Unlawful Assault & Criminal Damage / Withdrawn

Case: police drop charges for family violence incident.

Our client had an argument with his partner. Police alleged that he smashed a plate and pushed his partner without any statement from his partner.

Charges/ Ch1 (unlawful assault); Ch 2 (criminal damage)

Result/ All charges withdrawn

Our client’s partner did not want our client charged. Our lawyer referred our client’s partner to another lawyer to assist in drafting a statement of no complaint that clarified the situation. Police withdrew the charges.

19 Serious Drug Charges Reduced to 1 Charge of Drug Possession / Adjourned Undertaking Without Conviction

Case: Weak Police Case Leads to 18 Drug Charges being Dropped.

Police lost sight of a car they believed was driving evasively at 2am. Police saw our client and his girlfriend walking down a street and believed them to be the owner of the car. They searched our client and found a plunger in his pocket and car keys. This led to search of the car, an airbnb and our client’s home where a large amount of drugs were found.

Charges/ Ch1, 2, 3, 4 (drug trafficking); Ch5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19 (drug possession); Ch9, 10 (possess controlled weapon); Ch16 (possess prohibited weapon)

Result/ Ch 1-6, 8-19 withdrawn; Plea to Ch7: adjourned undertaking without conviction

Our lawyer requested disclosure of police notes and body camera footage and spot tests of all drugs. Of 10 police involved no notes were taken, only one officer had body cam and spot tests of some drugs were inconclusive or there were no spot tests at all. It was raised that the police search was unlawful as our client had not consented to the search and police had no warrant. The matter had dragged on for over 2 years and it was agreed with the prosecutor to reduce the charges to a single charge of possession.

Sexual Assault, Reckless Cause Injury, Threat to Kill / Withdrawn

Case: Serious Charges From allegations by vindictive ex-partner. 

Our client found out his ex-partner had cheated on him during their relationship. The ex-partner contacted police three months after an incident she claimed our client sexually assaulted her and physically abused her. Eight months after her complaint, she produced photos showing alleged injuries from the incident. Police charged our client.

Charges/ Ch1 (sexual assault); Ch2 (recklessly cause injury); Ch3 (criminal damage); Ch4 (threat to kill)

Result/ All charges withdrawn

Our lawyer obtained evidence from our client that after they had broken up, and after the date of the alleged incident, our client and his ex-partner remained in contact as friends. We obtained defence witness letters from corroborative witnesses that outlined that it was the complainant was the person who was manipulative and abusive. We also requested police to produce the original HEIC images of the alleged injuries. IPhones allow you to change the date of photographs and it was our suspicion that the injuries may have been caused at a later date and then the date of the photograph back dated. Police agreed to withdraw the charges at the first instance.

Unlawful Assault / Withdrawn

Case: Couple’s argument leads to assault charge.

Our client was in an abusive relationship and on a work visa. His partner forbid him from speaking to his parents and family overseas. On the day of the incident, he called his family and his partner found out and she hit him with some furniture. He tried to restrain her to calm her down. She called the police alleging she was assaulted and our client charged.

Charges/ Ch1 (unlawful assault)

Result/ Charge withdrawn

Our lawyer obtained extensive character evidence of previous false complaints made to police by our client’s partner in their home country, as well as a counselling report that recommended his partner attend an anger management course. Police took on board our submission and agreed to withdraw the charge.

Unlawful Assault / Withdrawn

Case: Rage over a disabled parking spot.

Our client was unaware he parked in a disabled parking spot. The complainant, a 70 year old male, claims that he politely told our client to move his car after which our client abused and assaulted him. Our client denied he assaulted the complainant and instead claimed that the old man was abusive and spat at him, causing our client to push the complainant away.

Charges/ Ch1 (unlawful assault)

Result/ Charge withdrawn

Our lawyer obtained the prior criminal history of the complainant which showed a history of violence. The complainant also said that his glasses and expensive watch were broken in the assault, however he provided a photo of his injuries showing grazes to his arm – in that photo his watch and glasses were unbroken. Our lawyer indicated that our client will contest the charge and that the complainant has no credibility in relation to his account. The police promptly withdrew the charge.

Recklessly cause injury / Dismissed, costs awarded against police

Case: Magistrate dismisses serious assault charge.

Our client attended a friend’s house for a catch up. Another person was already there and had drunk over 10 cans of beer. The person claims that a minor argument led to our client punching him in the face,  kneeling on his neck and attempting to hit him with a shovel. Our client denied this and claimed the injury was likely self-inflicted due to drunkenness after he pushed the complainant out of the way to leave after the complainant aggressively got in our client’s face and was poking at his chest. Our client was charged with serious assault offences and contested them at a hearing before a magistrate.

