Mother accused of shaking baby cleared
In 2021, we began representing a young wife and mother who was charged with an offence of assault occasioning bodily harm. The prosecution alleged that our client had deliberately shaken her 4-month old baby girl and caused her to sustain rib fractures. Understandably our client, who was a new mother, was devastated to be accused of harming her first new born. Our client strongly denied the allegations and the matter was listed for trial. Due to factors beyond our control there were delays with the trial proceeding in a timely manner. Prior to the most recent trial date in February 2024, we were provided with further medical notes which did not contradict our client's position, and so along with identifying the deficiencies in the prosecution case, we advanced a submission to discontinue the charge having regard to the questionable prospects of securing a conviction, and the public interest. The submission was accepted before the trial date and the charge was discontinued. Whilst the costs award could not compensate our client for the overwhelming stress of the criminal justice process, we were able to recover some of the legal costs our client had incurred over the last 3 years. The timing of the discontinuance was timed perfectly, with our client discovering she was now expecting her second child!
Our client in his early 20's was studying to become a paramedic. On a night out in Northbridge, he drank a little too much and, inside a nightclub, foolishly threw a glass into the air and towards a crowded dance floor. Later that evening a patron presented to management with a bleeding cut on her forehead. CCTV of the incident captured our client throwing the glass, but the footage did not show the projection of the glass after it left our client's hand.
Our client was arrested, interviewed and made full admissions to throwing the glass, resulting in him being charged with unlawful wounding. We advised him to enter a not guilty plea and await further disclosure from investigating police. About 5 weeks before the trial, the medical report was made available to the defence, which suggested that the prosecution may have difficulty in proving the injury met the legal definition of a wound.
After much consideration, our client, who was immensely remorseful and overwhelmed with shame and guilt for his actions, advised that he wished to plead guilty to an offence. Our proposal to plead to an alternative offence of assault occasioning bodily harm was accepted by the prosecution and, on the anticipated trial date, the original charge was amended such that our client’s plea attracted the full discount for a plea entered at the earliest opportunity.
Sentencing was adjourned to allow for our client and the victim to engage in mediation, which was an overwhelming success. The magistrate accepted our client had done everything he could to make amends for his spontaneous misjudgement, including compensating the victim for her medical expenses and lost income, and sentenced him to a fine, which was made payable to the victim. Our application for a spent conviction order was granted on the strength of excellent character references, which persuaded the magistrate that our client was unlikely to commit such an offence again, and that he ought to be immediately relieved of any adverse consequences which may flow from the conviction in his future career prospects.
Porn seekers beware
Our client, a 66 year old retiree and novelist with no prior convictions, was arrested by the Australian Federal Police earlier this year. His electronic devices were searched and following a forensic examination of his computer, police located child abuse material on his device. Our client was charged with a federal offence of possessing child abuse material. As a result of the charge, our client's reputation was destroyed, his marriage was in ruins and he lost some of his close family and friends. Our client was shocked to learn of the material on his device. It was not the case he had intentionally searched for, or downloaded, such material. Rather, it had been inadvertently downloaded to his computer in the course of downloading adult pornography, and he had been reckless as to his possession of that material. Federal prosecutors pushed for our client to be sentenced to a term of immediate imprisonment. We fought hard for our client at sentencing, submitting that his case was distinguishable from others of this type. The sentencing judge was persuaded to impose a recognizance release order. Our client can now enjoy Christmas with his family, continue caring for his elderly mother and start to rebuild his life.
When an up-and-coming golf pro first engaged Perrella Legal, he thought his golfing career was over. He had been charged with an offence of driving under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, there was no scope to successfully defend the charge and our client’s primary concern was the prospect that the conviction would affect his ability to work and travel internationally. Our team worked towards mounting an argument in support of an application for a spent conviction order in relation to the offending. Our efforts to persuade the sentencing Magistrate were successful and the application was granted, with the result that our client’s golfing career would not be adversely impacted by his poor decision to drink and drive.
Ex comes back to bite
Our client was a father of three whose relationship with his former wife ended in 2022. Some time in 2023, our client's former wife made a report to police over two separate incidents: alleged to have occurred over five years and two years prior.
He was subsequently charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and a threat to do an unlawful act. After reviewing the evidence, a submission was made to the prosecution to discontinue the threat charge on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to establish this alleged incident occurred. We offered instead, a plea of guilty to the assault charge, which was accepted and the threat charge was discontinued. Following the successful negotiation, our client was sentenced to a $500 fine, suspended for three months, and granted a spent conviction order.
Don’t drink and drive, but call us if you do
Our client, a single working mother of a young son, who was going through a difficult time in her life both personally and financially, concerned about being able to pay for and losing her home, came to us charged with drove a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, namely 0.189. Her biggest concern was how a conviction would affect her employment, as she was on a secondment agreement with the Government and therefore, required to undergo a Police Clearance every time she applied for a new position.
Due to the matter being a traffic offence and a particularly high reading, the application for a spent conviction was a difficult one. However, after receiving our legal advice, she entered an early plea of guilty, took responsibility for her actions, and with the assistance of some glowing references, coupled with our successful submissions to demonstrate to the Court that she was unlikely to reoffend, was a person of good character and her employment prospects would be adversely affected, the court granted the spent conviction application and imposed the minimum disqualification period and fine.
Just a larrikin
Our client was a hard working FIFO worker who had just started a new contract and after a back to back shift, had a few too many on a night out in Fremantle. After leaving one of the pubs, he thought it would be funny to open the door to a parked police van – but police officers didn’t think it was funny and after a short foot chase that went no where fast, our client fell to ground and was placed under arrest. Police alleged that he was obstructing them during their dealings with him (such as verifying his identity and searching him) and that he behaved in a disorderly manner in opening the vehicle doors. Our client initially wanted to plead guilty and have the matter over and done with but we persuaded him to allow us to first review the body worn camera footage. On reviewing the footage, we did not consider the prosecution would succeed on either charge and made a submission to discontinue them. On the next court date, the prosecution pulled the obstruct charge but, unbeknown to us, decided to upgrade it to an assault public officer charge. We made a further submission to the prosecution to discontinue the new charge on the basis that it could not be proved and even if it could our client had viable defence. The prosecution agreed and discontinued all charges. Our client avoided any conviction whatsoever and was awarded costs in his favour.
Public interest prevails
After an unhappy experience with a previous firm, our client was referred to us to assist his son defeat sex assault charges which had been brought by police in relation to a minor. Our client’s son was diagnosed with ASD/ADHD and whilst he was aged in his 30’s, he had significantly impaired social and mental functioning. The assault complainant was in her teens and had offered sexual favours in exchange for alcohol. Despite a fitness to stand trial hearing determining our client fit, it was apparent that there was no way a trial could proceed without significant disruption and every possibility it would be aborted. We made a thorough and detailed public interest submission to the Office of the DPP, supported by expert medical evidence and NDIS material to demonstrate the extensive measures and assistance in place to reduce the prospect of any incident similar to that alleged occurred in the future. The Office of the DPP accepted out submission and discontinued all charges against our client’s son. The police followed suit and also discontinued a charge relating to our client’s son spitting at a custodial services officer during the fitness to stand trial hearing (described by experts as an involuntary action on account of his ASD) as he tried to deal with the stress of the court process.
Not a crime
Our client was a young tradie who provided a quote for a job to a customer. The customer accepted the quote and mistakenly transferred $10,000 into our clients bank account instead of the required $1,000 deposit. The job was cancelled and the customer requested the return of monies transferred.
Unfortunately, our client did not return the overpayment immediately and was unable to do so for some months, having fallen into financial difficulty. By the time our client was subsequently charged with stealing, he had only been able to repay $2,000.
On his first court date, our client was represented by a duty lawyer who advised him to plead guilty and adjourn the matter for a few weeks as he was facing a term of imprisonment upon conviction. Fortunately, a plea of guilty was not entered and we were engaged to provide legal advice. We conducted research into the matter and formed the view the mistaken overpayment did not constitute the criminal offence of stealing, and advised our client to return the remaining $8,000 to the customer along with a written apology. We made a submission to the prosecution to discontinue the charge on two grounds: Firstly, that there was no reasonable prospect of securing a conviction on the basis that there was no offence in law, and secondly, that there was no public interest in proceeding with a prosecution in circumstances where the overpayment had been returned. The prosecution agreed and on the next court date, discontinued the charge of stealing against our client.
Wrong way to right a wrong
Our client, an 18-year-old man, was charged with doing grievous bodily harm to another. On the evening in question, our client was on his way to the Northbridge precinct to collect his girlfriend when he received a concerning telephone call from his friend who had seen a certain man walking through Northbridge. That man had allegedly indecently dealt with one of our client's family members. Our client, believing his friend would confront the man, caught up with his friend with the intention of diffusing a potential situation. However, upon seeing the man in question, our client lost his cool and started a fight, as a result of which, the man sustained a broken jaw requiring surgery and metal plates.
Our client took responsibility for his actions, and plead guilty to the charge. The serious nature of the injury and the need for the Court to condemn and deter what was akin to vigilante behaviour warranted the imposition of a term of imprisonment. However, having demonstrated remorse, accountability together with glowing character references, and a psychological report which noted he was at low risk of re-offending, we were able to persuade the sentencing judge to suspend the term of imprisonment on conditions.
Daughter was aggressive
Our client, a loving and hardworking father stood accused of strangulation and assault occasioning bodily harm by his daughter. Having taken instructions from our client, we advised him to proceed to trial on the basis that he was responding in self-defence to his daughter having attacked him. The prosecution case rested entirely upon the credibility of the daughter who had an acrimonious relationship with our client, and his former wife. Days before the trial the prosecution offered to discontinue the strangulation charge if our client were to plead guilty to the assault charge. Whilst tempting, our client stood firm and we continued to prepare for trial. Hours before the trial was scheduled to commence the prosecution contacted our office to advise they would be discontinuing both charges.
Lost job, but not liberty
Our client was a ten year veteran prison officer whose career was cut short when an inmate accused him and other prison officers of unlawfully assaulting him and trying to cover it up by failing to identify himself as the officer who assaulted the inmate in an incident report. He was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and corruptly making a false record. We advised our client to proceed to trial, on the basis that he could not be guilty of any alleged cover up if there was no unlawful assault to cover up in the first place. After a six-day District Court trial, the jury agreed and took less than two hours to find our client not guilty on both counts.
Paying the price
After months of listening to incessant shouting, gaming and music coming from the neighbouring apartment, our client’s tolerance had come to an end and his fuse broke. A heated verbal confrontation with his neighbour escalated into a physical interaction, which got out of hand when our client disabled his neighbour with capsicum spray and and hit him across his back with a rubber stick lying by the front door. Police attended and our client was subsequently charged with unlawful wounding and assault occasioning bodily harm.
After reviewing the evidence, we did not consider our client had a viable defence. However, it was clear that none of the injuries sustained by the neighbour did not meet the criteria for an offence of unlawful wounding. After successful negotiations with the prosecution, they agreed to discontinue the charge. We secured a partial costs award and proceeded to sentencing for the remaining assault charge, narrowly avoiding an immediate term of imprisonment on account of the severity of the assault and the injuries sustained. After a considered plea in mitigation in the Perth Magistrates Court, we succeeded in obtaining a spent conviction for the charge and our client was sentenced to a $4,000 fine, made payable…to the neighbour.
Our client, a ranger, was charged with assaulting and seriously injuring a public officer, being another ranger, who had come onto our client’s property. Our client had intimate knowledge of the powers of a ranger and at the time of the assault, believed that the public officer was acting outside his power/authority. We advised our client to proceed to trial, with the aim of securing an outright acquittal. Conflicting testimony from the public officer and an eye witness was the result of rigorous cross-examination and identified significant concerns surrounding their credibility on material points. After hearing evidence for almost 3 days, the Magistrate agreed with our submission that the public officer was acting outside his powers, and further, found the prosecution witnesses to be wholly unreliable, ultimately delivering a not guilty verdict on the charge and awarding our client costs.
Threat not intimate
A former client returned to us for assistance, facing allegations that he had threatened to distribute intimate images of his ex-partner and her new partner and failed to comply with a request by police to provide access his electronic devices. There were ongoing Family Court and restraining order matters between our client and the ex, such that the outcome of the trial carried even more weight and importance for our client. Our client denied the words were a threat, and that the ‘threat’ related to distribution of ‘intimate’ images. After hearing evidence over 3 days, the Magistrate ultimately found our client not guilty on both charges and he was awarded costs.
