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.