Charges/ Ch1 (recklessly cause injury), Ch2 (common assault)

Result/ Contested hearing: all charged dismissed, costs awarded against police

Our lawyer offered from the earliest opportunity for the police to withdraw the charges without costs, on the basis that the complainant lacked  credibility. The kneeling on the neck story mimicked the George Floyd murder that was in the news at the time, and the complainant’s medical report stated that he could not recall being punched. The complainant also said another witness was present at the time of the assault, but that witness gave evidence that he did not witness any incident. Our client also had previously had leg surgery that made it painful and difficult to kneel in the way alleged. The prosecutor stubbornly refused to withdraw and decided to contest the matter. At the hearing the complainant made inconsistent statements that provided enough doubt for the Magistrate to acquit our client. This is an example of key strategy that BCL lawyers undertake to offer an early withdrawal of costs for highly contestable cases in order for police to avoid costs orders.

Speeding 35-45kph / Withdrawn

Case: Police Highway Patrol Charged Our Client With Excessive Speed Despite His Radar Having Detected A Different Vehicle.

Client drove his car on a highway and indicated into a left lane while police were pursuing another vehicle causing them to lose the pursuit. They intercepted our client and gave him an infringement for speeding between 25 and 35 kph carrying a mandatory 6 months loss of licence. Our client denied speeding and took the matter to court.

Charges/ Ch1 (speeding  between 25- 35kph)

Result/ Ch1: withdrawn

Our client’s charge was withdrawn following review of the police in-car dash cam footage and body worn camera footage showed the police had detected the speed of the other vehicle it was pursuing and they said about our client “he’ll do he was speeding too”. This material is not readily available for parties unless requested from the police. This material should always be reviewed especially for speeding offences due to the inaccuracy of the police in car radar detector (Stalker Dual DSR – Direction Sensing Moving Police Radar). Whilst stationary or travelling, the transmitted signal from the DSR can strike a moving target and transmit the signal back to the antenna. The traffic radar then measures the frequency shift to obtain the target speed. The unique Direction Sensing ability of the DSR allows the radar to automatically determine the correct speed of all same lane targets and opposite lane targets. However, the DSR does not provide police with any corroborating evidence as to which vehicle was locked on and unfortunately in certain situations, even police members can become confused in heavy traffic conditions. This technology is difficult to incorporate a built in camera due to the fact that such radars generally detect cars hundreds of metres away. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to request access to the police in-car dash cam footage and body worn camera footage to ensure that no stone is left unturned.

Dangerous driving / Withdrawn

Case: Helicopter speed detection method agreed to be inaccurate by prosecutor at contest mention 

Client drove his car on the freeway whilst being followed by Victoria Police Air Wing. Tactical Flight officers from the air wing kept constant observations and estimated the speed to be between 140 – 150kmph. He received a summons for court charged with dangerous driving and careless driving and exceeding the speed limit by more than 45kmph.

Charges/ Ch1 (dangerous driving), Ch2 (careless driving), Ch3 (speeding  by more than 45kph)

Result/ Ch1, 2: withdrawn; Ch3: Charge amended to reduce the exceeded speed limit by less than 45kph, licence suspension 6 mo (instead of 12 mo)

BCL lawyer argued that the police informant could not have accurately calculated the distance over time which was the mathematic formula used by police officers from the air wing unit. Prosecutor agreed prior to contest mention and matter proceeded by way of a plea of guilty whereby client received the minimum mandatory of 6 months licence loss, rather than 12 months on the original charge.

Large Commercial Quantity Of Drugs / Bail Granted

Case: Bail granted for Serious drug charges.

Our client’s house was raided and large commercial quantity of drugs was allegedly found. This quantity makes bail unlikely given the almost certain prospects of a term of imprisonment if found guilty. Client had to show exceptional circumstances why bail should be granted.

Charges/ Ch1 (trafficking of a large commercial quantity of drugs)

Result/  Bail Granted – exceptional circumstances found

Our lawyer advised client to run a self represented bail application which is usually unsuccessful and to preserve a later more considered bail application with legal representation. Our lawyer however assisted by arranging a surety of $200,000, stable accommodation and providing prior guidance to our client. Police also did not allege our client was an unacceptable risk and the magistrate granted bail.

Possession of Drug of Dependence / Adjourned Undertaking

Case: Caught in a car with drugs while having a seizure.

Client was suffering brain cancer and pulled over their car sensing the onset of a seizure. Police intercepted and unlawfully searched the vehicle finding drugs. Case was dealt with in 2015 by Legal Aid however client was informed there was a warrant for her arrest for failing to attend court 7 years earlier.

Charges/ Ch1, 2, 3  (trafficking drug of dependence); Ch4, 5, 6. 7 (possession drug of dependence); Ch8 (proceeds of crime)

Result/ Ch2 to 9 Withdrawn; Ch 1 Amended to Possession of Drug of Dependence – 60mo adjourned undertaking with $1500 donation

BCL Lawyer made enquiries with Legal Aid who had no notes about our client’s case. The police informant was no help and refused to make enquiries about our client’s version of events that other people had access to the car and the drugs were not hers. It was agreed in negotiations that the 7 years that transpired made obtaining any corroborative evidence difficult and the prosecutor agreed to resolve our client’s matter on a single charge of drug possession.