Police break protocol
Our client, the son of a police officer, was charged with a number of traffic related offences including reckless driving, drink driving and failing to stop for police. On the first day of trial, crucial police witnesses failed to attend. In the lead up to the second trial date, the prosecution offered to downgrade or discontinue some charges consequent on pleas of guilty to some charges. Our client declined those offers, and was adamant that he wanted to take the matter to trial. The prosecution then exercised their discretion to to upgrade the reckless driving charge to have been committed in an aggravating circumstance of police pursuit. That meant our client was facing a mandatory 6 months imprisonment if convicted. Certainly that changed the risks associated with going to trial, particularly where the prosecution case rested upon the evidence of two seemingly decorated and respected police officers. Shortly prior to the second trial date, the prosecution then offered to downgrade the charge back to its original form, if our client pleaded guilty. We considered it was a strategy to pressure our client into pleading guilty but still he maintained his innocence. On the morning of the trial, the prosecution applied to downgrade the reckless driving to remove the circumstance of aggravation. The prosecution then applied to discontinue the fail to stop charge and the trial proceeded on two charges. During our cross-examination of the first key police witness, we questioned him about internal police policy that we had summonsed and fought to get a copy of (disclosure was opposed by the police). During that line of questioning the prosecution asked for an adjournment. Having called into question the lawfulness of the police officer’s conduct, the prosecution made an application half-way through the cross examination of the officer to halt the evidence and abandon the trial. The Magistrate entered judgements of acquittal in relation to the charges and we were awarded significant costs in the matter.
DNA mess leads to charges being initiated and …dropped
Our client was charged with laundering more than 3 and half million dollars. The prosecution case rested entirely on evidence that his DNA profile matched the DNA recovered from samples taken from several of the boxes and bags which concealed the cash. His fingerprints were also matched to those recovered from the surfaces of some of the boxes.
Our client maintained that he had no knowledge of the cash and had no connection to his co-accused, who were to be jointly prosecuted for this and other alleged offences. Whilst we were successful in securing our client a separate trial, just 2 weeks before it was to commence, the prosecution disclosed that a DNA profile matching that of a police officer had been detected on some boxes. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered that proper cleaning procedures for the police evidence room had not been complied with and there was a there was a real possibility that DNA transferred across evidence whilst in the possession of the police, which had been seized and improperly handled by police, who had not changed gloves when handling the evidence.
The failure of police to comply with practice and procedure resulted in the prosecution case becoming fraught with danger and the DNA evidence in particular, wholly unreliable to establish the guilt of our client. The prosecution was left embarrassed and with no choice but to discontinue the charge on the basis there would be no reasonable prospect of conviction.
Some friends knife in the front
Our client was charged with the offences of unlawful wounding, and fighting in public following a melee between his group of friends and another group at a market in Morley, during which, the victim was stabbed with a knife.
The prosecution alleged that our client was criminally responsible for the offence on the basis that the injury was a probable consequence of his joining in the fight. However, our client denied any knowledge that someone in his group was armed with a knife.
We advised our client to defend the charges and the matter was listed for a two-day trial in the Perth Magistrates Court. After reviewing CCTV footage and other disclosure material, we were confident that the prosecution case was weak and destined to fail. The prosecution delayed responding to our submission to discontinue the charges until a week before the trial was due to commence. On the day of the trial, the prosecution discontinued the charges against our client, and our client secured a full costs award.
Chivalry: at your own risk
In July 2022 our client was at his local catching up with old mates who were visiting from interstate. Whilst enjoying some conversation over drinks, his female companions asked our client for help dealing with a drunken man who was harassing them on the dance floor.
Our client immediately went to their aid and approached the man. A mix of alcohol and ego saw the man verbally abuse, and then lunge at, our client with closed fists. To avoid the impending assault, our client reacted to defended himself, and after a brief scuffle, came off the victor. The man suffered serious injury, including a loss of consciousness.
Our client was charged, and pleaded guilty to, assault occasioning bodily harm. We presented a persuasive, and well prepared plea in mitigation, securing a modest fine as punishment and a spent conviction order, ensuring minimal impact on his career prospects.
Stab in the dark
Our client was charged with the attempted murder of his partner in 2020 following a verbal altercation at their home in Port Hedland.
He had been in an unhealthy relationship with the complainant for the better part of a year when he returned home one afternoon to discover she had been dishonest about her relationship with another man. Our client intoxicated himself with copious amounts of alcohol and modafinil tablets with the intention of committing suicide. Instead our client fell into a state of psychosis, causing him to black out. When he came to, he discovered he had stabbed the complainant multiple times but had no memory of having done so.
When interviewed by police, our client accepted he did the acts which caused the injuries but explained to police that he had no intention of killing the complainant and had no memory of the offending. Our client was subsequently charged with attempted murder and his then lawyer made an offer to the police to accept a plea of guilty to a charge of doing grievous bodily harm. The offer was rejected by the prosecution.
Our firm was later engaged to act and we procured a psychiatric assessment of our client and made an offer to the prosecution to accept a plea of guilty to an alternative of offence of doing grievous bodily harm with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The prosecution declined, and offered no explanation for refusing the proposal. We advised our client to proceed to trial on the charge of attempted murder.
Following a five-day trial in the Supreme Court, which involved graphic testimony from the complainant and medical experts, as well as complex psychiatric evidence, we were able to persuade the jury they could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that our client was capable of forming an intention to kill, returning verdicts of not guilty on attempted murder.
The jury found our client was guilty of the alternative offence of causing grievous bodily harm, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm - the very offence we offered to plead guilty to before the trial, to spare the complainant and expert witnesses from giving evidence and the public expense in conducting a week long trial.
Where our client was facing a lifetime term of imprisonment for the offence of attempted murder, he was ultimately sentenced to serve a 9 year term of imprisonment with eligibility for parole.
Fake rape to save face
In March 2020 our client was arrested and charged with several sex offences brought by his wife that were alleged to have occurred during their marriage.
By the time he engaged us, he had spent over 18 months in custody on remand, unable to secure his release on bail and despite an appeal to the Supreme Court by his former solicitors. We were able to re-agitate the issue of bail by demonstrating a change in circumstances and he was finally granted bail by the District Court.
Our client believed that his wife was motivated to make false allegations to justify a (second) divorce to her religious parents.
Police first became involved when the complainant attended her local police station and told the police that our client had barricaded her family in their family home and that he was threatening them with harm. When police arrived at the home, they found nobody to be in any danger, with body worn camera footage revealing police they queried whether they were at the right house. This was merely one example of embellishments that riddled the complainant’s evidence in court and which we were able to contradict with evidence of other witnesses, including the prosecution's own.
After a seven day trial, the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes to deliver unanimous verdicts of not guilty for both counts on the indictment.
DNA all over it, but it is over
In June 2020, our client stayed overnight at her cousin’s house along with a few others and left early the next morning for work.
Just over two years later, she was charged with possession of an ounce of methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply. Why? About an hour after she left her cousin’s house, Police executed a search warrant and in the main robe located the drug in a clip seal bag concealed inside a paper towel and duct tape. The occupants of the house pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of the drug with intent to sell or supply and were serving lengthy prison sentences by the time our client was charged in June 2022.
In the meantime, Police had sent off the paper towel and duct tape for forensic analysis and our client’s DNA was found on swabs taken from the packaging, and decision was made to charge her.
She contacted our firm for legal assistance before she was interviewed by police in June 2022 and followed our advice to offer 'no comment' to questions asked.
We obtained the forensic case file from PathWest as a matter of priority and after assessing the evidence carefully and thoroughly, we were confident that the prosecution would not be able to prove our client was in ‘possession’ of the drug. We wrote to the Office of the DPP, inviting the State to discontinue the charge on the basis it would never be able to establish the element of 'possession' and the prosecution case was destined to fail. After three months of waiting for a response (and no doubt the ODPP trying to build a case) the ODPP realised it had no case and we were advised that the charge would be discontinued. The charge was discontinued and our client was, obviously, relieved and delighted.
Left holding the bag
Our client was at home in his backyard having drinks and catching up with a mate, when a mutual friend arrived in her car and joined them.
At some point during the night, she asked our client if she could borrow a bag, and our client directed her to go inside and grab whatever.
A short time later, she told our client that she was going to go for a drive, by that time, everyone was hungry and asked to for a lift to get some food. In his haste to leave, our client turned back towards the house to fetch his bag and wallet. Our client noticed that she was carrying his bag, she told him his wallet was inside it, and she placed the bag in the passenger footwell where our client was seated.
They all piled into a car and were stopped by police a minute later. Our client’s bag was searched, with Police not only finding his wallet, but over $43,000 in cash. His DNA was also found on the elastic bands allegedly used to secure bundles of the cash. The female driver denied any knowledge of the cash. Our client was charged with unlawful possession of the cash and frankly, things did not look good for him.
He came to us two days before his intended trial, having lost faith in the lawyer he had engaged to defend him. We adjourned the trial date by consent and immediately commenced preparing material in support of a submission to discontinue the charge. This involved very careful analysis of the search of the car and questioning by police, body worn camera footage, forensic report and the recording of the cash count in the police evidence room. The prosecution accepted our client’s account of the events leading up to the finding of the cash and our contention that it was not possible to prove which of the elastic bands with our client’s DNA were actually used to secure the bundles of cash (and there was an alternative hypothesis for the finding of our client’s DNA on them). Before the next court date, the prosecution agreed to discontinue the charge, and our client was successful in securing a full costs award.
Two sisters, two liars
Two teenage sisters living at a residential care facility in Perth made allegations that our client, who was 16 at the time, committed acts of a sexual nature on them, while he was also a resident.
We elected to try the charges before a District Court jury. In the interim before trial and in defiance of legislative framework, the Office of the DPP added more counts to the indictment. The effect of the procedural irregularity and insistence on prosecuting the additional counts, almost derailed the trial. Our client, was forced to accept a short delay to the commencement of the trial for the ODPP to resolve the irregularity rather than the unattractive option of adjourning the trial for up to another 12 months.
During his stay our client met sister A, who stayed at the residence for about a week. It is alleged during this time there was an incident where our client offended against her. Evidence was given by the residential care workers which contradicted sister A’s testimony on material points, making it clear she was mistaken about what had happened.
After the alleged sexual assault, sister A introduced our client to her sister (sister B), a course of action which the defence contended was inconsistent with sister A being violated by our client.
Our client and sister B had a brief intimate relationship. Sister B had a preoccupation with becoming a mother and told our client that she would like to have a baby with him. Sister B had conversations with witnesses who recount her being jovial and proud in describing her sexual interactions with our client. During cross-examination, it became apparent that sister B decided she had been ‘raped’ by our client after watching a popular show for teenagers called “13 Reasons Why”. Sister B did not accept that the allegations were made to spite our client for ending their relationship and having no desire to father her, let alone any, child.
After a four day District Court trial, the jury delivered verdicts of not guilty on all counts.
It pays to have hope
Our client, a 40 year old mother and sole carer of 4 children, had been introduced to cannabis in her teens and later to methylamphetamine by an abusive former partner at the age of 24. Ever since that time, she had struggled to be drug-free and her dependency was a coping mechanism for significant stress in her life. In most recent times, she began to sell cannabis to friends as a way of supporting her dependency on harder drugs.
However, in 2021 when police executed a search warrant at her home, a search of her bedroom uncovered multiple smoking implements, scales, lists with names and numbers, over $6,000 cash, quantities of cannabis, methylamphetamine and cocaine. She was charged with intending to sell and/or supply each type of drug to others. Her former lawyer’s prognosis of sentencing in the District Court and a jail term was one that our client was desperate to avoid.
We commenced acting for her in late 2022, assessed the brief, identified weaknesses in the evidence and commenced successful negotiations with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP). We were able to persuade the ODPP that our client’s intention to sell or supply was limited to the cannabis and not all the cash seized related to the proceeds of past sales. Our client pleaded guilty to amended charges of simple possession of methylamphetamine and cocaine, and dealt with by a Magistrate for all related charges. A fine of $800 was imposed for all charges with an order that $3,000 cash be returned to her.
