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Our client is a 26 year old university student from Western Sydney.
He was charged together with two other men in relation to a brawl between two groups of men outside a hotel in the Sydney CBD, during which a man was ‘bottled’ in the face causing significant injuries.
Our client was accused of being the person who committed the ‘bottling’, and was charged with Affray and Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (AOABH) in company.
Affray carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison while AOABH in company comes with a maximum of seven years.
Surveillance footage captured several men punching and kicking one another, and an independent witness identified our client as the person who used the bottle.
Our client could indeed be seen in the footage partaking in the melee, but the use of a bottle was not captured.
Our client’s instructions were that his actions were undertaken in self-defence and he did not use a bottle at any time.
The two other men who were charged pleaded guilty to both Affray and AOABH, and were sentenced accordingly. They were represented by two other specialist criminal defence law firms.
One of our defence team’s primary tasks was to ensure our client’s case was kept in the Local Court rather than being referred to the District Court, as the maximum sentence that can be applied to each charge in the Local Court is two years in prison.
We successfully persuaded the DPP to do this.
Having carefully scrutinised the CCTV footage and identified several inconsistencies in and between the statements of the prosecution witnesses – comprising the independent witness and the other men involved in the altercation – we advised our client to maintain his plea of not guilty and defence both charges.
The case eventually reached a defended hearing during which we stressed the inconsistencies within and between the statements, as well as procedural flaws in the identification process, and successfully raised the issue of self-defence.
Our cross-examination systematically dismantled the prosecution case, and as the prosecution was unable to ‘negative’ the possibility that our client acted in self-defence, the presiding magistrate found our client not guilty of both charges.
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