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  • Writer's pictureShaun Pascoe

Negotiation with prosecution results in a diversion outcome for family violence offences

In this case study we take a look at a recent outcome achieved for a client at Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court.

Facts

The police were called to attend an incident involving our client and his former partner. He was formally questioned by police and whilst strongly denying the unlawful assault charge made full admissions to the property offences and expressed his remorse for his actions.


In the context of disputing the unlawful assault allegation, our client explained that the offence could not have occurred in the manner alleged by his former partner.


After issuing a family safety notice, and later, an intervention order, our client was charged with Unlawful assault and Criminal damage (3 separate offences). The unlawful assault offence was particularised as our client placing his partner in a headlock. The criminal damage charges referred to 3 separate acts of damaging a wall, and two jewellery items belonging to his partner.


Our client was 35 years old at the time of the offences and had no prior criminal history.


Summary Case Conference Negotiations

A summary case conference was scheduled with the prosecutions. We confirmed our client's instructions to contest the unlawful assault charge but that he would otherwise accept responsibility for the property offences (3 x criminal damage). We further submitted that due to the relatively low property value that it was appropriate to roll up the 3 separate acts of property damage into a single charge of Wilful damage.


As a result of these summary case conference discussions, the prosecution agreed to withdraw the unlawful assault charge and indicated that the criminal damage charge would remain but would be rolled-up into a single offence encompassing the 3 separate acts of damage that had all occurred on the same day and in quick succession.


A Referral for Diversion is Suggested to the Prosecution

At our suggestion, our client attended several sessions of counselling for anger management counselling. After our client had completed most of the sessions he had booked for anger management our office made a further submission to the prosecution for a diversion recommendation. Factors brought to the attention of the prosecution included:


  • lack of previous criminal history;

  • our client's cooperation with police and his remorse;

  • that the most serious allegation had been withdrawn and only a single offence was proceeding (and that the property value was relatively low);

  • that our client had engaged in counselling to gain better insight into his offending and to learn techniques to better manage his emotions so as to prevent a recurrence of violence.

  • that after the incident he had apologised to his former partner for his behavour.

Our application was accepted and his case recommended by the prosecution for diversion.


What happened at Court?

Further submissions were made before the presiding Magistrate and our application for diversion was granted with the sole condition to be of good behaviour for 12 months.



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