Give a hangry man space, or else…
Our client was minding his own business waiting outside a Chinese restaurant in Northbridge, when the complainant decided to agitate him, and having achieved that aim, falsely asserted to police that he was the victim in the trivial incident which followed. Fortunately, expert analysis of the restaurant CCTV showed not only that the complainant’s allegation was exaggerated but that it was without substance.
The complainant alleged our client invaded his personal space whilst he was lining up to enter the restaurant. The two were known to one another because of a past business transaction in which our client had secured a positive outcome over the complainant. A verbal argument ensued over the perceived personal space transgression but escalated when the complainant told our client to “go back to fucking India”.
Having instigated a scene over personal space and directing a racial slur towards our client, the complainant decided it was necessary to call the police and waste their time with this trivial matter and put his mobile phone up to our client’s face to record him (while he was speaking to the police operator). Our client, provoked by this invasion of privacy, instinctively reacted by pushing the mobile phone out of his face and onto the ground. Despite making no physical contact with the complainant, our client was later charged with aggravated common assault because a lady in the queue nearby was holding a baby. The complainant also alleged he had been struck to the face by our client.
Our first endeavour to downgrade the charge with the prosecution failed, with the complainant insisting (without proof) that he had suffered bruising as a result of being struck to the face, and police maintaining that the baby saw the incident unfold. We then secured a comprehensive forensic expert report, which provided a detailed second by second analysis of the CCTV, which not only proved beyond reasonable doubt that our client did not make any contact with the complainant’s face, but that the baby was not in view when our client reached out to the mobile phone that was placed in his personal space. Our second submission to the prosecution to discontinue the charge altogether was accepted, and on the day of the intended trial, our client was granted a full costs award including the expense incurred in securing a forensic expert report.
Thirsty for a fight
While attending his ‘local’, our client and his sister were set upon by five crowd controllers who violently attacked and removed them from the premises. Despite being the apparent victims, our client and his sister were later charged with failing to leave a licensed premises and assault occasioning bodily harm. The prosecution alleged that our client had been acting in a disorderly manner when he untied a rope from a moored boat, and in the course of being “removed,” bit one of the crowd controllers.
Our aim at trial was to demonstrate that crowd controllers were thirsty to start a fight and had our client in their sights. Witnesses testified that during the altercation with crowd controllers, they threatened to throw our client in the water, they pinned him on the ground and pulled his arms behind his back causing serious injury, they placed their knees against his throat preventing air flow, they threw him against a limestone wall and finally, once outside the premises, they tackled him to the ground and held him until Police arrived. As a result of the beating, our client required surgery to reattach a torn muscle in his shoulder.
After a four day trial, the Magistrate accepted our ultimate submission that the use of force by crowd controllers was unlawful, excessive and unreasonable. Our client was acquitted on all charges and a full costs award made in our client's favour.
A spray not a glassing
Our client, a nursing student and support worker in her 20s, having no previous experience with the law, sought our help with a charge of assault occasioning bodily harm. The allegation was that, while at a club, during an argument with another girl she threw a glass at the girl causing injuries to the girl's face. The prosecution case consisted of eye witnesses to the incident and CCTV footage which captured a portion of what unfolded. It was a relatively strong prosecution case against our client however she was firm in her instructions that she did not throw the glass. The day before the trial was due to commence the prosecution contacted us with a view to resolving the matter. We were able to secure agreement to a downgraded charge of common assault on the basis that our client only threw the liquid in her glass towards the girl‘s face. The prosecution abandoned the allegation of a “glassing” and "occasioning bodily injury" to the complainant. Our client’s main concern was how a conviction would impact upon her nursing career and existing employment as a support worker. After advising our client to accept the offer, we were able to achieve a wonderful outcome for her at sentencing – a $200 fine and spent conviction order, ensuring the conviction will not appear on her National Police Clearance and avoid a detrimental impact on her chosen career path.
While working at a remote detention centre in 2011, our young male client had an overnight sexual encounter with a female work colleague who was ten years his senior. The female who was in her 40s lost her virginity as a result of the sexual encounter and, contrary to our client expressly indicating otherwise, deluded herself into believing this was the start of a relationship with him. On her return home to Sydney, the complainant learnt that she was pregnant as a result of the sexual liaison, which ultimately resulted in an abortion which both parties agreed to. Our client heard nothing further from the female and eventually got married and had a child with his wife. In 2018, seven years after the sexual liaison, our client was contacted by NSW Police informing him that the female alleged he had raped her. Apart from the shock and upheaval of his family life our client had no hope of obtaining evidence from 7 years ago to mount a defence of the allegation. The WA Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions pursued the matter to a District Court trial. No longer having access to mobile phone and social media records to establish communications passing between the two back in 2011 and later, our client was hamstrung by not being able to reveal the true nature of the consensual sexual encounter. Our client also did not have access to the CCTV footage or witnesses who worked at the long since demolished worker accommodation at the relevant time. Despite these obstacles, our meticulous cross examination of the complainant revealed her bizarre and irrational motivations for bringing the allegation, and ensured that the jury only took one hour to deliver a not guilty verdict.
Father vs. The World
Our client, a 30 year old father with no prior convictions, was charged with aggravated common assault relating to an allegation brought by his 13 year old step-son. To make things more awkward and difficult for our client, his wife and step-daughter had provided statements to police corroborating the step-son’s account. Our client maintained his innocence and on review of the disclosure we advised him to defend the allegation at trial. On the morning of the trial, the prosecution applied to discontinue the charge. Not surprising to us and no doubt anxious about the prospect of cross-examination under oath, the wife’s version of events changed before the trial was to commence. The prosecution discontinued the charge, forming the view there was no public interest in proceeding given the turn of events. In addition to the discontinuance, we were also able to secure a costs awarded, enabling our client to recover a substantial portion of his legal expenses.
Young man gets chance
Our client was a young man charged with six serious drug dealing offences, the most serious of which we were successfully in negotiating with the prosecution to half the weight originally alleged in his possession to below 4grams, thereby enabling all charges to be dealt with in the Magistrates Court.
Despite the starting point for any Court in dealing with offences of this type being a term of imprisonment, we were able to persuade the Court to impose fines, and our application for spent convictions was granted. Notwithstanding our client's personal difficulties which lead him to exercise poor judgement, he had shown marked maturity and acceptance of responsibility by the time he came to be sentenced, by engaging in private counselling and completing his electrical apprenticeship with a goal to work in the mining industry. The Court was persuaded that he was unlikely to offend again and that his and the community’s interests would be best served by a sentence other than imprisonment.
Not a gym “junkie”
In early 2019 our client’s gym was the subject of a Police raid, in which 11 clip seal bags each containing about 1g of cocaine and $13,100 cash was seized from a bag found behind the front counter at the premises.
Police submitted the clip seal bags for forensic analysis and our client’s DNA profile was recovered on 10 out of 11 clip seal bags. Our client was charged 13 months later after a review of the gym CCTV footage convinced Police that drugs were being dealt from the gym by our client. Quite incredibly, Police failed to take any statements from employees or members of the gym with a view to investigating the ownership of the bag containing the cocaine.
The prosecution case was riddled with deficiencies which we methodically exploited throughout the five-day District Court trial. Through careful cross examination of the prosecution witnesses we were able to undermine the flawed prosecution case and the impossibility of proving the legal element of "possession" of the cocaine.
The evidence which purportedly implicated our client in drug dealing rested largely on DNA evidence, a large cryovac bag with writing on it and CCTV footage which allegedly captured our client engaging in drug dealing. What the relevant portion of the CCTV footage showed, which the Police did not review, was our client’s grandfather delivering bringing pork cutlets in clip seal bags to the gym. As to the DNA evidence, there was a real possibility that transference of DNA could have occurred as a result of improper search methods and handling of exhibits by police executing the search warrant. The CCTV footage showed nothing more than an electrician fitting out the space for a new sauna in the backroom and our clients brother coming in to pick him up for breakfast.
After a lengthy trial, the jury took just 4 hours to deliver verdicts of not guilty, including one hour for lunch (not pork cutlets).
You didn’t get the STD from me!
In what can only be described as one of the most outrageous and improper exercises of prosecutorial discretion, our client was charged with grievous bodily harm after a complaint to police by a former sexual partner that she had contracted genital herpes from him.
Without seeking expert medical evidence, State Prosecutors filed an indictment and listed the matter for trial, in circumstances where the defence had to secure its own medical evidence which left no doubt that the prosecution could not prove, amongst other elements of the offence, that our client caused the transmission of the STD to the complainant. Considering the defence expert medical evidence, State Prosecutors rather than discontinue the charge sought to file a substitute indictment, alleging multiple counts of sexual penetration without consent as charges in the alternative to the charge of grievous bodily harm. Without disclosing any supplementary statement from the complainant, State Prosecutors alleged that our client had induced the complainant to have sexual relations with him by failing to inform her about his genital herpes, despite there being no duty to so inform her. Furthermore, the complainant never asked our client about whether he had any STD and chose not to take precautions in relation to her own sexual health. Our submission outlining the deficiencies in the prosecution case fell on deaf ears.
It was not until the morning of first day of the 4-day listed trial, that the State presented a discontinuance of the grievous bodily harm charge after conceding, finally, that there was no prima facie case having regard to the expert medical report secured by our firm. The State also withdrew its application to add the alternative sexual offences. The learned trial judge echoed our strongly expressed sentiments about the way this hopeless prosecution had come to existence and the failure of the prosecution to undertake basic and preliminary enquiries as to the transmissibility of genital herpes was such that the prosecution was “doomed to fail”.
A well-deserved punch
In May 2021, our client was enjoying a Friday night out with his girlfriend at a popular Perth venue, an evening which turned sour after he was arrested and charged with assault occasioning bodily harm.
Police alleged that “without warning” our client had punched the otherwise “pleasant and jovial” male complainant several times to the head causing a broken nose and bruising to the face. What the police statement of material facts failed to mention and which the CCTV was able to support, was that the extremely intoxicated complainant, had been making inappropriate and provocative gestures and comments towards our client and his girlfriend throughout the evening. While our client initially let the commentary slide the first few times, he saw red and snapped when the complainant told our client he was going to “rape” his girlfriend. Suffice to say, the complainant’s face ended up on the other side of a physical reaction.
We advised our client to defend the charge at trial. After hearing testimony from the complainant, our client and eyewitnesses and reviewing the CCTV footage, the Magistrate agreed with the defence case that our client had been provoked to assault the complainant and accordingly, was not criminally responsible for his actions. Our client was acquitted of the charge and awarded his legal costs in successfully defending the matter.
Back to back raids, back to back results
Fans of our summaries will recall back in April, we achieved an awesome result for our client and managed to secure the return of seized cash to him. That same client was raided again by police in July 2021 and they seized another quantity of cash (~$2500), a total of 5.5g of methylamphetamine and an assortment of other prescribed drugs and smoking pipes. The methylamphetamine was found in the hands of the co-accused who thought it was a good idea to try and retrieve the drugs while police were searching the house. Our attempt to downgrade the charge of possess methylamphetamine with intent to sell/supply charge to a charge of simple possession of a minor portion of the 5.5g was ignored by police, as was our request for the return of cash. We renewed our submission when the charges came to the ODPP for consideration and the prosecution agreed to drop the allegation of sell/supply and accept a plea to simple possession of 1.88g of the methylamphetamine. Given that there was no allegation of sale/supply and the quantity possessed was less than the 2g statutory presumption, we secured police agreement to drop the unlawful possession of cash charge and return the money seized to our client. Our client pleaded guilty to simple possession in the Magistrates Court, a fine was imposed and we were awarded costs.
Talk about bad neighbours…
Our male client was originally charged with two serious offences of aggravated home burglary and indecent assault on his female next door neighbour. Our client was subsequently charged with breaching a condition of his bail that he not speak with the complainant. The allegation is that our client was speaking directly to the complainant and her husband. As a result of this allegation, our client was remanded in custody. Our application for bail in the Magistrates Court was refused however, we took the matter to the Supreme Court and successfully obtained bail for our client.
Our client pleaded not guilty to the charge of breaching his bail and it was set for trial. The complainant had taken a recording of the incident in which she alleges our client was speaking to her, swearing at her and abusing her. However, the people in the video were speaking in Punjabi and the video was largely inconsistent with what the complainant told police had happened. Our client had given us clear instructions about who he was talking to and what he was saying. He also had footage of the incident which called into question the honesty of the complainant. The prosecution did not bother to have the complainant’s video translated. However, in preparation for trial we arranged for a professional interpreter to translate the video and that translation was consistent with our client’s version of events and entirely inconsistent with the complainant’s evidence.
