ALR 334
(2006) ALJR 1250

Meaning of “probable” in s8 of the Criminal Code

R v Butler [2006] QCA 51 Evidence that might prove intent; directions about “similar facts”

R v HAB          

[2006] QCA 80

Need for a trial judge to direct juries about s21AW(2) of the Evidence Act

R v QD

[2006] QCA 132

Competence of legal representation

R v Ford ex Parte Attorney General (Qld)

[2006] QCA 440

Requirement to present indictment within six months

R v Bivolaru                                        

[2006] QCA 527

Directions needed when
Prosecution relies on evidence of voice identification

R v LT 

[2006] QCA 534

Procedural irregularities with indictments

Reid v The Queen

[2006] HCA Trans 666

Meaning of word ‘intent’ in s317(b) of the Criminal Code

Powell v Jimmy’s On The Mall

[2006] QCA 140

Question of “knowledge” for purposes of Liquor Act

Parsons v Raby

[2007] QCA 098

Nature of appeal from decision of a magistrate

R v Pretorious

[2007] QCA 432

Directions required when identification as issue

Witheyman v Van Riet and Ors     

[2008] QCA 168
[2008] 2 QdR 587
[2008] 185 A CrimR 492

Prosecution under the Integrated Planning Act

R v Ferguson ex Parte AG

[2008] QCA 227
[2008]186 A crimR 483

Prejudicial publicity before a trial

R v Hooper ex Parte Commonwealth DPP

[2008] QCA 308

Principles applicable to a “no conviction” bond under Commonwealth legislation

Jones v The Queen

[2009] HCA 17
(2009) 254 ALR 626
(2009) 83 ALJR 671

Admissibility of evidence about the propensity of a co-accused

R v Farrell  

[2009] QCA 99

Sentencing for receiving

R v Robinson

[2009] QCA 250
[2009] 233 FLR 443        

Prosecution under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act

R v Cuskelly    

[2009] QCA 375

The different form of self-defence involved in defending a dwelling house

RA v The Queen

[2009] QDC 432

Whether s229B of the Criminal Code (Qld) is constitutionally valid

R v Melling

[2010] QCA 307

Need for Direction as to accessorial liability

Whitelaw v O’Sullivan

[2010] QCA 366

Interpretation of Police Powers and Responsibilities Act

R v McMillan

[2010] QSC 309

Admissibility of evidence obtained in breach of the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act

Cox v the State of Western Australia

[2011] WASCA 30

Application of the West Australian Criminal Investigation Act


[2011] QCA 62

Extension of time within which to appeal after three-year delay


[2012] QCA 270

Directed acquittal following conviction for rape – Jury’s verdict unreasonable

R v Jo

[2012] QCA 356

Prosecution for tax avoidance, requiring interpretation of ss6(1) and 44 Income Tax Assessment Act 1936

Williams v The Queen

[2013] NTCCA 12

Sentencing for manslaughter in the Northern Territory

R v Dunrobin [2013] QCA 175 Need for specific directions on section 24 of the Criminal Code

R v Brown

[2013] QSC 299

Stay of proceedings because of statement by Premier – see now [2013] QCA 337


[2013] QCA 045

Jury’s conviction in absence of any evidence to support charge

R v Rogers

[2013] QCA 192

No conviction recorded in case of “sexting”

Munda v The State of W.A.

[2013] HCA trans 136

Principles affecting disposition of appeals – see now Munda v W.A [2013] HCA 38

Da Silva v DPP

[2013] QSC 316

Relevance of “criminal organisation” to bail application – (see amended legislation)


[2014] QCA 69

Need for directions when evidence replayed to a jury


[2014] QCA 118

Application of principle developed in R v FAE

R v Beetham

[2014] QCA 131

The other side of the proposition that "one punch can kill"

R v Rix

[2014] QCA 278

Relevance, to sentence, of PTSD suffered as a result of military service

Peterson v Ipswich City Council

[2016] QDC 007

Prosecution for Electoral Offences

R v Crouch; R v Carlisle

[2016] QCA 081

Sentencing for major fraud

Administrative Law        

Case Citation Issues Involved

Payne v Deer

[1999] QSC 124
(2000) 1QdR 535

Manifestly unreasonable decisions/improper exercise of power

Cornack v Fingleton

[2002] QSC 391
(2003) 1QdR 667

Judicial independence/improper exercise of power

Commissioner of Police v Clements and Ors

[2005] QSC 203
(2006) 1 QdR 210

Access to information/death in custody

Doomadgee and Anor v Clements and Ors

[2005] QSC 357
(2006) 2QdR 352

Access to information/death in custody

Chapman v Richards and Anor

[2008] QSC 164

Costs orders under Judicial Review Act

CMC v Swindells and Ors

[2009] QSC 409

Manifest unreasonableness/improper exercise of power

Hannigan v Ragh and Anor

[2010] QSC 242

Ambit of appeal against severity of sanction

Townsville Housing Resources Unit v Flegg

[2013] QSC 096

Review of decision to abolish program assisting tenants

Attorney-General for the State of Queensland v Barnes and another

[2014] QCA 152

Setting aside the decision of a coroner


Case Citation Issues Involved

Commissioner of Police v Clements and Ors

[2005] QSC 203
[2006] 1 QdR 210

Death in custody

Doomadgee and Anor v Clements and Ors

[2005] QSC 357
(2006) 2QdR352

Death in custody

Death in Custody

12 February 2007
COR 496/04 (9)

Restraint asphyxia; amphetamine toxicity; use of force training; extraneous information in autopsy reports


Enquiry Pursuant to s429 Mental Health ACT

Case Citation Issues Involved

Schirmer v Queensland Health

[2005] QSC 353

Lawfulness of detention pursuant to s429 of the Mental Health Act


Case Citation Issues Involved

Gympie Turf Club Inc v Queensland Thoroughbred Racing Board

[2002] QRAA 26

Breach of natural justice by racing authority

Commissioner for Children and Young People v Maher

[2004] QCA 492

Question of “exceptional case” in application for “blue card”

Queensland Racing v Abbott

[2005] QDC 126

Nature of appeal to District Court, question of costs where appeal is brought to establish principle

Maund v Queensland Racing

[2005] QRAT 2

Disqualification for prohibited substance

Wurzbacher v QHRB

[2005] QRAT 15

Failure to drive horse on merits

Edmunds MA

[2005] QRAT 34

Disqualification for prohibited substance.

Petroff v HRQ

[2008] QRAT 18

Failure to drive horse on merits

MHRC Rocklea v HRQ

[2009] QRAT 12

Licensing of harness racing club

Queensland Racing v McMahon

[2010] QCAT 86

Nature of review, by QCAT, of “First Level Appeals” Committee – see now [2010] QCATA 73

Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation