Recent Cases

Not Guilty of Two Counts of Sexual Assault and Two of Indecent Assault


Our client is a 24 year old Laotian citizen from Homebush.

He was studying Law at the University of New South Wales.

A friend invited him to a housewarming dinner at an apartment.

The friend’s roommate and girlfriend were present at the dinner.

Two bottles of champagne were consumed by the four during the dinner, and a bottle of red wine was consumed as they played drinking games thereafter.

More alcohol was then purchased and the four kept drinking.

The host’s girlfriend later left the lounge room and made her way to the bedroom.

The host eventually joined his girlfriend, who was asleep on the bed.

The host later awoke to find his girlfriend sleeping on the floor wearing nothing but a towel.

The girlfriend then alleged that our client had entered the room, dragged her from the bed to the floor, sexually assaulted her and left while the boyfriend was asleep nearby.

Our client was in fact sleeping on the couch at the time.

He was confronted by the host and vehemently denied the allegations before leaving the premises.

Police were called and arrested our client a number of days later, then charged our client with two counts of sexual intercourse without consent (sexual assault) and two of assault with act of indecency.

Police had located a doona semen near where the complainant alleged the sexual assault occurred, and semen was found on the complainant’s perianal region.

Our client was refused police bail and his family sought our firm’s assistance.

We immediately made an application for bail in Burwood Local Court supported by lengthy submissions, which was granted.

The Crown relied on a range of material including an alleged DNA match between our client and the semen on the doona and the complainant’s perianal region, the statements of the complainant and host, relevant photos of the locations in the apartment and expert reports.

Our client was adamant that he did not commit the offences.

Our defence team meticulously reviewed the evidence. We engaged a forensic biologist to explain the presence of the DNA and a toxicology expert to comment on the effect of the complainant’s extreme level of intoxication.

The DPP was nevertheless intent on pursuing the case and it ultimately proceeded to a jury trial in Downing Centre District Court.

The extensive cross-examination of the complainant and her boyfriend revealed a range of significant inconsistencies, including discrepancies between their original statements and their evidence at trial.

It also raised scenarios regarding the presence of the DNA.

After some deliberation, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. The judge directed the jury that it could reach a ‘majority verdict’ of 11:1 but the jury was still unable to agree one way or the other. The judge therefore declared a ‘hung jury’ and the jury was discharged.

The matter proceeded to a re-trial in the same court.

In preparation for the re-trial of our client, we carefully reviewed the transcripts from the first trial and pinpointed further weaknesses in the Crown case.

We obtained further expert reports that were able to provide extra evidence about the possibility of DNA inadvertently been transferred through touching the same objects.

Our team was thereby able to raise further doubt regarding the accuracy of the DNA evidence and the complainant’s version of events.

The jury then came to a unanimous verdict of not guilty of all charges.

Client Granted Bail for Commercial Drug Supply, While All Co-accused Refused


Our client is a 24-year old overseas student.

Police alleged that he and 7 others were involved in Supplying a Commercial Quantity of a Prohibited Drug and Participating in a Joint Criminal Enterprise.

The suspects were alleged to have communicated through coded messages on their mobile telephones.

All were charged and brought before Manly Local Court.

For the purposes of bail, the offences are ‘show cause’ offences, which means the defence bears the onus of establishing the defendant does not pose an ‘unacceptable risk’ to the community, and that imprisonment would therefore be unjustified.

The prosecution strenuously opposed bail for all 7 defendants on the basis of the alleged strength of the prosecution case and likelihood of a full-time custodial sentence in the event of a conviction.

Each of the defendants had similar evidence against them and were alleged to be at similar levels in the hierarchy of the enterprise.

However, our client (and two others) were at a significant disadvantage because they were from overseas and had limited links to the local community – which makes it more difficult to achieve bail.

Our defence team got to work and quickly prepared material addressing a number of the bail concerns, including the risk of flight. We took detailed instructions with a view to disputing the prosecution’s submissions regarding the strength of the prosecution case.

By the time we were ready to run our client’s bail application, all 7 co-accused had been refused bail.

We presented material and made detailed verbal submissions regarding the law.

The submissions included reference to the pivotal NSW Supreme Court cases of R v Melmeth [2015] and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal case of DPP v Mawad [2015], which made a number of findings in respect of the meaning of ‘show cause’, including the applicable test.

Among other things, the cases establish that ‘exceptional circumstances’ do not necessarily need to be shown to overcome the ‘show cause’ hurdle – which is a common but incorrect assumption amongst practitioners. Rather, a combination of factors including proposed bail conditions can meet the test, and alleviate any bail concerns.

The presiding magistrate was convinced and saw fit to grant bail on strict conditions, including daily reporting, surrender or passport and non-association with co-accused and witnesses in the case.

The outcome demonstrates that with the right knowledge, meticulous preparation and persuasive presentation, bail can be achieved in ‘show cause’ cases regardless of the seriousness of the allegations and the findings against co-accused.

The merits of each case must be assessed independently, and it is important to engage specialist criminal defence lawyers who are knowledgeable, thorough and persuasive.

All Charges including 2 Assault Charges, 3 Assault Police Charges and Drug Possession Dismissed


Our client is a 21 year old man living in north western Sydney.

He attended a night club in the Sydney CBD with friends on a Friday night and consumed both alcohol and cocaine.

Security asked him to leave the club due to his level of intoxication and he allegedly refused and pushed a security guard.

He allegedly continued a tirade of abuse outside the club when nearby police attended and intervened.

Our client allegedly began lashing out verbally and physically, and allegedly spat at police and security guards on multiple occasions.

He was arrested and a small amount of cocaine was found on him.

He was taken to the police station and charged with two counts of assault (against the security guards), three counts of assaulting police for allegedly striking and spitting at them, resisting arrest, possessing a prohibited drug, remaining at a licensed premises when excluded.

Our client was said to be uncontrollable and attempted to self-harm while in custody.

He was eventually released and saw us for advice.

Due to his actions, we referred him for a psychiatric assessment which found he was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. We obtained a report setting out his background, diagnosis and a treatment plan to assess his underlying issues.

We listed his case for an application under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 for his charges to be dismissed on the basis that he has a mental condition and the matter is best dealt with through treatment by a mental health professional than under the general law.

The prosecution opposed the application essentially on the basis that the charges were too serious and numerous and that the diagnosed conditions could not be seen as an excuse for such conduct.

However, we made extensive submissions regarding the objectives of the legislation, the relevant case-law and how it is appropriate for the court to deal with our client by way of a treatment plan rather than convicting and sentencing him under the general law.

After answering a number of questions posed by the magistrate, he was ultimately convinced that it was indeed appropriate to deal with our client under section 32.

He therefore granted the order, which means our client does not have a criminal conviction or even a finding of guilt against him, but remains conviction-free provided he regularly sees his psychologist for 6 months for cognitive behavioural therapy, takes prescribed medication and sees his psychiatrist after 3 months.

This means there is a plan in place for our client to get the treatment he needs to avoid a reoccurrence of the conduct and to move forward with his life.

7 Charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault Withdrawn


Our client is a 32 year old Forklift Operator.

He migrated to Australia from the United States in 2015.

It was alleged that shortly after he arrived in Australia, he sexually assaulted his 12-year old step-daughter on multiple occasions while his wife was at work.

The complainant allegedly reported the matters to her mother, who said she then contacted police. The complainant participated in an electronically recorded police interview outlining the allegations, after which our client was arrested and charged with seven counts of ‘Aggravated Sexual Intercourse without Consent

Our client vehemently denied the allegations. He instructed us that in 2017, the relationship with his the complainant’s mother had broken down and that he had always been a loving father to the child.

The complainant participated in two further electronically recorded interviews, which sought to clarify a number of questions raised in the initial interview.

Our review of the material revealed a number of significant inconsistencies and flaws in the case – perhaps the most fundamental being that our client was overseas when one of the incidents was alleged to have taken place. We obtained immigration documents to verify this fact.

Our client also provided us with Facebook correspondences between him and his (ex) wife, amongst which was a message where she wrote, “Now that you’re breaking up with me, I will make your life a living hell”. The allegations were made shortly after this message.

We prepared a detailed letter to the DPP – known as ‘representations’ – calling for the withdrawal of all charges. We arranged for a case-conference with the DPP solicitor in charge of the prosecution, and highlighted the problems in the case and the injustice of pursuing such charges.