On the morning of the trial, the prosecutor reviewed the statements of the complainant and her husband, and our recently disclosed transcription and made the decision to discontinue the charge. A judgement of acquittal was entered for our client without the need to proceed to trial and we were awarded costs. With that malicious charge out of the way, our attention will now turn to successfully defending the original charges of aggravated home burglary and commit and indecent assault at trial in the District Court.
Unbelievable but true
Our client was a 36 year old single mother who sought assistance from us prior to her District Court sentencing hearing in 2021. She was unhappy with legal advice she received from her previous lawyer to plead guilty to a trafficable quantity of methylamphetamine and unlawful possession of cash. We proceeded to a change of plea hearing and fought hard for our client. Unfortunately the application was not granted. However, this did open up negotiations between our office and the prosecution. Ultimately we were able to negotiate for the most serious charge to be amended, with the amount of methylamphetamine the subject of the charge being significantly reduced and no longer a trafficable quantity. This meant our client would not be declared a drug trafficker upon conviction. Further, we negotiated the basis of her plea with the State whereby it was not alleged she was selling the drug but rather she was sentenced on the basis she intended to supply some of it to others. Our client received a 25% discount on account of her plea, as well as significant reduction in the length of sentence on account of strong mitigating factors, securing an incredible result for her, namely a 2 year conditionally suspended term of imprisonment.
No cause for alarm
Our client was arrested after drunken disruptive behaviour in Northbridge and released from Perth Watch House at around 6.00 am, still under the effects of intoxication. CCTV from the Perth Watch House showed that on his way out of the building, our client had activated the fire alarm, causing emergency services to arrive. He was subsequently charged with ‘intentionally creating a false belief’. On reviewing the evidence we advised client to plead not guilty. At trial, we demonstrated that our client was so intoxicated he could not (and did not) form the intent to create a false belief. Our client was acquitted of the charge and we obtained a costs award payable by the prosecution.
Our client was a 40-something father of three who had a circle of clients who paid him cash for a variety of maintenance related jobs on their properties. Over time, our client accumulated in excess of $26,000 hidden throughout his house, and intended to fund an overseas trip to visit family once the COVID climate had settled. He was also a recreational user of cannabis and other substances in the privacy of his home.
On a day in January 2021, police executed a search warrant at our client’s address. He was not home at the time and a variety of substances and smoking implements were seized along with every penny he had been saving. The following day police charged him with drug related offences and of being in possession of unlawfully obtained property in relation to the cash seized. In April 2021 our client presented police with a register of clients, dates, works, and cash paid with a view to establishing that the cash seized was lawfully obtained and not the proceeds of what the police had a ‘hunch’ was from suspected drug dealing. He also offered to plead guilty to the minor charges. Disappointingly, police rejected the veracity of the register and declined to return the cash to our client. The matter was listed for trial.
Our client came to us in late 2021 and we commenced preparing for trial, while at the same time, re-engaging with legal advisors to police, to persuade them that the prosecution of the unlawful possession (cash) charge had no reasonable prospect of success having regard to the available evidence and the defence we had disclosed. Given that the police had no evidence to even suggest our client was dealing in drugs, the continued prosecution of the cash charge was flawed. The legal advisors agreed with our assessment and the following week, our client pleaded guilty to the minor charges and a judgement of acquittal was entered on the unlawful possession charge, enabling our client to have $26,000 returned to him. Our client received nominal fines and was awarded costs.
Not a burglar and no further punishment
In March 2021 a burglary occurred at a school and service station near Mandurah. Sixteen hours later, police pulled over a vehicle in which our client was passenger. Police searched the car and located school equipment, and a number of sealed packets of cigarettes consistent with what was alleged to have been stolen from the service station. CCTV of the service station burglary showed the offender wearing distinctive gloves; these were also located in the car along with our client’s DNA on them.
Police charged our client with burglary and other associated charges arising from the vehicle search. We assessed the evidence and advised our client to plead not guilty. At trial, we established that the items found in the back of the car represented a small portion of what was stolen from each burglary, and that many of the packets of cigarettes in the car were not reported stolen from the burglary at all. Mid-way through trial, the prosecution realised its case was destined for doom and offered to resolve the matter by discontinuing the burglaries if our client pleaded guilty to being in possession of property reasonably suspected to have been stolen.
We accepted the proposal and obtained a considerable costs award payable by the prosecution. As our client has spent time in custody relating to the burglaries, we were able to persuade the magistrate not to impose any further punishment for all charges.
Feral cop can’t handle losing
Our client is a family man and hard working businessman facing numerous allegations of stealing, brought by his sister in relation to their parents estate. Our client returned to Australia from business overseas, completed his quarantine period and was the subject of a welcoming arrest outside his hotel by investigating police. After being taken to a police station and charged, onerous bail conditions were set, including surrender of his passport and twice weekly reporting, thus preventing him from visiting relatives in country WA and operating his business franchise interstate and overseas.
After a contested bail variation hearing, and with a substantial increase in the surety undertaking, we successfully varied our client's bail to remove the reporting conditions and secured the return of our client’s passport. Two weeks later, we received notice of an application by the prosecution to reverse the Magistrate’s decision, on the strength of the investigating officer’s affidavit, the tenor of which was ferocious and grounded in a misconceived interpretation of facts. Whilst highly irregular, we nevertheless returned to Court and were able to persuade the Magistrate to dismiss the application, which had no merit and was merely an expression of the investigating officer's unhappiness with the decision of the Magistrate to remove reporting conditions and return our client’s passport.
Not guilty of rape allegation
Our client, a man in his 30s was charged with aggravated sexual penetration offences brought by the complainant, a female in her mid-20’s. Our client and his group were socialising at an establishment where the complainant was working and, after her shift, she invited our client along with two others back to her place for drinks. The group drank for a few hours, then the other two guests left, leaving our client with the complainant. The complainant claimed that as soon as they were left alone, our client violently raped her for about 30 minutes before leaving.
Our client was subsequently charged and after reviewing the evidence, we strongly advised him to plead not guilty to the allegations. At trial, we cross-examined the complainant extensively on many inconsistencies within her version of events and inconsistencies with other witnesses version of events, substantially undermining the reliability of her evidence. The jury took under two hours to deliver unanimous verdicts of not guilty after a 4 day trial.
It paid to stay away
After being charged with various burglary and assault offences in 2012, our client skipped bail and remained under the radar until 2020 when police caught up with him when he returned to WA. Naturally police vigorously opposed bail, but we presented a persuasive argument and our client was again released on bail.
We reviewed the evidence in support of the charges and advised our client to defend the matter. At trial the complainant gave non-responsive answers to questions and was argumentative during cross-examination. An eye-witness to the alleged offence failed to give evidence on a crucial point and the weapon allegedly used in the alleged offence was never located by investigators. Our client was acquitted on all charges and awarded his legal costs in defending the matter.
Foster mum falsely accused
Our client came to us distraught, and in disbelief, on learning she had been charged with assaulting three foster children in her care. The police investigation was mediocre and fraught with errors. One example came at the commencement of the trial, when we urged the prosecutor to make amendments to nine out of fourteen charges just to ensure the correct complainant was identified and thereby ensure our client received a fair trial.
The evidence adduced at trial presented our client in her true light, as a model foster carer providing the child complainants a caring and loving home. There was no evidence to suggest that the alleged assaults were anything other than entirely minor discipline of the children and the prosecution failed to prove that the force used was unreasonable in any way. After cross examination of one of the complainants the prosecutor conceded the child was wholly unreliable and there was insufficient evidence to support two of that child's allegations. At the conclusion of a two day trial the Magistrate acquitted our client on all charges and we successfully obtained a costs award for legal fees incurred in defending the matter.
Malicious prosecution met by equal measure
Following a disagreement, the director of a disability support and accommodation service not only fired our client, who was a senior manager, but filed complaints with police alleging that our client had stolen a company vehicle and used the company credit card to pay for personal expenses. We reviewed the evidence, took instructions and advised our client to plead not guilty to the charges and defend the matter at trial. In preparation for trial, we obtained information demonstrating our client had paid a deposit towards the company vehicle and we subpoenaed documents which could contradict substantial portions of the director’s statement to police. Several days before the trial was to commence, it dawned on the prosecution that its case was doomed to fail and notified us all charges would be discontinued. However, in Court, the prosecution indicated it wanted to discontinue the charges and conduct further investigations with a view to potentially re-laying charges. We successfully opposed this application and the prosecution was forced to proceed, offering no evidence on the charges. Our client was acquitted of all charges, precluding the police from bringing new charges in the future, and awarded substantial costs to be paid by the prosecution.
Cocky cops pay costs
Our client was a 40-something father of six children whose escape zone was his garage, a cave filled to the brim with metal objects which he had sourced and found, including firearm and weapons parts. He used them to make artistic/industrial sculptures, jewellery and works. Some projects came to fruition, some were abandoned and some inspired new ideas. One day in October 2020, Police showed up with a Firearms Act search warrant and seized a number of items which formed the basis of charges of unlawful possession of unlicensed ammunition, controlled weapons and prohibited weapons. Our client assisted Police with their enquiries and admitted possession of all the items seized from the garage and explained that he did not intend to use them to hurt others, but rather, were in his possession for artistic purposes.
Our client represented himself until a fortnight out from trial, when he first contacted us to provide him with advice on the prospects of successfully defending the charges. We reviewed the disclosure, provided an opinion and developed a strategy in preparation for the looming trial date. On the morning of the trial, the prosecution failed to bring any of the seized items the subject of the charges to Court. We were prepared for this and were able to successfully demonstrate that the prosecution had no reasonable prospect of conviction on all the weapons charges. The prosecution discontinued four charges and our client pleaded guilty to one charge relating to ammunition, which the Magistrate was satisfied was used for jewellery pieces. Our client was fined a mere $100 and granted both a spent conviction order and the prosecution were ordered to pay costs for the charges that were dismissed. The result will allow our client to pursue his hopes of a career in the mining industry.
Not guilty of offending against sisters
Our client was charged with nineteen historical child sex offences allegedly committed against his two younger sisters when he was aged between 10-16. We advised our client, now in his 30s, who was charged in the Children’s Court, to proceed to a trial before a jury in the District Court. Ultimately, the prosecution elected to prosecute only eight of the original nineteen offences. After a challenging six-day trial in the Perth District Court, our client was found not guilty on all counts.
Client given hope and second chance
Our client was a male in his twenties. He has gone through a lot of trauma and mental health battles in his life. He came to us having used a duty lawyer at the first court appearance, who advised him to plead guilty to the charge of endanger life, health or safety of any person. Our client had no prior convictions. The charge related to an incident where, in a desperate attempt to end his life, our client ran onto the Mitchell Freeway. On the day of his offending, after first running onto the freeway and police being called, he was taken hospital. But he was so desperate to end his life he went back later that day. Again police were called and he was subsequently charged.
It was apparent to us that this was not someone who should be in the criminal justice system, but as our client had already pleaded guilty and was represented by a lawyer, there was no scope for us to enter into charge negotiations with the prosecution. The duty lawyer had advised our client this was the 'worst type' of endanger life, health or safety they had seen and said our client would be going to jail. Naturally our client was very anxious when coming to first see us. After taking the time to speak to our client about his background and what caused his offending, obtain medical reports and give him suggestions on how to address his offending before sentencing, we were able to achieve the best outcome possible. Our client received a Conditional Release Order and was granted a spent conviction order.
Our client was so crippled with guilt at the thought of others being hurt by his actions and at the thought he ruined his life with this charge that he was still battling with suicidal ideation up until the sentencing. We hope that achieving this outcome for him will allow him to move forward, focus on bettering his mental health and live a beautiful life.
Identity case discontinued before trial
Our client, a woman in her twenties, with no previous convictions, was involved with a physical altercation with another young woman outside a house party, as a result of which she was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. It was alleged that our client, and another unidentified female, king-hit the complainant and stomped on her head while on the ground, causing lasting injuries. We advised our client to plead not guilty as we considered the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence to prove our client was the person involved. As part of our preparation for trial, we obtained witness statements from numerous persons at the party who could provide alibi evidence. The first trial for the matter was adjourned due to a material mistake by the prosecution (not summonsing an important witness). Before the second trial date, the prosecution inquired whether our client would plead guilty to a much less serious common assault. We called their bluff and rejected this offer. The prosecution subsequently discontinued the AOBH charge and we successfully obtained costs for our client.
