Successful District Court Appeal Keeps Client Out of Prison


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A 53 year old man from Canley Vale called our firm after he was convicted and sentenced to 1 year and 3 months prison in Liverpool Local Court when represented by another criminal law firm.

He had pleaded ‘not guilty’ to ‘armed with intent to commit an indictable offence’, ‘resisting arrest’ and ‘common assault’.

He had prior convictions for assault and intimidation.

The present charges arose when he allegedly ran at his neighbour with a large meat cleaver and swung it towards the man’s head up to eight times, missing him by just centimetres, then pursuing him for a further 15 metres before the man got away.

Police were called and struggled to arrest and detain him.

His local court hearing lasted nearly a full day and he was found guilty.

He called our firm approximately one week after he lodged an appeal against his conviction.

In accordance with our practice, we obtained all ‘transcripts’ of the Local Court case – which contain everything said during the Local Court hearing.

Transcripts are very important because appeals to the District Court against conviction (ie against a ‘not guilty’ verdict) are almost exclusively based upon what is contained in the Local Court transcripts.

Our Defence Team reviewed the ‘police brief of evidence’ (which are the witness statements etc gathered by police earlier-on) and the transcripts, and quickly came to the view that his hearing was prepared and conducted poorly, and that his prospects of defeating the conviction were very slim.

It also became abundantly clear that, due to the witness statements against him, his lawyers should have negotiated less-serious charges and advised him to plead guilty, rather than taking his case all the way to an expensive defended hearing.

We provided our client with detailed and open advice about his prospects on appeal.

That advice was essentially that we should focus on keeping him out of prison by pushing for a more lenient penalty (which is called a ‘severity appeal’) rather than trying to get the verdict of ‘not guilty’ overturned altogether (called a ‘conviction appeal’).

Our client accepted that advice and agreed to see a counsellor for ‘anger management’.

We met with him and his family several times in the lead-up to his court date.

We gathered a range of favourable materials including a counselling report, employment records and various references.

We argued his case in Parramatta District Court where we convinced the Judge to overturn the sentence of imprisonment, and to give him a 15 month ‘suspended sentence’ instead.

This means that he stays out of prison and can get on with his life.

Our client and his family were very pleased and relieved about the outcome.