Our client is a 20 year old sales representative.
He and 7 other men were charged with Affray after a highly-publicised ‘brawl’ between two groups in the lobby of the Meriton Apartments in Sydney.
Affray carries a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment when tried in the District Court, or two years in the Local Court.
CCTV captured the men (including our client) attacking, punching and kicking each other, and an 8kg pot plant being hurled by one of the men and hitting another in the head, causing severe injuries amounting to grievous bodily harm.
A number of the men fled after the incident and could not be identified.
Our client was apprehended by police near the scene.
He could be seen on CCTV throwing punches on two separate occasions.
His instructions were that, although involved, he was acting in defence of his friends, who were being attacked by the other group.
This is sometimes known as ‘third party self-defence’.
There were several eye-witnesses who gave statements to the effect that the groups attacked one-another, were equally ‘at fault’ and that the participants appeared to be engaging in a planned fight.
Our client and a number of the other co-accused saw a criminal law firm who advised them that there were no prospects of defending the case.
All 7 of the co-accused pleaded guilty to Affray and/or assault charges, despite there being less evidence against a number of them than that which was available against our client.
Our client sought a second opinion from our firm.
After taking the time to carefully scrutinise the footage and witness statements, receiving detailed instructions regarding the footage and attending the scene to gain a complete understanding of our instructions, it became clear there was a reasonable possibility that our client indeed acted in third party self-defence – which is a complete defence to the charge of Affray.
At the hearing, we systematically dismantled the prosecution case by highlighting material inconsistencies between, and deficiencies within, the prosecution statements and eliciting evidence from our client in purview of the footage to the effect that he was acting in response to attacks upon his friends by members of the other group.
After receiving this evidence and hearing closing submissions, His Honour came to the view that the prosecution had failed to negative the possibility of self-defence beyond reasonable doubt.
He therefore found our client not guilty of the charge.