Flirtatious date leads to lapse in self control
Our client was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm following an altercation at an engagement party. After observing some flirtatious behaviour by his date, it was alleged our client punched the complainant once to the face whilst he was drinking from a martini glass. The impact of the punch was said to cause the martini glass to hit the complainant in the mouth resulting in a chipped tooth and superficial cuts to the hand.
We undertook meticulous investigative work reviewing the CCTV footage of the alleged incident and we were able to determine that the complainant was not drinking from the martini glass at the time of the assault. We also discovered that the complainant had recently been to the dentist and the injuries to the mouth were pre-existing.
After curating a submission to the Police addressing the deficiencies in their case, we were able to secure a downgraded charge of common assault. Our client entered a plea of guilty to this charge and was sentenced to a $1,200.00 fine and a spent conviction order. This was an excellent outcome for our client and his primary goal from the outset.
Police unable to prove alcohol reading at critical time
Shortly after returning home from an afternoon at the Macedonian Club, Police arrived at our client’s home to question him about a minor traffic accident allegedly involving his vehicle. Police performed a breath analysis of our client, whose main language was Macedonian, and questioned him without issuing a proper caution. Our client made certain admissions about the consumption of alcohol at the Club and he was subsequently charged with exceed 0.08g alcohol per 100ml of blood. The breath analysis was performed after our client had a meal accompanied by a number of drinks when he arrived home.
After careful consideration of the body-worn camera footage, we advised our client to proceed to trial on the basis that he was not properly cautioned when he made admissions and the breath analysis was not an accurate representation of what it would have been at the time of driving his vehicle.
The matter was listed for a trial and vacated twice before the Police were willing to accept our submission to amend the charge to exceed 0.05g alcohol per 100ml of blood. Ultimately, the charge was amended, and our client entered a plea of guilty to the charge.
Had the charge not been amended our client was facing a minimum fine of $500.00 and a mandatory licence disqualification of six months. As a result of our negotiated plea, our client received a small fine, no licence disqualification and was awarded costs of $3,500.00. This was an exceptional outcome for our client who at 64 years of age had never had a run-in with the law and simply wanted to keep his licence so he could assist with looking after his beloved grandchildren.
Prosecution a waste of time
Our client was charged with aggravated common assault following an incident involving a boarder at our client’s home. We considered the evidence and were of the view it could not withstand cross-examination and advised our client to defend the charge at trial. At the same time, we encouraged the prosecution to drop the charge, which they declined.
On the first day of trial and under cross examination the complainant gave such an inconsistent version of events that before cross examination had even concluded the Magistrate took the unusual step to pause proceedings to remark that he found the complainant to be so unreliable that he could not convict upon her evidence alone. Not even this observation could persuade the prosecution from offering no further evidence.
Nevertheless, after the close of the evidence and without needing to hear much of our closing argument, the Magistrate took little time in deciding the prosecution had not come close to proving the charge beyond reasonable doubt and acquitted our client with full legal costs awarded.
A psychotic spit
Our client, with no previous criminal history, experienced a psychotic episode with features of religious mania. Part of our client’s psychosis included compulsive spitting. Her family were concerned about her and called an ambulance. Whilst in the back of the ambulance, our client spat towards the open doors of the ambulance just as one of the ambulance officers was walking around to re-enter. The spit, unfortunately, landed on his face and resulted in our client being charges with assault on a public officer.
We commissioned a private psychiatric report which confirmed our client was not criminally responsible for her actions. The report formed the basis of our meticulously prepared public interest submission urging the prosecution to discontinue the charge, having regard not only to the poor prospects of conviction on account of our client’s mental condition at the time, but also the availability of accident as a defence. The prosecution accepted our assessment and dropped the charge.
Quick verdict for historic abuse case
Our client was a 75 year old grandfather facing allegations of a sexual kind brought by his granddaughter, now aged 14. The alleged abused was said to have taken place when she was aged between 7 and 9 on an almost weekly basis over the course of about a year.
At trial, we adduced evidence from the complainant’s mother, along with our client’s wife and son, demonstrating that there was no opportunity for the offences to have taken place and the complainant’s claim that she had ‘distanced’ herself from our client since the alleged offending was untrue. Part of this evidence included that, after the alleged period of abuse, the complainant willingly went on two overseas holidays with our client notwithstanding her purported discomfort in his company. Given the enormity of the inconsistencies and weaknesses in the prosecution’s own case, we were confident in advising our client not to give evidence.
The jury were not satisfied the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt, deliberating under two hours to deliver a unanimous verdict of not guilty.
Brothers in arms
During a visit to his mother’s house, our client got into an argument with his heavily intoxicated younger brother. The brother made threats to our client whilst armed with a smashed bottle and a pair of gardening secateurs. Our client just wanted to go home and in turn armed himself with a large kitchen knife to assist his departure. On the way to his car our client kicked his brother to get him away. The brother slashed at our client, injuring his arm. Our client stabbed his brother in the abdomen, causing the knife handle to break off. Unsure where the knife was and in fear of further violence, our client struck his brother in the head with a wooden pole. The brother fell unconscious to the ground, driving the knife deep into his body and causing life-threatening injuries.
Our client was originally charged with aggravated grievous bodily harm. We were able to successfully persuade the prosecution to downgrade the charge to aggravated unlawful wounding, on the basis that the life-threatening injuries were the unintended consequences of acting in self-defence. We presented a forceful plea during sentencing proceedings, successfully securing a suspended term of imprisonment for our client.
Tragic but not dangerous
In a case where there can never be any winners, our client was a 30 year old woman driving a vehicle with her daughter as a passenger, and who became involved in a traffic accident resulting in the tragic death of a motorcyclist. Shortly before midnight, our client approached an amber traffic light at an intersection and crossed over the stop line either just before or just as the light turned red. As her car travelled through the intersection, a motorcyclist ran a red light and smashed into the side of her car. The motorcyclist was seriously hurt and later died from his injuries.
Our client was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death. Our attempts to have the charge discontinued at an early stage were rejected by the prosecution and we advised our client to plead not guilty to the charge. After a three-day trial in the District Court, the jury took just over an hour to deliver a unanimous verdict of not guilty.
Financial stress leads to fraud
Our client, a gentlemen in his 20’s, found himself in financial difficulty in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He used all his savings to purchase a car, requiring repairs, and subsequently became unemployed. Unable to afford the repair bill and in financial distress, he made a poor judgment - submitting two false insurance claims with two different insurance companies and lodging a false police report in support of the claims.
Our client was charged with two counts of attempted fraud and one charge of creating a false belief. He was a family man with an unblemished record of outstanding and awarded service to the community. While our client did not, in fact, obtain the insured amount, his actions were of a serious nature and ordinarily attracted terms of immediate imprisonment. We were able to persuade a District Court judge to refrain from imposing a term of immediate imprisonment and instead suspend the term of imprisonment in respect of one count and place our client on an intensive supervision order in respect of the remaining counts.
Two day sex romp turns sour
Our client and the female complainant were introduced on a dating website and, on their first meeting, engaged in rough sexual intercourse six times at our client’s home. The next day, the complainant returned to our client’s home and they twice resumed their sexual interaction. Half-way through the third effort and whilst our client’s penis was inside the complainant’s vagina, our client noticed that the complainant appeared to be in pain. He asked if there was anything he could do to make it hurt less. She told him, using colourful language, to get off. He withdrew immediately but the complainant alleged he repeatedly asked her “are you sure?” before he withdrew his penis.
The following day, the complainant made formal allegations of rape to the police. Months later the complainant provided police a statement further alleging that during the second encounter, our client penetrated her vagina with his finger in spite of her protest.
Our client was charged with two counts of sexual penetration without consent. After reviewing the prosecution brief, we strongly advised our client to plead not guilty and after a three day trial, we were elated when the jury took less than an hour to deliver unanimous verdicts of not guilty on both charges.
No evidence on assault allegations
Our client was accused of assaulting his wife and daughter and was prevented by bail conditions from returning to the family home. We successfully applied to vary the protective bail conditions to enable him to move back home with his family. The two complainants were very reluctant to go to trial and had secured independent legal advice which lead to a written submission to the prosecution requesting the charges against our client to be withdrawn. The prosecution refused to do so. On the day of the trial, the two complainants did not attend court. The prosecution was forced to offer no evidence and our client was acquitted of the charges. The prosecution were ordered to pay costs.
Acquittal for workplace assault
Our client was charged with assaulting his work colleague in their place of work in view of multiple staff members. Our client followed our advice and declined to participate in an interview with police. The police conducted a very basic investigation and charged our client with assault occasioning bodily harm. As part of our defence preparation for trial we summonsed our client’s employer to produce all records relevant to the incident and identified numerous witnesses who the police did not bother to speak with. Some of the witnesses corroborated our client’s version of the lead up to the incident which supported a defence of self-defence.
Our client, who had no criminal record, was advised by police that he would receive a spent conviction order if he pleaded guilty. We strongly advised against pleading guilty, given the weakness of the prosecution case and the adverse consequences for our client if he was convicted. On the day of trial, the prosecutor reviewed the material we summonsed from our client’s employer and it was apparent that the complainant had not been completely forthcoming about why he was assaulted. After initially attempting to withdraw the charge the prosecutor was persuaded to offer no evidence which resulted in outcome our client wanted, namely an outright acquittal with no prospect of the charge being brought back. Our client also received a costs order which covered most of his legal fees.
Early advice leads to an abrupt end for police investigation
Our client contacted us after having scheduled a meeting with police for an interview about an allegation of a historical distribution of an intimate image. After meeting with our client, who maintained her innocence, we ascertained that the police had no admissible evidence to support the allegation and we advised her not to meet with police for an interview. Our client followed our advice and instructed us to cancel the meeting with police, which we did. We promptly spoke with the investigating police officer and succinctly outlined the difficulties they would have in prosecuting a historical allegation without admissions from our client. The investigating officer frankly conceded that we were right and did not proceed further with the investigation. Our client’s concerns were addressed and resolved within 24 hours of receiving advice from us.
Costs awarded on back of lies and self-inflicted injuries
Our client was charged with aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm against his former partner. Long after the breakup, our client, in a gesture of good will and decency, allowed his former partner to (‘the complainant’) stay at his house in a time of crisis as she had nowhere to go. After a short time, and due to her behaviour, our client asked the complainant to leave and called the police to assist in her eviction. In the course of the enraged complainant leaving the property, she kicked a side gate which bounced back, hitting her in the face and sustained some injuries. When police arrived, the complainant maliciously alleged that our client had assaulted her causing those injuries. We advised our client to plead not guilty to the charge. The first trial was adjourned on account of the complainant’s failure to attend Court to give evidence. On the day of the second trial, the prosecution discontinued the charge as it considered it could not prove that our client assaulted the complainant. Our client avoided a conviction and we obtained a considerable costs order paid by the prosecution.
Burglary charge dismissed, concurrent sentence and costs awarded
Our client was charged with aggravated home burglary, stealing and steal motor vehicle. A few days after the burglary, the police executed a search warrant at a property where our client was staying with a female friend. The police found the stolen vehicle and property taken from the relevant home. Our client initially denied knowledge of the presence of the stolen property and also denied driving the vehicle. He later admitted driving the vehicle once confronted with CCTV of him and the female friend in the vehicle around 48 hours after the burglary. Pre-trial, the prosecution applied to use evidence of our client’s prior (unrelated) convictions for burglary against him at the trial. We opposed this application on strong legal grounds and it was consequently withdrawn by the prosecution. On the day of the trial, the prosecution discontinued the aggravated burglary and stealing offences, and our client pleaded guilty only to the steal motor vehicle charge (on the basis, consist with CCTV evidence, that he used the vehicle without the consent of the owner but was not responsible for its theft during the burglary). Although a short term of imprisonment was imposed, it was ordered to be served concurrently with a term of imprisonment he was already serving for an unrelated matter, so he effectively did not receive any additional punishment. Our client was also granted a costs award for the two charges which were discontinued.
