The Insider – What you can expect working in Criminal Law

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There’s never a dull day working at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

The cases we deal with are some of the most serious and interesting in the criminal law field.

For obvious reasons, I can’t go into the specifics of cases I’m currently working on.

But I can tell you about cases I’ve stumbled across while going in and out of court.

Here is just one:

It was a just another day in Sydney, but on 11 November 2013, a boyfriend suspicious of his girlfriend headed back to their apartment in Darling Point on Mona Road.

He allegedly broke into his own apartment and what he saw enraged him into a passion of fury. Upon witnessing his girlfriend and another male in a compromising position, he stabbed the male multiple times in the stomach.

The victim died at the scene. The boyfriend then fled the apartment, but later handed himself in to St Mary’s Police Station.

The boyfriend’s name was Roy Abanales Tabalbag, aged 28 at the time of the incident.

The media headlined it, “The Love Triangle”.

It was later revealed the male who had died, Amin Sthapit, 30, was engaged, and due to marry within a few months.

The deceased male’s fiancee’s facebook page even had photos of her recent Hen’s Party.

During the next two weeks, there were articles about the personal lives of Tabalbag and Sthapit.

In a newspaper interview, 28 year old girlfriend Gee Cy Rebacus expressed how sorry she was about the whole incident.

And then silence.

Since end of November 2013 (two weeks after the crime), there was nothing in the news or print regarding any updates of the story.

Simon Gittany dominated the headlines, then it was Baden-Clay.

But not a squeak came of any news relating to Tabalbag.

Then on 8 July 2014, I attended Central Local Court for another matter.

While awaiting my turn, I heard a familiar name, ‘Tabalbag’, and a lawyer use the word ‘provocation’.

I looked up to see Roy Abanales Tabalbag on the video screen.

Provocation is a partial defence under Section 23 of the Crimes Act 1900 and deals with provocation in relation to murder, which can operate to reduce murder to manslaughter.

In a separate case, Sydney man Chamanjot Singh was sentenced to only six years in prison for repeatedly slitting his wife’s throat with a box cutter back in 2009.

He had successfully argued that he had been provoked because she had told him that she was in love with someone else and threatened to have him deported.

Although the partial defence of provocation is entirely legitimate, after the Singh case, the use of provocation was under scrutiny.

Recently, there have been moves to change and limit the defence of provocation for the charge of murder.

Back to the story of Tabalbag.

Yesterday, I was working on a brief for a drug importation case when I saw that one of the transcripts related back to the male’s flatmate who had been deported after being found to be an unlawful citizen of Australia.

The deported flatmate had witnessed a murder in Darling Point on Mona Road and there were three pages of transcript regarding the matter.

So I once again got an insider view into a crime that was touched upon in the media.

Although working amongst the best criminal lawyers in the field is a great learning experience, and certainly very exciting and fascinating, one cannot dispute the devastating affect that serious crime can have upon those it touches.

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