Legal Context

In the case of Duong Hai Nguyen v R, ATCN v R, Khanh Hoang Nguyen v R, Minh Thy Huynh v R [2007] NSWCCA 363, the court examined serious charges, including murder charges, and the malicious infliction of grievous bodily harm with intent. The incident, which took place at Billiards 2000 in Cabramatta, saw Linda Huynh fatally shot and Hien Duc Phan injured. Duong Hai Nguyen was identified as the shooter and principal offender, leading the group that included ATCN, Minh Thy Huynh, and Khanh Hoang Nguyen.

The prosecution argued that these men were engaged in a joint criminal enterprise with Duong, and thus, they were also responsible for the resulting murder charges and other crimes. The case brought to light complex legal issues regarding joint enterprise, the admission of identification evidence, and the proper directions that need to be given to a jury in such cases.

Suspension and Appeal for Stay

Each appellant sought to appeal against their convictions on several grounds, primarily arguing errors in the admission of identification evidence and deficiencies in the jury directions provided by the trial judge. They contended that these errors impacted the fairness of their murder trial.

Furthermore, they argued that the judge failed to address a critical jury note that requested clarification on the definition of joint criminal enterprise in the context of murder charges and manslaughter. This oversight, they claimed, led to a misinterpretation of the law by the jury, ultimately resulting in their convictions. The appellants sought to have their convictions overturned and new trials ordered, where these legal errors could be corrected.

Assessment of Crime

The crime in question occurred on the night of 6 January 2004, during a birthday celebration at Billiards 2000. Four men, including Duong, ATCN, Minh, and Khanh, entered the premises, with Duong carrying a handgun. Surveillance footage captured their purposeful movement through the billiard hall, leading to the courtyard where the shooting took place. Duong, identified as the gunman, fired multiple shots at close range, killing Linda Huynh and wounding Hien Duc Phan, leading to the murder charges, arguing that it was improperly admitted and should not have been relied upon by the jury.

Considerations on Public Safety and Trust

The court’s assessment highlighted the brazen nature of the crime, which resulted in murder charges, and was committed in a public setting in full view of numerous witnesses. The offenders made no attempt to conceal their identities, indicating a blatant disregard for public safety and the rule of law. This lack of concealment was interpreted as an attempt to intimidate the community and establish a reputation for violence.

Appellate Decision

The Court of Criminal Appeal identified significant errors in the trial judge’s directions regarding the concept of joint criminal enterprise and the oversight of a jury note requesting clarification. This jury note, which sought to better understand the legal definitions pertinent to the murder charges and their deliberations, was crucial. The judge’s failure to address it could have led the jury to misunderstand the requirements for convicting someone under joint enterprise principles. As a result, the convictions of ATCN, Khanh Hoang Nguyen, and Minh Thy Huynh were quashed, and new trials were ordered for these individuals on the murder charges.


This appeal underscored the importance of precise jury directions and the proper handling of identification evidence in criminal trials. The decision to quash the convictions of ATCN, Khanh Hoang Nguyen, and Minh Thy Huynh and order new trials highlighted the appellate court’s recognition of the potential for serious miscarriages of justice due to procedural errors.

Duong’s conviction, while upheld, was subject to a reassessment of his sentence, reflecting the court’s commitment to ensuring that sentences are proportionate to the crime’s seriousness. The case illustrates the complex interplay between legal principles and factual determinations in criminal justice and the critical role of appellate courts in safeguarding the fairness of trials.

Seeking Legal and Professional Guidance

For those facing similar legal challenges, seeking expert legal counsel is crucial. The Daniel Wakim Law Firm is dedicated to providing comprehensive legal support, ensuring that every client receives a fair trial and that justice is served according to the highest legal standards.

Our expertise in criminal law and our commitment to meticulous legal practice make us a reliable ally in navigating complex legal situations. Whether you are facing charges or seeking to appeal a conviction, our firm is equipped to provide the guidance and representation you need to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.