After a number of sets of further negotiations, the DPP withdrew all charges.

This meant our client avoided a lengthy and expensive District Court trial and all of the stress that goes with it, and is free to get on with his life.

Not Guilty of All 22 Fraud Charges and Participate in Criminal Group


Our client is 31 year old man from Canley Vale in Sydney.

He was employed as a Premium Baccarat Croupier at The Star Casino.

Two men attended casino on several occasions over a 10 day period to play Premium Baccarat on the table our client was servicing.

The casino became suspicious of the activity on the table after observing the betting patterns of the two men, after each of their intermittent large bets allegedly invariably returned wins.

The casino arranged for the examination of CCTV footage which, it claimed, showed our client raising a few of the cards from the top and bottom of the deck and thereby revealing their values, then making hand signals to indicate whether or not to make a large bet.

The casino reported the information to the police and all three men were charged with 22 counts of fraud under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 and one count of participate in criminal group.

The total amount allegedly defrauded was more than $3.3 million.

Our client was adamant that alleged offences did not occur and his behaviour was consistent with the rules of the game.

As the DPP only served the allegedly ‘incriminating’ footage, we subpoenaed all footage of our client dealing over the course of his employment, painstakingly viewed all of that footage and prepared extensive material to suggest our client:

(a) on several occasions placed his hand on the side which the prosecution suggested would trigger a ‘large bet’, but that action did not result in such a bet being placed,

(b) our client’s style of dealing was to fan cards, and

(c) there was plentiful evidence that our client did not view cards when he dealt in that fashion.

We also subpoenaed extensive material from the casino to the effect that the manner of dealing was not against any rules or regulations.

The matter ultimately proceeded to a 7-week jury trial in Downing Centre District Court.

During the extensive cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, our team was able to systematically produce evidence which communicated the actual state of affairs to the jury.

Moreover, after all of the prosecution evidence had been given, our defence team tendered carefully drafted legal submissions to the sentencing judge in the absence of the jury to the effect that the prosecution evidence was incapable of establishing the essential element of ‘deception’ – as no deceived party had been identified. We asked the judge to direct an acquittal on that basis.

The submission was powerful and persuasive given recent decisions by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to the effect that a deceived party must be identified in order for an offence of fraud to be established.

The submission appeared to have caught the prosecution by surprise, as the Crown prosecutor tried to argue that the deceived party was The Star Casino. That submission was clearly inconsistent with the NSWCCA decisions which require a particular person or party to be actively deceived and a causal link to be established between the deception and financial advantage derived.

The judge agreed with our submissions and directed the jury to acquit each of the co-accused on all charges.

Not Guilty of Multiple Sexual Assault and Aggravated Indecent Assault Charges


Our client is 37 year old man from Blacktown.

The parents of a 13-year old girl returned home to find him hiding under their daughter’s bed.

They called police who attended the home and interviewed the girl. The teenager told police our client was her boyfriend for the past six months. She claimed the pair had kissed and that he had touched her breasts on a number of occasions. She denied that they had sexual intercourse.

Our client was arrested and conveyed to the police station, where he participated in an interview vehemently denying any intimate relationship between the two.

He was charged with two counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The complainant later gave further statements to the effect that the pair had engaged in several acts of sexual intercourse.

As a result, our client was charged with five counts of sexual intercourse with a person aged under 14 years, an offence which attracts a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, and three counts of committing an act of indecency.

The prosecution served phone records including daily text messages suggestive of a lengthy intimate relationship. Forensic evidence of a mixed DNA profile allegedly containing material from our client and another was also served.

Our team carefully reviewed all material and obtained detailed instructions relating to all alleged encounters.

Most importantly, we subpoenaed all text messages between the pair – as the prosecution had only served selected messages and the full DNA analysis materials.

The full text messages revealed our client’s resistance to any form of sexual relationship.

We arranged for forensic samples to be sent to independent laboratory, which in our view should occur in all cases of a claimed DNA ‘match’.

The laboratory provided a report to the effect there was no definitive match.

Our team also engaged an expert gynaecologist who provided an expert report to the effect that the analysis of the complainant was inconsistent with her (latter) account of having sexual intercourse with our client on the day police were called to the home.

The prosecution nevertheless took the case to trial in Sydney West Trial Courts, Parramatta.