Drunken ex’s allegations found 'wholly unreliable'
Our client was referred to us by his family lawyer to contest an allegation that he has assaulted and injured his wife prior to Police attending their home and finding her unconscious and bleeding. After months of meticulous and thorough preparation for trial, we challenged the credibility and reliability of the wife’s evidence in cross-examination so effectively that the Magistrate agreed with our closing submissions that her account was so inconsistent and embellished as to be 'wholly unreliable'.
The charged was dismissed and our client was awarded the majority of his legal costs.
Client defeats petty breach charge in midst of Family Court dispute
Our client was a business owner in jeopardy of losing his security license and livelihood after being charged for the second time with breaching a conduct agreement order.
The breach was the sending of an email by our client to his ex-partner, which technically constituted a breach the conduct agreement order. However, there was also a Family Court order in place which permitted communications about a broader range of issues and it was our considered advice that the subject matter of the email fell within the scope of permissible contact. We were so confident that our client would be found not guilty at trial that we first endeavoured to prevail upon Police to drop the charge with particular emphasis on the prospects of conviction, to no avail. We proceeded to trial and, as anticipated, the Magistrate was persuaded by our evidence and legal argument that the email fell within the permitted scope of the Family Court order and as such was not a breach of the conduct agreement order. Our client's acquittal and costs award was a triumph not only in allowing the continued operation of his business, but also in preventing unsubstantiated allegations of breaches during contested custody proceedings in the Family Court.
Couple’s commitment prevails over Police charges
Our client was alleged to have assaulted his partner during a drunken argument. Due to their level of intoxication at the time of the alleged incident, neither our client nor his partner could give police an account of how the partners injuries were sustained. Despite the lack of clarity and his partner’s reluctance for the Police to become involved, her family and the Police continued with the investigation and prosecution.
When our client first came to us his priority was to see and communicate with his partner, as bail conditions urged by the Police and imposed by the Court were preventing the couple’s desire to be together. The thought of waiting 6-8 months to get to trial was very difficult for our client to accept, so much so that he was initially tempted to plead guilty.
We strongly advised and our client accepted our advice against pleading guilty, given the weakness of the prosecution case and the serious consequences of a conviction. On the day of trial, all the prosecution witnesses attended court except for his partner. The prosecution case could not proceed without her and consequently, the prosecution had no evidence to offer. Our client was acquitted of the charge and we successfully obtained the costs of legal expenses from the prosecution.
Well-respected business and family man vindicated by jury verdict
In 2018 our client, a 50 year old husband, father and successful businessman, was charged with two counts of indecently dealing with a child under 13 years of age. The child was the 12 year old daughter of his life-long best friend, with whom he shared a close father-daughter bond. He was increasingly becoming uncomfortable with the child’s attention and attachment towards him, which compelled him to have an awkward but necessary conversation with her to set boundaries. It was following that conversation that the allegations of indecent dealing arose.
Our client followed best practice and contacted us immediately following his arrest - and prior to police attempts to conduct an interview - to secure crucial legal advice. Our client laboured under the stress of the allegations and uncertainty of the criminal process for two years, which, in addition to the risk of immediate imprisonment, included the life changing prospect of being subject to stringent reporting obligations for the next 15 years.
Our meticulous preparation of the defence case significantly contributed to the outcome at a four day District Court trial, in which a jury unanimously found our client not guilty of the charges. Our client left the Court room innocent of the allegations which he had consistently denied and which had drastically eroded his quality of life for the previous two years.
Father ‘pardoned’ for assault charge after disciplining son
Our client had physically disciplined his 3-year-old son by smacking him on the legs approximately 20 times over a period of two hours. Four months later, his son’s mother reported the event to DCP as a retaliatory vindictive measure and our client was charged with aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm. After taking instructions and assessing the various ways we could proceed having primary regard to achieving the most desirable outcome for our client, we advised our client to plead guilty to the charge on the basis that the nature of the assault was unreasonable given the child’s age. At sentencing, the Magistrate accepted our submission that our client had gained significant insight into his actions by taking parenting classes and was unlikely to react to a situation of misbehaviour in a like manner again. Not only did the Magistrate impose a suspended fine, he granted our client’s application for a spent conviction order.
Client avoids jail for fake documents used to obtain loans
In 2019, our client’s home was raided by police officers in connection with a major fraud investigation into her husband’s affairs. During the search, police discovered a series of falsified payslips and bank statements in our client’s name and subsequent investigation revealed these documents were used to fraudulently obtain loans of $468,000 to purchase a property and $33,000 to purchase a vehicle. We considered the evidence against our client was overwhelming and advised her to enter pleas of guilty to the charges. We spent considerable time preparing for sentencing with the goal of keeping our client, who was a mother of two, out of jail. During the hearing, a critical argument we advanced was that the offences were committed by our client in the context of intense emotional and psychological pressure from her husband. Despite the State urging a term of immediate imprisonment, we were able to persuade the sentencing judge to impose a conditionally suspended imprisonment order, thereby achieving our client’s ultimate objective.
Client defeats false sex abuse allegations by 6 year old
Our client's 6 year old granddaughter had made sexual misconduct allegations against him spanning a two-week period on two separate occasions. There was evidence that the granddaughter stated she was told to tell lies about our client by her father's partner. At trial the granddaughter claimed that her allegations were true and that her mother had put her under pressure to say she lied. The defence case at trial was that against a backdrop of inconsistency, animosity and ulterior agenda, the jury must entertain reasonable doubt about the truthfulness of the granddaughter's allegations. Following three days of evidence the jury retired and returned with verdicts of not guilty on all charges.
Weak ‘ID’ case identified for burglary
Months after a burglary offence where a 4WD vehicle along with over $40,000 of property was stolen, police officers commenced an operation whose target was our client. Police received a tip-off to attend a rural property, where it was alleged that our client sped off on a stolen dirt bike and led Police on a 30-minute high-speed chase to successfully evade capture. Two police officers swore statements in which they identified the rider of the dirt bike as our client. After carefully reviewing the evidence, and despite DNA evidence obtained before the pursuit showing our client was in possession of the 4WD vehicle and some of the stolen property from the burglary, we advised our client to plead not guilty to both the burglary and police pursuit charges as we considered the prosecution would not be able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that our client was the offender in relation to those charges. Before the charges proceeded to trial, the prosecution conceded they would not be able to prove our client was guilty of the burglary or the police pursuit and applied to discontinue those charges. We successfully obtained a costs award.
Case thrown out before jury decides verdict
We defended our client, a young father with no convictions, in a District Court jury trial where he was accused of possessing cannabis with intent to sell or supply it to another. The police executed a search warrant whilst he was at a house undertaking cleaning duties and alleged he was in possession of 9.5kg of cannabis in one of the rooms in the house. Our extensive pre-trial preparation and effective cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses at trial enabled us to make a submission at the close of the prosecution case that our client had no case to answer. Despite strong opposition by the State, the trial Judge agreed that there was no evidence from which the jury could infer that our client was in possession of the cannabis in the house he was cleaning. Accordingly, the trial Judge withdrew the charge from the jury’s consideration and entered a judgement of acquittal before the jury could even consider their verdict. Whilst our client was unable to recoup his legal costs in defending an indictable charge in the District Court, he walked out of the Court a free man.
Reluctant witness has case dropped
Our client was charged with a serious instance of aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm following a violent altercation with a family friend. Despite a seemingly strong prosecution case, we advised our client to enter a plea of not guilty on the basis he was acting in self-defence. Before the matter proceeded to trial, the prosecution applied to discontinue the charge as one of their witnesses was no longer cooperative. The charge was discontinued and we successfully obtained an order for costs.
Job secure and firearms returned
At 31 our client, a FIFO diesel mechanic and avid hunter, was facing his first interaction with the criminal justice system after being charged with failing to provide adequate storage for his firearms and ammunition. It was absolutely critical for his existing and future employment prospects that we obtain spent convictions for those charges. It was also desirable, on a personal level, that we resist the prosecution application to forfeit our clients firearms and ammunition. At sentencing and despite strong resistance from both the prosecution and the Magistrate, our thorough preparation and advocacy enabled us to successfully persuade the magistrate to not only to impose minimal fines and declare the convictions spent, but to order the return of the seized firearms and ammunition to our client.
Young father innocent of family violence allegations
Our client, a young dad with no prior convictions, came to us with a number of charges including breaching bail, two charges of breaching a Family Violence Restraining Order and aggravated assault occasioning bodily harm. Our client was initially remanded in custody for breaching bail because he had not attended court for his trial. We successfully applied to have him released on bail. Following this, we successfully negotiated with the prosecution to have his breach of bail and breaches of FVRO discontinued. We proceeded to trial on the serious assault charge where our client was acquitted, awarded costs from the prosecution and walked away with no convictions from what commenced as an overwhelming legal situation.
Client defeats surprise convictions
Our client, a young 20 year old teaching student with no prior involvement in the criminal justice system, came to us after having a conviction recorded in her absence by the Perth Magistrates Court for a charge of possessing a prohibited weapon. She had not been given notice of her court date, missed the hearing and the court sentenced her in her absence. While she was sentenced to a fine and spent conviction order, which is otherwise a good outcome, our client was studying to be primary school teacher. To be employed as a teacher she needs to be registered with the Teachers Registration Board and apply for a working with children card. The Teachers Registration Board and WA Government have access to an applicant’s spent convictions and can discriminate against an applicant even for a spent conviction. It was important that she has no convictions recorded against her. We successfully applied to the Court to have our client’s conviction set aside. Following this, we entered into negotiations with the prosecution to have our client’s charge discontinued, having regard to a number of public interest factors. The prosecution accepted our submission and the charge was formally discontinued. Our client can now confidently finish her studies knowing her career will not be hindered by any conviction.
Client’s convictions for Burglary, Assault, Damage declared spent
Our client was suffering from psychosis when he broke into the house belonging to the father of his ex-partner and become involved in a joust with the father whilst attempting to leave with a laptop. Our client later returned to the house and threw a number of large rocks, smashing several windows. Whilst the prosecution contended that imprisonment was necessary, the sentencing Judge was persuaded by our thorough plea in mitigation to impose a community based order. Further, the Judge accepted that our client was labouring under psychosis during the unusual episode giving rise to the offences and agreed with our submission that he was unlikely to repeat the conduct in the future. Our client was relieved of the adverse consequences of the convictions which were all declared spent.
Client puts faith in advice and secures suspended imprisonment for serious Assault charge
Our client came to us after a serious assault which was captured on CCTV and left the victim with significant injuries, resolute however, that he wished to defend the matter in the honest belief he acted in self-defence. Having already pleaded not guilty without legal advice, we reviewed the evidence and our client accepted our advice that he ought to plead guilty to the charge as his actions were unable to give rise to a defence in law. In the months leading up to sentencing, we worked closely with our client to provide as much mitigation as possible for a sentencing Court to be persuaded to suspend the otherwise actual term of imprisonment our client was facing - our strategy was successful and our client was able to resume life in the community with his young family.
Burglary and Assault charges defeated
Our client was a professional business woman who found herself in a toxic relationship which lead to allegations that she entered the home of her former partner and assaulted him. We approached the case by firstly identifying the weaknesses in the evidence on the charge of burglary and making a submission to the prosecution, which was accepted, to discontinue it. Secondly, we identified a strong defence of provocation on the assault charge and advised our client to proceed to trial. On the day of trial, the prosecution failed to procure the attendance of any witnesses and we successfully opposed their application to adjourn the trial. The charge was dismissed and our client awarded costs.
Charges dropped for driving tragedy
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in 2019, our client was driving home from the gym. He slowed down as a pedestrian crossed the street, when without warning, the pedestrian’s brother stepped out in front of our client’s vehicle. There was nothing our client could do to avoid the collision, and unfortunately the brother died from his injuries. Our client was charged with dangerous driving occasioning death. We filed a submission with the ODPP (WA) arguing that our client could not in law be found guilty as there was nothing about our client’s driving behaviour which was dangerous or even careless, and that the deceased – who had travelled from Europe to visit family in WA – failed to look in the direction of oncoming traffic before crossing the street. The prosecution accepted our submission and the charge was discontinued.
Suspended imprisonment for stale drug charge
In 2015 our client had been charged with possession with intent to sell or supply a quantity of methylamphetamine located in his car after testing positive to the substance during a random roadside drug test. Our client was not dealt with by the Court for the charges and was eventually arrested on the outstanding warrant in 2019, when we took control of the matter. At sentencing in the District Court, we were able to demonstrate that it would be counter-productive and contrary to the interests of the community to imprison our client, in circumstances where our client was rehabilitated, drug-free, employed and not the same person he was when arrested in 2015. Our client was placed on a suspended imprisonment order and free to continue his life in the community.
