Assault Charges & AVO Thrown Out of Court Despite Testimony of 'Independent' Witness
Our client is a 48 year old architect from Surry Hills, Sydney.
His home adjoins that of his neighbour, the complainant. The two have been engaged in an ongoing dispute regarding various issues, including noise.
Just after 3pm on a Tuesday, our client was moving his two wheelie bins when the the neighbour exited her front door and complained about the noise it made.
The disagreement quickly escalated into an argument, and our client allegedly threatened the complainant and pushed one of the bins hard into her thigh, causing pain.
Police were called and our client was charged with assault after statements were taken from the complainant and an independent observer, who supported the complainant's version of events.
Police also made an application for an Apprehended Violence Order ('AVO').
The case went all the way to a defended hearing in Downing Centre Local Court.
The independent witness gave testimony in court supporting the complainant's version of events.
However, through careful preparation and skilful cross-examination our Senior Lawyer Jimmy Singh was able to systematically discredit both the complainant and the independent witness on the stand.
The Presiding Magistrate ultimately found our client 'not guilty' of all charges and also dismissed the AVO that was brought against him.
It is yet another example that cases can certainly be won even if there is an 'independent witness' that backs-up the complainant's story.
Good Behaviour Bond for 12 Fraud Charges for Client Previously Convicted of Criminal Offences
Our client is a 27 year old mother from Killara who has previously been convicted of a range of criminal offences.
She was employed from November 2012 until January 2014 as an accountant a book keeper with an online company that compares the prices of online goods.
Between August and December 2013, she entered 12 invoices totalling over $64,000 into the company’s accounting system which purported to pay a legitimate company for their outstanding invoices.
However, she changed the bank account details so that the payments were made into a fake bank account that she was later shown to access.
She resigned after the anomalies were brought to her attention.
Upon her resignation, her employer located a range of items in her drawers and on her computer showing that she was clearly guilty of the offences; including manufactured documents and files stating the name of the legitimate company at the top and the fake account underneath.
The fraudulent invoices were also shown to have been entered through her log details in and submitted through her account.
The evidence against her was therefore overwhelming.
Our client saw another criminal law firm who, improperly in our view, set the matter down for a 3-day defended hearing and quoted her an exorbitant figure to represent her during that hearing.
We were instructed that she was not advised of any defence.
We were also instructed that no attempt had been made by her previous lawyers for her case to be withdrawn and that there had been no negotiations for the reduction of the charges, or the amendment of the ‘police facts’ – which was confirmed by the police officer in charge.
Our client came to see her just 3 weeks before the 3-day defended hearing.
When our Principal Mr U. Nedim and Senior Lawyer Jack Leitner carefully reviewed all of the evidence, it became abundantly clear that the prosecution case was overwhelming and that a defence was not available.
They immediately advised the client that she was wasting her money on such an expensive hearing and would be losing the benefit of a guilty plea.
Our client stated word to the effect of: ‘I knew that was the case’, ‘he always said take it to hearing but never told me why’, and ‘I don’t think he even read the documents’.
Our defence team immediately went into ‘damage control mode’.
We obtained full instructions which revealed psychological issues including depression, and which went some way towards explaining the conduct – without excusing it.
We quickly engaged a psychologist to prepare a detailed report.
We managed to convince police to merge the 12 charges into a single charge and, vitally, to delete nearly two-thirds of the ‘facts’ (ie the document handed-up to the magistrate) so that the offence appeared much less-serious.
We then advised the court that the case would be a ‘guilty plea’ and to ‘vacate’ (cancel) the three-day hearing.
This gave our client the benefit of a ‘discount on sentencing’; in other words, entitled her to a more lenient penalty.
On the day of sentencing, the Magistrate in Downing Centre Local Court praised our firm's efforts towards mitigating the case.
He gave our client a substantial sentencing discount for saving the court from having to hear a 3 day case whereby many witnesses would have to attend.
He took into consideration the positive psychological report and our detailed submissions, and released our client upon a 2 year ‘section 9 good behaviour bond’ – which is an outstanding result given the nature of the offence and her previous record.
Our client was extremely happy and relieved, and also thankful that our costs were far lower than what her previous lawyer wanted.
Bail for 63kg Commercial Drug Importation
Our client is a 26 year old Columbian national who, before his arrest, was in Australia on a student visa.
