Property and Family Violence Offences - Case Study
Updated: Sep 15
Table of Contents
(1) Theft; (2) Obtain Property by Deception x2; and (3) Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order x2.
Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court – September 2023.
Summary of Facts
Our client and her housemate attended their local shopping centre to purchase groceries when our client came across an unattended bank card and retained possession of the said item.
Our client then allegedly proceeded to purchase alcohol with the victim’s bank card through two (2) separate transactions. The incident was captured on CCTV footage depicting the theft of the bank card itself and the subsequent purchase of alcohol.
In a separate incident, it was alleged that our client breached a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) where she was listed as the Respondent and her ex-husband listed as the Affected Family Member (AFM).
The Order prohibits our client from contacting the AFM except via text or email regarding their children. Specifically, it was alleged that our client made multiple calls to the AFM and sent text messages not related to discussions about their children.
At the time of the alleged offending, our client was subject to a Community Correction Order (CCO).
What Happened at Court?
On advice from our office, our client instructed she would plead guilty to the offences. Community Corrections had also listed a Breach relating to her non-compliance on a previous CCO.
In submissions in mitigation, our office raised various issues our client was experiencing during the alleged offending period, including the deterioration of her previous long-term relationship, leading to separation.
The Court’s attention was also drawn to our client’s mental health difficulties and substance addiction.
Because our client had a limited criminal history, it was submitted that the most appropriate sentencing disposition was a CCO. The utility of this Order was that it would facilitate her engagement in treatment that addressed the underlying causes of her behavior.
On the basis of our submissions, and the material presented on our client’s behalf the Magistrate was persuaded to Order a further CCO notwithstanding that her previous attempt had not been successful.
The presiding Magistrate ordered our client to complete a 12-month CCO with the following conditions: To perform 150 hours of unpaid community work;
Be supervised by the Secretary;
Undergo the following treatment and rehabilitation:
Assessment and treatment (including testing) for drug abuse or dependency as directed;
Mental health assessment and treatment as directed;
Offending behavior program(s) as directed; and
Any other treatment and rehabilitation as directed.
Noting that 50 hours for treatment and rehabilitation will be treated as hours of unpaid community work for the CCO.