Rare sentence imposed for child pornography
Our client was a 75-year-old man charged with being in possession of child exploitation material and other obscene articles. After reviewing the disclosure material and instructions given by our client, we advised him to plead guilty to the charges. At sentencing in the District Court, we argued that given our client’s flawless antecedents, previous good character and the impact of any term of imprisonment on his elderly wife, he was not a vehicle for general or specific deterrence and did not mandate the ordinary standard of an immediate sentence of imprisonment. The sentencing judge agreed with our strong submissions and imposed a conditionally suspended term of imprisonment, an exceptionally rare outcome for offending of this type.
Conviction spent after nightclub brawl
Our client was a 24 year old man with a history of alcohol fuelled convictions for which he was given the benefit of a spent conviction. He came to us for assistance with a serious assault charge arising out of an incident in a Northbridge nightclub. Our client was concerned that a further conviction would impede his employment options. After reviewing the evidence, we advised our client to plead guilty to the charge for which he was ordered to pay a reasonable fine of $2000. Despite our client having previously received a spent conviction order we were able to persuade the magistrate to grant our client a second spent conviction order in relation to this matter, enabling our client to pursue his career on a mine site.
Unlawful wounding charge dropped and costs awarded
During an altercation inside a Mandurah night spot, our client was alleged to have thrown a glass at the victim’s face, causing wounds and bleeding to the face. The evidence disclosed by the prosecution did not establish a strong case against our client and we promptly engaged in negotiations with the prosecution to have the charge discontinued. The prosecution was not persuaded to discontinue the charge. We maintained our advice to the client that the case against him was weak and he pleaded not guilty to the charge. Four weeks before the trial date we were contacted by the prosecution. The prosecutor had revised our submission and agreed to discontinue the charge against our client. The charge was formally discontinued and we successfully sought costs against the prosecution for the legal fees our client incurred as a result of being charged.
Corruption charges dismissed
Our client initially contacted us after he pleaded guilty to corruption charges on his own representation and was due to be sentenced in the District Court. Upon undertaking a critical assessment of the evidence, we identified that it was unable to lawfully support a conviction of the offences. We immediately applied and were successful in setting aside our clients pleas of guilty, transferring the charges back to the Magistrates court where they were dismissed with costs awarded in our clients favour.
Client avoids jail term for serious assault charge
Our client was a young man in his 20s, employed as a civil engineer with no prior convictions and facing a term of immediate imprisonment following a serious assault and injuries requiring surgical intervention on a drunken night out. We advised our client, who was extremely remorseful for his behaviour, to plead guilty to the charge. We articulated persuasive sentencing submissions which resulted in the imposition of a fine payable to the victim of the assault and a suspended term of imprisonment.
Second spent conviction for music festival drug seizure
Police conducting searches outside a music festival found our client in possession of LSD tablets and other drugs, charging him with intent to sell or supply them. As our client had made full admission to Police when interviewed, we advised him that his best chances of obtaining a spent conviction order was to demonstrate an acceptance of responsibility and remorse by pleading guilty to the charges. Prior to sentencing, we were made aware that our client had a previous drug conviction which he disputed the facts of. We successfully applied to have that conviction set aside and re-dealt with, obtaining a spent conviction orders and fines for both the prior offence and the new charges.
Nightclub brawl results in fine and spent conviction
Our client was extremely intoxicated when she decided to intervene in the forceful ejection of her husband from a popular Perth night spot. After security guards tackled her to ground, she bit a Police officer on the leg in the course of a forceful arrest. We worked closely with out client with a view to identifying and explaining to the Court the trigger for our client on the night and the unlikelihood of its repetition. The Court accepted our submissions, imposing a fine and granting a spent conviction order.
Spent Conviction order for fake medical certificates
Our client, a nurse, was charged with forging medical certificates provided to her employer. We were able to sympathetically explain the circumstances in which the offences were committed and that a community based order with counselling and community service requirements would best serve the interests of our client and the community. Spent conviction order for dishonesty offences are ordinarily challenging to procure, however, we successfully persuaded the Magistrate to grant our client a spent conviction order in respect of each of her 10 convictions so as to not allow these convictions to detrimentally impact her nursing career.
Client changes lawyers, pleas and succeeds at trial
Our client sought our assistance after having received advice from his previous lawyers in relation to pleading guilty to a charge of trespass and not guilty to charges of possessing of a prohibited drug and common assault. We conducted an independent assessment of the evidence and advised our client that he had a viable defence on all charges. We prepared and represented our client on a successful application to change his original guilty plea to trespass and thereafter proceeded to trial on all three charges. Our client was found not guilty of trespass and assault and costs were awarded in his favour. Although our client was convicted of possessing the prohibited drug he received a nominal fine and was granted a spent conviction order.
Assault charges dropped
Our client's employer instructed her to assist a foreign student, who had been the subject of a distressing eviction from her lodgings by the host mother and her daughter. During the course of assisting the student pack her belongings, amid a background of mocking commentary and ridicule by the host mother and daughter, our client was alleged to have assaulted the pair, which she denied.
We entered into negotiations with the prosecution to have the assault charges against the host mother and daughter dismissed. The prosecution agreed with the submission in relation to the daughter but insisted in proceeding to trial in relation to the host mother. On the morning of the trial and prior to its commencement, we gave the prosecution the opportunity to re-consider its position in light of evidence that we had uncovered which suggested the host mother had significant and highly questionable credibility issues.
The assault charge against the host mother was dismissed by the prosecution and our client was awarded costs.
Jury finds client not guilty of dated sex assault allegations
Our client was recently alleged to have sexually assaulted a teenage woman some twenty years ago when he too was just 21 years old, when they were members of a religious congregation. Our client denied the allegations and after a four day trial, a jury took just one hour to deliver not guilty verdicts on all charges.
Client who took rap for ‘mates’ found not guilty
Our client was alleged to have committed a home burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and a string of fraud offences using credit cards stolen during the burglary and admitted as such when interviewed by police following her arrest. However, we proceeded to trial on the basis that whilst our client did drive the stolen vehicle and engage in the fraudulent use of the credit cards, our client mislead police in admitting she committed the home burglary in an effort to shift responsibility from other people. The jury accepted our client’s position in taking just over an hour to deliver a verdict of not guilty on the home burglary charge.
Client awarded costs after allegations by ex-girlfriend discontinued
Our client was charged with assaulting and causing bodily harm to his long-term girlfriend and potentially facing a term of imprisonment. We advised our client to defend the allegations at trial as his account of events aroused a defence of self-defence which had strong prospects of success. On the day of the trial the complainant did not wish for the matter to proceed and without her testimony, the prosecution had no evidence to offer and had no choice but to discontinue the serious assault charge. Not only was the charge dismissed, our client was awarded his costs from the prosecution.
Not guilty of causing mate's injury
Our client and his friend (complainant) were enjoying a regular pastime of four wheel driving on sand dunes north of Perth when the car rolled after driving in a wide circle went awry. The complainant had been riding on the outside of the 4WD driven by our client and was crushed when the vehicle rolled. Despite a protracted two-year legal dispute and immense stress on our client, in a three day District Court trial a jury took just an hour to absolve our client of criminal responsibility for the life threatening injuries sustained by the complainant in the tragic accident.
Jury acquits in altercation between neighbours
Our client was alleged to have caused grievous bodily harm to her neighbour (complainant) by pushing her to the ground and causing her spine to fracture. The alleged assault occurred against a complex and acrimonious backdrop and varying eye witness accounts of the incident, which we submitted to the jury was sufficient for them to entertain reasonable doubt as to the veracity and accuracy of the complainants evidence and the manner in which the injury was sustained. After a four day trial the jury took just two hours to deliver a unanimous not guilty verdict.
Assault on police officer charge downgraded
Our client was the victim of a domestic violence incident in his home when Police entered and asked for his personal details. Police subsequently alleged our client assaulted one of the attending police officers. We were confident that the charge could be resolved by skilful negotiation with Police to avoid a trial and unnecessary expense and stress to our client. Police were receptive to our client's version of events and explanation for his actions inside his home. The assault charge was downgraded to obstruction and the sentencing facts were amended consistent with our submission to Police. He received a fine and a spent conviction order.
Breach VRO charges dismissed with costs
Our client was charged with two offences of breaching a Family Violence Restraining Order against his ex-partner. On the day of the trial police failed to secure the attendance of a key prosecution witness and the prosecutor applied to adjourn the trial. We successfully opposed the application forcing the prosecution to offer no evidence and the charge was dismissed with costs.
Police agree to drop charge
Our client who is subject to sex offender reporting obligations was charged with failing to report his return travel from interstate. We prepared an extensive submission explaining and justifying the failure to report and outlining the detrimental consequences for our client should he be convicted for the offence. Prosecutors agreed with our submission that it was not in the public interest to continue with the charge and withdrew it, sparing our client significant distress and expense in defending the matter at trial.
Allegation of theft - 11 day trial
After police executed a search on our client’s home they found her in possession of a large number of brand clothing items, allegedly stolen from the clothing store at which she had previously worked as manager. The initial charge was stealing as a servant. It was then amended to possession of stolen or unlawfully obtained property. Following an 11-day trial in the Perth Magistrates Court our client was found not guilty and we obtained costs. All of the seized clothing was returned to her.
Domestic violence allegation dismissed
Our client was a Brisbane resident who was alleged to have assaulted his partner whilst on holiday in Perth. We were able to negotiate not only his non-attendance for every court date in Perth (and thereby avoiding unnecessary expense and interference with his employment) but the dismissal of the charge after the prosecution agreed with our detailed written submissions. A trial was avoided. The entire matter was dealt with by our firm without the need for the client to return to Perth.
Refusal to provide passcode - charge dismissed
Following a Police search of his vehicle, our client was charged with giving false personal details, driving without a licence and refusing to provide the pin or passcode to his phone. The passcode was required to assist Police in the investigation of a potential drug possession charge. Our client was concerned to protect his privacy and did not wish Police to access personal information on his phone. We negotiated with the Police to have that charge discontinued. Our client readily pleaded guilty to the remaining minor charges for which he was fined and granted a spent conviction order and ... he got his phone back.
Breach of VRO charge dismissed
Our client, who was the subject of a VRO, unwittingly entered the workplace of a person protected by the VRO and was charged with breaching the order. We did not believe our client ought to unnecessarily incur the expense and stress of defending the charge at trial. We negotiated successfully with the prosecution to dismiss the charge, on the basis that it was an inadvertent breach and not in the public interest to prosecute the matter in the circumstances.
Client walks free on murder and manslaughter charges
Our client was fishing with a friend on the Swan River in the early hours before Christmas Eve 2017. He heard a racial slur coming from a group of people and confronted them, making it clear he did not appreciate the intoxicated or aggressive disposition of one man. That man charged at him without warning. Our client reacted to the coming threat by placing his arms up to protect his face, unaware that he was still holding a screwdriver. The angle at which he held the screwdriver caused the charging man to make contact with the tip. Our client’s submission was that the death was a result of a tragic accident. Following a five day Supreme Court trial, the jury only took one hour to decide our client was not guilty. Clearly they had little difficulty accepting our client's testimony.
Heavy-handed charges against nanny dismissed
Our 18 year old client was facing trial on assault charges arising from an incident in which she disciplined a child under her care. One week before the trial was due to commence, the prosecution finally agreed with our submissions made six months earlier, that there was no reasonable prospect of securing a conviction. The assault charges were dismissed and our client was awarded costs.
Harsh penalty for 3rd DUI offence avoided
Only days before a court hearing involving a third driving under the influence of alcohol charge we were contacted by an anxious and stressed client who was concerned about the prospect of a prison sentence. She was also nervous about attending court to appear before a Magistrate. We reassured our client that we could deal with the matter on her behalf and without the need to attend court. We then persuaded the Magistrate to impose minimum penalties. Our client was obviously ecstatic given this was her third DUI offence.
Serious drug charge. Guilty plea set aside.