Our defence team systematically took apart the prosecution case through careful use of defence materials and expert cross examination, revealing the major inconsistencies in the complainant’s statement, ensuring the jury had a full account of the nature of the relationship between the complainant and defendant, and raising doubt regarding the veracity of the DNA evidence.

The jury ultimately returned verdicts of not guilty to all of the charges.

Not Guilty of Drug Supply and Proceeds of Crime


Our client is a 30 year old Truck Driver from the South Coast of NSW.

Police observed a car that was double parked in the middle of street in the Sydney CBD, which they claimed is ‘well known for drug use and supply’

They conducted a vehicle enquiry through their Mobipol system to obtain the registration particulars of the car.

The enquiry suggested the vehicle was registered to a family member of an organised crime group, and that the member was previously convicted of drug supply.

Police approached the vehicle and saw four individuals inside. The owner and his associate were in the front seats, and our client and a television presenter in the back.

Police questioned each of the occupants, and our client disclosed that he was in possession of a quantity of cocaine. They searched our client and located a large resealable bag of cocaine down the front of his pants, two small bags of cocaine in his wallet, nearly $5,000 in cash and two mobile telephones.

They arrested and conveyed our client to the police station, where he participated in an interview and made certain admissions.

One of the phones in our client’s possession contained messages indicative of drug supply. Our client told police that this phone did not belong to him, but to one of the other occupants.

Our client was charged with drug supply due to the quantity of drugs in the large resealable bag and contents of the phone messages, and with proceeds of crime for the cash found on him.

Our defence team undertook a considerable amount of work establishing there was insufficient evidence to prove ownership of the phone and gathering evidence regarding duress.

Duress is when a person commits an offence because threats are made against them to such an extent that a reasonable person in their position would comply.

The case ultimately proceeded to a jury trial in Downing Centre District Court.

Once evidence of duress was raised, the prosecution made submissions that a serious threat of violence could not be established as our client was aware of the presence of police nearby. It was further submitted that the text messages suggesting supply were from our client, as other evidence suggested he was indeed the sender of those transmissions.

Our cross examination of the prosecution witnesses, including expert witnesses, supported by documents gathered by the defence completely defeated the prosecution’s ability to negative the defence of duress. It was a systematic and complete dismantling of the prosecution case which meant we did not need to put our client on the witness stand to testify and face cross examination.

In the result, the jury returned verdicts of not guilty for both charges, and the alleged proceeds of crime was refunded to our client.

Large Commercial Drug Supply Charges Dropped


Our client is a 26-year old carpenter from Sydney’s west.

Police say they were given a ‘tip off’ from an informant and searched our client’s premises, locating a total of more than 1.1 kg of cocaine and 1000 MDMA (ecstacy) tablets in various locations.

Our client lived alone on the premises and police charged him with two counts of supplying a large commercial quantity of prohibited drugs.

The supply was ‘deemed’ under section 29 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985.

Our client did not participate in a police interview.

He instructed us that the night before the search, he had a house party during which drugs were being sold by a major drug supplier.

He informed us he had no idea about the drugs being stashed on his premises.

A significant amount of work was undertaken by our legal team to raise sufficient doubt that the drugs found did not belong to our client, nor was he aware they were left there by the owner.

We arranged for independent examination of the parcels which excluded any possibility of our client’s fingerprints or DNA being on them.

The examination concluded there was a fingerprint that belonged to another person.

No drugs were located in our client’s bedroom, and we were able to obtain evidence that two others stayed at the premises the previous night.

We drafted extensive ‘representations’ (written submissions requesting withdrawal of the case) which detailed the law relating to the requirement that the prosecution must prove ‘exclusive possession’ beyond reasonable doubt, together with defence statements and partial disclosure of the forensic evidence derived from the parcels.

After extensive negotiations, the prosecution realised it would not be able to prove possession beyond reasonable doubt (an essential ingredient of deemed supply) and withdrew all charges – which has saved our client many tens of thousands of dollars and a great deal of stress, anxiety and uncertainty facing a jury trial.

It is very rare that the prosecution withdraws charges as serious as large commercial drug supply, especially when drugs are found pursuant to a tip-off at a location where the suspect is the sole resident.

But it is certainly possible with an expert defence team behind you with the right knowledge, experience, contacts and resources.