He is charged with importing 63 kilograms of methamphetamine from Mexico and Columbia into Australia, in contravention of section 307.1 of the Criminal Code Act.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
The shipment was detected through telephone intercepts and physical surveillance, and the drugs were intercepted by the AFP in Sydney and replaced with an innocuous substance that was found in the boot of a car in Burwood.
It is alleged that our client was involved in the importation and that the case against him is strong.
The Bail Act 2013 requires the court to consider a range of factors when deciding to release a person from custody.
Those factors include: the seriousness of the charge, the strength of the prosecution case, the person’s links to the community, the risk of not turning up to court, the risk of reoffending, the time they would spend in prison if not granted bail and the need to be free to prepare for their case.
Our client was in a difficult position due to the seriousness and alleged strength of the case, his minimal links to the community and the consequent risk of failing to attend court.
However, our defence team prepared detailed written submissions to the court focusing upon (1) prosecution delays in serving evidence, (2) the fact that he would be spending a significant amount of time behind bars awaiting trial, and (3) our need to have him free to assist in the preparation of his defence.
The prosecution strongly opposed bail, and prepared it’s own written submissions.
However, the Magistrate in Central Local Court ultimately acceded to our request and granted conditional bail to our client.
The next step will be for our experienced team to use our vast specialised experience in commercial drug cases to secure him the optimal outcome.
All Clients Charged with Drug Possession during Harbourlife Avoid Criminal Convictions
The Harbourlife Music Festival on 8th November 2014 led to a large number of arrests for drug possession.
On 5th December, our Senior Lawyers each represented 3 clients who pleaded guilty to drug possession in Downing Centre Local Court.
Our clients were from a range of economic, cultural and employment backgrounds – including students, retail worker, tradespersons and professionals in upper management.
ALL of our clients escaped criminal records after our lawyers persuaded the Magistrate to grant them ‘section 10s’ – which means guilty but no criminal conviction.
They are free to get on with their lives without the complications of a criminal record.
Defence Strategy Forces DPP to Drop Sexual Assault Trial
Our 37 year old client was charged with 'Sexual Intercourse Without Consent' and 'Assault with Act of Indecency' after it was alleged that, in early December 2013, he sexually assaulted a young lady on the corner of Riley and Ann Street, Surry Hills by forcing his finger inside her vagina and grabbing her breast as she was was walking from a nearby Hotel towards her home after a night out.
The incident was witnessed by a taxi driver who later gave a statement to the effect that our client resembled the assailant.
Our client was apprehended a few minutes after the alleged incident as he was driving from the area.
When pulled over, he 'appeared intoxicated' and was 'sweating profusely'.
Police asked what he was doing and he replied 'I was chased by a man' and 'what can you guys do for me?'.
He registered a high range p.c.a.. for which he was charged in addition to the sexual assault offences.
The case involved DNA evidence derived from swabs of the complainant's inner thigh and breast region.
The thigh swab contained DNA from two contributors - the major component was semen from consensual sexual intercourse between the complainant and her boyfriend, and the minor component was too small to produce a result.
Another criminal lawyer advised him that the DNA evidence should not be used at trial because it neither proves nor disproves the case against him, and is therefore not helpful to his case.
More than this, the lawyer's advice was that that the evidence might be detrimental to his case because, in light of the other evidence, the jury could infer that the minor component belonged to our client.
That lawyer came to an agreement with the DPP to leave all DNA evidence out of the trial.
The client then consulted our principal lawyer Mr U. Nedim for advice.
Mr Nedim quickly recognised that the 'agreement' between the existing lawyer and DPP was a critical error for the following reason:
Section 293 of the Criminal Procedure Act prohibits either party from using evidence of a complainant's prior sexual conduct, except in extremely limited circumstances.
Mr Nedim foresaw that this would present a significant obstacle for the prosecution because, in order for them to say that the major DNA component was from sex with the boyfriend, they would have adduce evidence of the complainant's past sexual conduct, which is impermissible under the law.
The legal argument came before the Presiding Judge in Downing Centre District Court and lasted more than a day.
After heated submissions by both sides, the Judge agreed with our argument and
(1) allowed the evidence that our client was excluded as the major contributor, and
(2) prohibited the prosecution from raising evidence that the major contributor was the boyfriend.
This left the prosecution in a position where the jury would hear that our client was positively excluded as the major DNA contributor after he allegedly assaulted the complainant whilst 'sweating profusely' just a few hours before she was tested.
The prosecution acknowledged that this was fatal to its case and withdrew both sexual assault charges.
This is yet another example of how superior legal knowledge and strategy can make all the difference in serious criminal cases.