Following a falling out with his previous lawyer a new client approached our team for last minute assistance. The difficulty was our client had already pleaded guilty to a serious drug manufacturing charge and was facing sentence in the District Court. Upon review of the evidence, we determined our client could not be convicted of that offence and should never have been persuaded to plead guilty. Prosecutors accepted our submission to discontinue the manufacture charge and replace it with a simple drug possession offence. We represented our client for sentencing in the Magistrates Court and were able to limit the penalty to a fine and the bonus of a Spent Conviction Order.
Child pornography charge discontinued
Our client was charged with being in possession of child exploitation material after police examined his phone during the execution of a Misuse of Drugs Act search warrant. We prepared a public interest submission for the prosecution. Our argument was that a jury would entertain reasonable doubt the person in the images was in fact a child. The prosecution agreed with our submission and discontinued the charge.
Charges forced to be dropped, costs awarded
Police relied on CCTV footage to allege that our client was responsible for ‘keying’ a car at a suburban shopping centre. We were of the view that the footage would fail to implicate our client beyond reasonable doubt and advised our client to proceed to trial. The prosecution repeatedly delayed the trial as a result of an uncooperative complainant, however, we succeeded in persuading the Magistrate to refuse any further adjournments. The damage charge was dismissed, our client acquitted and costs award.
Criminal past no longer a bar
Since his convictions for serious drug offences in 2004 our client was living with the stigma and impediments attached to his criminal record, particularly his career goals and freedom to travel. We worked closely with out client, his friends, family and associates to prepare and present a thorough written submission to the District Court to declare his serious drug convictions spent. Our application was successful at the hearing and our client is now free to travel and progress his career without being discriminated against because of those convictions.
Not guilty of assault on ex-partner
A charge of Aggravated Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm was levelled against our client. He maintained the alleged ‘assault’ against his ex-partner was done in self-defence. We obtained medical records for the hospital admission and used them at trial to demonstrate his ex-partner was severely intoxicated at the time of the alleged offence. We submitted she was an unreliable witness. Our client was acquitted of the charge and awarded costs.
Assault on police officer acquittal
Our client was charged in the Children’s Court with a string of offences arising out of a vehicle stop for a random breath test. The prosecution alleged that when police attempted to open the driver’s door, the driver took off at speed – through a school zone – while a police officer’s hand was stuck in the door handle. We argued the prosecution could not prove beyond reasonable doubt our client was the driver. Our team established that at trial and our client was acquitted of all charges. Costs were awarded.
Child porn charges dropped
Our client was charged with State offences of possession of child exploitation material and one Federal offence of carriageway use to access child exploitation material. After making detailed public interest submissions to both the Commonwealth DPP and the WA DPP it was agreed that all charges would be discontinued.
Serious assault - nightclub bottling incident
Our client was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. The alleged offence occurred in the early hours of the morning at a popular Northbridge venue. The prosecution alleged our client picked up an empty bottle and struck the complainant to the head, causing a laceration. At trial we argued our client acted in self-defence in response to the complainant’s aggression, accidentally striking the complainant while not remembering there was a bottle in our client’s hand. The trial magistrate was not satisfied the prosecution had proved its case. Our client was acquitted and obtained costs.
Assault on police officer
A brawl erupted outside a popular music venue in the early hours of the morning. Our client was tackled to the ground by police officers and, in the course of the arrest he punched one of the police officers several times. The Police charged our client with Assaulting and Obstructing a public officer. At trial, our client was acquitted of the more serious charge of Assaulting a public officer and convicted of the Obstruction charge. He received a modest fine. We successfully applied for a spent conviction order and obtained costs from the prosecution.
Arson charge - Jury acquits juvenile
Our juvenile client was tried on one count of committing a home burglary and two counts of setting fire to the same home. On the second occasion the fire resulted in its complete destruction. For tactical reasons, we elected to have a trial before a Supreme Court judge and jury, rather than by the President of the Children’s Court. After a 5-day trial involving both of his co-offenders implicating him to varying degrees and evidence of our client's DNA on items stolen from the house, it took a unanimous jury just over two hours to return not guilty verdicts on all counts.
Assault occasioning bodily harm
Almost one year after an alleged assault Police charged our client with assault occasioning bodily harm. The prosecution alleged he had committed the offence in the early hours of the morning outside the Crown Casino. His two work mates were also charged. At trial, the prosecution produced CCTV footage and two eye-witnesses who placed our client at the scene and gave evidence claiming his involvement. Following a 3-day trial, our client and the two accused were acquitted and the prosecution was ordered to pay costs.
Child pornography charge
Our client, a man in his 20s, pleaded guilty to possession of child exploitation material found on his mobile phone. The prosecution argued for an immediate term of imprisonment. We persuaded the District Court not to accept the prosecution’s argument. Instead, our client was placed on a short community-based order and we achieved a spent conviction order.
Aggravated armed robbery and grievous bodily harm
Our client and two other Pilbara men were charged with entering a home and demanding payment of a debt. It was alleged thousands of dollars in cash was stolen from a man and his partner. The man was then allegedly assaulted. Weapons were involved. During a 7-day trial the jury heard from the victim and his girlfriend who both testified that our client, who was known to each of them, was one of the assailants involved in the assault and also a party to the robbery. During cross examination we presented CCTV footage from our client's home proving the female partner of the victim had attended our client's home and stayed overnight with him in the days following the assault. At the same time her partner, the victim, was undergoing emergency surgery in a Perth hospital. Further cross examination raised considerable doubt on the veracity of her testimony that our client was in any way involved in the vicious assault on her partner. It also raised questions about the ability of the victim to positively identify our client as being involved. The jury deliberated for less than 15 minutes before returning verdicts of not guilty on all charges in respect of our client and both co-accused.
Client acquitted of Firearms Act charge after evidence thrown out at trial
It was alleged our client was in possession of ammunition for which she did not have a licence. The prosecution case relied on a police search of her home after she was served with a 72-hour police order. The ammunition was located in our client’s locked gun cabinet. At trial we successfully argued the police had no power to enter or search our client’s home under the Police Orders or any legislation. The trial magistrate agreed and all evidence relating to the ammunition was thrown out. Our client was acquitted of the charge and costs were awarded.
Motor Vehicle theft and high-speed police pursuit
Our client was charged with stealing a motor vehicle and driving recklessly to escape a police pursuit. The registration plates on the stolen car were registered in our client’s name, and when police recovered the vehicle a few days after the pursuit, our client’s DNA and fingerprints were found inside the car. The two police officers involved in the pursuit of the stolen vehicle both claimed to positively identify our client as the driver of the vehicle. Despite what appeared to be an overwhelming prosecution case, we persuaded the trial magistrate the evidence did not prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that our client was the driver. Our client was acquitted on all charges and obtained a substantial costs order.
Failing to obey a data access order
Police charged a man in his mid-20s with failing to provide a PIN for a mobile phone found in the centre console of the car he was driving. We took the matter to trial and succeeded in having the charge not proved and the prosecution was ordered to pay costs.
Aggravated unlawful wounding
Our client was charged with stabbing his wife and his wife’s father during a heated family dispute in their shared home in the eastern suburbs. After repeated submissions were made to the prosecution to discontinue the charges the prosecution decided, at the eleventh hour, to withdraw the charges. We were also successful in obtaining a costs order against the prosecution.
Possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply
A high-speed pursuit Perth’s northern suburbs resulted in our client being charged. He was the sole occupant and therefore driver of the speeding van. After stopping the vehicle police pulled him from the van in a dramatic arrest. The strong smell of cannabis was detected. Upon searching the van, police found almost half a kilogram of cannabis. Our client was charged with reckless driving to escape police pursuit and possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply. We entered into negotiations with the police. Our client then pleaded guilty to reckless driving (not with the intention of escaping the police) and thereby avoided a mandatory jail sentence. We advised our client to plead not guilty to the possession of cannabis charge and we took the matter to trial on the basis that he did not know the cannabis was in the van. At trial our client was found not guilty of the possession of charge.
Aggravated sexual penetration acquittal by jury
Our client, an eastern states man working fly-in-fly-out in the Pilbara was charged with aggravated sexual penetration without consent following a night out with his mates. His mate was charged as a co-accused when the complainant alleged she did not want a threesome and alleged the act of penetration was without consent. Despite our client and the co-accused being honest about their involvement in what they believed to be a consensual sexual act and despite each of them separately participating in detailed interviews with police in circumstances where there was no opportunity for them to have made up their stories, they were both charged and forced to defend the allegation at trial. After a 3-day District Court trial in South Hedland, both our client and the co-accused were acquitted.
DPP agrees to downgrade drug dealing charge
Possession of methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply was the charge against our client. The quantity of drugs was almost three times the quantity that gives rise to such a presumption. Our client maintained the drug was for personal use only. After successful negotiations with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions the prosecution agreed to downgrade the charge to simple possession on our client's plea of guilty thereby avoiding a sentence of immediate imprisonment.
Sexual penetration without consent
Our northern suburbs client aged in his late 30s was charged with rape after having a brief sexual encounter with a casual female employee in the workplace. It was her last day of work. The prosecution alleged that our client used his position of authority to take advantage of her. After a 3-day District Court trial in Perth the jury unanimously acquitted our client.
Withdrawal of common assault charge
Our female client, in her mid-20s, was charged with unlawful common assault following an altercation with a male co-worker at a private function. When we first received instructions it was clear to us that it was not in the public interest to prosecute our client given the trivial nature of the assault. After making a written submission to the Police Prosecutors the charge was dismissed at a very early stage.
Aggravated unlawful wounding charge withdrawn
Our female client, in her mid-20s, charged with a serious offence of Aggravated Unlawful Wounding had her charge dismissed following our successful negotiations with the prosecution. The prosecution agreed to pay our costs.
Criminal damage charge dismissed with costs in Children's Court
Our 17-year-old client from the northern suburbs was found not guilty after a 2-day trial where the identity of the offender was in issue. The prosecution was ordered to pay costs.
Grievous bodily harm jury acquittal
The prosecution alleged our client and his father-in-law jointly assaulted our client’s father with a shovel and a baseball bat in March 2015. The complainant suffered serious and potentially life-threatening injuries. In our client's defence, we submitted that the complainant was a violent and vindictive man who had been menacing our client for years and had embellished his testimony with the intention of seeing our client go to jail. During the four-day District Court trial in Perth, the prosecution relied heavily upon DNA evidence to corroborate the complainant's testimony. Our client, who elected not to give evidence, maintained he was not present during the altercation. After deliberating for less than one hour the jury acquitted our client and his father-in-law of the charge on the indictment and further acquitted both men of the lesser alternative charges of unlawfully doing grievous bodily harm and unlawful assault occasioning bodily harm.
Reckless driving to escape police pursuit
Following a 2-day hearing in a northern suburbs Magistrates Court, a 28-year-old man avoided a mandatory 6-month prison sentence. It was alleged our client was the driver of a vehicle that was driven recklessly, failed to stop and ultimately crashed after being pursued by two police vehicles exceeding speeds of 160kph.The Magistrate dismissed a series of charges The prosecution was ordered to pay costs.
Grievous bodily harm acquittal by jury
Following a 3-day trial in the Perth District Court, the jury acquitted our 25-year-old client who had been charged with grievous bodily harm. It was alleged she had struck her husband in the face with an empty vodka bottle, causing serious injury. We argued self-defence. The question of reasonable doubt arose and the prosecution failed to disprove our argument. The jury rejected the husband's version of events.
Serious traffic charges dropped
Our female client, in her mid 20s, was charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a motor driver's license. Our team assessed the evidence and determined the prosecution would not be able to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the identity of the driver. After numerous court appearances and an adjourned trial in a suburban Magistrates Court the prosecution eventually agreed they could not prove the charges and offered no evidence. The charges were dismissed and our client was awarded costs.
Methylamphetamine possession charge
Our female client aged in her late-20s was charged with possession of methylamphetamine. The police had raided a house she was visiting and a clip seal bag of methylamphetamine was placed in her purse. She was charged and disputed knowing that the drugs were in her purse. We represented her at trial and had the charge dismissed. Costs were awarded against the prosecution.
Aggravated common assault charge dismissed
Our female client, in her mid 40s, was charged with assaulting her ex-partner on his business premises during a dispute about his infidelity. Our client was found not guilty after the Magistrate agreed with our submission. We argued the evidence did not disclose the intentional application of force such to constitute an assault. The charge was dismissed and the prosecution was ordered to pay costs.