Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.
Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
- Proven Track Record of Exceptional ResultsSydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases. Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial. Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
- Highest Level of Client SatisfactionWe have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia. Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities. We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
- Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law FirmWe have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running. The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
- Fixed FeesWe want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004. We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
- Free First AppointmentFor those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers. We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
- Specialist Lawyer GuaranteeWe guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court. This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
- All NSW CourtsFrom Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases. And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
- Accredited SpecialistsOur entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists. All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005. An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field. Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
- Results-Focused Law FirmOur team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet. The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’. Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
- Team of Lawyers Behind YouOur clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide. Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes. A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
- Familiar with Magistrates and JudgesEach of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state. Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
- ConvenienceWe have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Liverpool, directly opposite Liverpool Local Court, and
- Parramatta, near the justice precinct.
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD and Liverpool locations, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Sexual Intercourse’ is defined by section 61H of the Crimes Act 1900 as:
- any penetration of a female’s genitalia, or anus of any person, by any part of another person or by an object,
- any penetration of any person’s mouth by any part of another’s penis, or
A defence to ‘sexual assault’ is where the penetration was for ‘proper medical purposes’.
There are two definitions of ‘consent’ in ‘sexual cases’:
- a ‘statutory definition’ – which is a definition contained within a piece of legislation.
- a ‘common law definition’ – which has evolved over many years through case-law.
The statutory definition is set-out in s 61HA of the Crimes Act 1900 and applies to three offences:
- Sexual assault under s 61I
- Aggravated sexual assault under s 61J, and
- Aggravated sexual assault in company under s 61 JA.
The common law definition applies to all other ‘sexual offences’ including indecent assault.
In either case, consent (or lack of consent) can be communicated verbally or through the actions of the person who has made the complaint (the ‘complainant’).
Further, whether or not you believed that consent was given will always be assessed from your perspective at the time of the offence based on all the facts and circumstances – the court will not consider what you should have thought or done.
If you honestly and reasonably believed that the complainant gave consent, the charges against you may be dismissed.
The Statutory Definition – s61HE of the Crimes Act
Under section 61HE of the Crimes Act, consent is given when a person ‘freely and voluntarily agrees to the sexual intercourse.’
The statutory definition explicitly states a range of situations where consent will not be given, for example, where the other person:
- does not have the capacity to give consent due to their age or mental impairment;
- is unconscious or asleep;
- gives consent under a threat of force or terror; and
- is under a mistaken belief as to the identity of the alleged offender, or that the offender is their spouse, or that the intercourse is for medical or hygienic reasons.
In deciding whether consent was given, the court can look at:
- whether the complainant was severely intoxicated by alcohol or drugs;
- whether there was any intimidation, coercion or threats – even if they don’t amount to ‘threats of force’; and
- whether the alleged offender abused a position of authority.
- Importantly, the fact that the complainant did not physically resist does not necessarily mean that consent was given.
Those who are under the age of 16, or 18 where there is a relationship of ‘special care’, are unable to provide consent.
The Common Law Definition
In contrast, the common law definition of consent is much more general.
It consists of two ingredients:
1. The complainant did not provide consent;
2. The accused acted despite knowing that consent was not given, or acting recklessly as to whether consent was given or not.
‘Acting recklessly as to whether consent was given or not’ includes situations where:
- it’s demonstrated that you did not care about whether consent was given or not; or
- where it’s shown that you knew that there was a possibility that consent was not given, but you acted anyway.
What’s the Difference?
Both definitions appear to be very similar in terms of their wording and structure.
Consent, or lack of consent can be communicated verbally or through actions in either case.
So, what’s the difference?
The biggest difference is that the statutory definition creates a broader range of cases where consent will not be given – it specifically states that consent will not be given where:
- the victim is unconscious or asleep,
- where they are coerced by threats or force,
- where the victim is under a mistaken belief as to the identity of the offender and so on.
Once again, this definition applies only to three offences: sexual assault (s 61 I); aggravated sexual assault (s 61J) and aggravated sexual assault in company (s 61 JA).
The common law definition is much less restrictive and gives a general definition which does not specify cases where consent will not be given.
Again, this definition applies to sexual offences other than those described above, such as indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault.