Updated: Oct 25
In this case study, our client was charged with 3 counts of Persistent Breach of Family Violence Intervention Order, and had a second brief alleging a single charge of Drive whilst disqualified. Both cases proceeded as a plea of guilty. Here, we provide an overview as to the circumstances of what happened at Court including the circumstances of the offending and the outcome.
Date & location of offending
September 2020 - November 2020 (Intervention Order breaches) & April 2021 (Drive whilst disqualified).
Dandenong Magistrates' Court, October 2021.
Our client had been in a relationship with his former partner (the complainant) for 6 years. A daughter (3 years old) was born from that relationship. Conflict within the relationship led his former partner to apply for, and obtain a Famly Violence Intervention Order.
That intervention order contained the standard conditions including a condition that our client was not to contact his former partner unless it was in connection to parenting arrangements (as was provided for in the exceptions to the Intervention Order). In a situation which is all too common, the communication between our client and the complainant deteriorated, and over a period of 3 months our client sent many emails in which the subject matter concerned organising contact with his daughter, but in which he frequently strayed off-topic and expressed his frustration at the lack of progress in having certainty as to when he could see his daughter.
He was later charged with 36 occasions of breaching the Family Violence Intervention Order, and 3 offences of Persistent Breach of Intervention Order which were rolled-up charges and representative of the entire period of offending.
In a separate incident, our client was intercepted by police in April 2021, whilst he was on a suspended license. The suspension came about through failure to complete a drug driving education program. He was later charged with Drive whilst suspended.
After a case conference was conducted with the prosecution for both briefs, the matter proceeded as a consolidated plea at Dandenong Magistrates's Court.
At the time of his court appearance, our client had a very limited criminal history and no priors for family violence. He also had a very limited traffic history, with only the drug-driving traffic infringement notice that had caused his suspension.
How case resolved
The 3 persistent breaches of family violence intervention order offences proceeded, and 33 changes of breach family violence offence orders (each breach for an email sent) were withdrawn. A plea of guilty was also entered for the Drive whilst license suspended offence.
Submissions were made to the presiding Magistrate about the circumstances of offending, and in particular how the gravity of offending ought to be assessed. It was evident that despite the frequency of the emails sent, the tone was not violent or abusive, and so despite the repetition of communication that veered off topic could not objectively be characterized as serious examples of persistently breaching an intervention order.
Moreover, our client had expressed remorse for this offending and had a very limited criminal history with no prior offences for family violence. It was also submitted to the Court that he had taken steps to instruct a family law practitioner to ensure that his communication with his former partner about parenting arrangements could occur constructively and lawfully.
The Court also noted that the circumstances of the Drive whilst license suspended offence were not serious (not speeding, not drug or alcohol affected), and again observed he had a very limited traffic history, with no previous offences of Drive whilst license suspended.
The Court convicted and fined our client $1500 for the 3 offences of persistent breach of family violence intervention order, and also imposed a fine for the offence of drive whilst license suspended. The Court did not order further suspension of our client's driver's license.
Call us if you must attend court for Persistent Breach of Family Violence IVO or Drive whilst suspended/disqualified
If you have to attend Court for either of these offences call our office on 03 9668 7600 or email us to receive expert legal advice and court representation from Shaun Pascoe, an accredited criminal law specialist.