Not Guilty of Aggravated Indecent Assault and Prosecution Ordered to Pay Costs


Our client is a 39 year old man from Western Sydney.

He was residing in a shared house with a man, the man’s 12 year-old son and 9-year old daughter.

He was charged with indecently assaulting the daughter, namely touching the outside of her vagina through her underwear and groping her chest area.

The girl made the complaint to her aunt immediately after the alleged incident. The aunt wrote down the complaint and contacted police immediately thereafter.

Our client participated in a police interview during which he vehemently denied the allegations, telling police that he suspected the girl’s complaint was a result of the fact he refused to buy ice cream for her when they attended the local shop.

The police took statements from the brother and two of his friends, who were playing cricket in their front yard that afternoon while our client and the young girl watched on.

The boys did not claim to see the assault, which was alleged to have occurred as our client and the girl watched on.

Police nevertheless relied on the girl’s complaint to charge our client with two counts of aggravated indecent assault and two counts of common assault.

The matter ultimately proceeded to a defended hearing in the local court, where we systematically dismantled the prosecution case.

The young girl’s responses made it clear the complaint occurred shortly after the pair attended the shops – something which police and DPP failed to look into, but for which our defence team obtained relevant and exculpatory CCTV footage.

Our cross-examination of the boys and the aunt revealed gaping inconsistencies when compared with the complainant’s version of the events.

Her Honour ultimately found that the prosecution case was not substantiated. She was especially critical of the prosecution’s failure to pursue a line of inquiry that was available at the time of the police interview – namely, that the girl made-up the complaint due to the fact she was angry with the defendant for not buying her ice cream. In that regard, police could easily have attended the local shops and spoken with the store owner, as well as obtained CCTV footage from a nearby camera.

As a result of that failure, her Honour ordered the prosecution to pay the defendant’s legal costs.

No Criminal Record for 18 ‘Ecstacy’ Tablets


Our client is a 27 year old man who is on a student visa.

Police were conducting a drug dog operation within the Kings Cross Entertainment precinct.

They were walking along the footpath when they observed our client see them and immediately cross the road.

Police followed our client and say they observed him cross back, in what they viewed to be an active attempt to avoid the sniffer dog.

They approached our client and activated their Body Worn Video camera. They asked if our client would consent to a search, and he did.

During the search, police located 2 resealable plastic bags containing a total of 18 capsules of MDMA (‘ecstacy’).

They arrested our client and conveyed him to the police station, where our client participated in an interview and admitted owning the tablets.

The law in NSW is that where the weight of a substance containing MDMA is above 0.75 grams, police are able to charge the person with ‘drug supply’ as it is deemed the drugs were in the person’s possession for the purpose of supply.

In that case, police do not need to prove that the person intended to supply the drug; rather the onus of proof shifts to the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that he or she possessed the drugs for something other than supply, most commonly for personal use only.

The weight of the drugs in our client’s possession was 4.27 grams, well in excess of the ‘deemed’ quantity.

He was subsequently charged with supplying a prohibited drug.

As the weight was more than 1.25 grams, the supply charge became ‘strictly indictable’ which means it must be finalised in the District Court rather than the Local Court.

This also meant the matter was taken over by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

We wrote detailed ‘representations’ to the DPP regarding the fact the drugs were in our client’s possession for personal use only, requesting the downgrading of the supply charge to drug possession – which is far less serious and would allow the case to remain in the Local Court.

After intense negotiations, the DPP ultimately agreed to our request.

Our client then pleaded guilty to drug possession-only in the Local Court.

In preparation for our client’s sentencing proceedings, we assisted him to prepare a Letter of Apology, Character References and also guided him to attend the SMART Recovery Program.

As he is an Italian national, we obtained his Italian criminal record (which was clean) and had it translated.

We made detailed submissions in regarding his remorse, steps to taking control of his substance use and the impact of a conviction on his desire to work in the future as a professional.

We also compiled relevant case-law which makes it clear a magistrate can impose a ‘non-conviction’ despite the number of pills.

The Crown opposed our request and made submissions for a criminal conviction and significant penalty.

We ultimately persuaded the Magistrate not to impose a criminal record on our client, and released him on a two-year good behaviour bond without conviction.

Our client was ecstatic and looks forward to pursuing his career.