A Guide to Character References for the Magistrates’ Court

Character references are a useful tool in a defence solicitor’s arsenal during a plea hearing in the Magistrates’ Court. They give the Magistrate an insight into the accused’s character which only their family, friends and colleagues can provide. I am regularly asked what a character reference should include. Although the content of each character reference […]

Can Bail Conditions be Changed?

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I am frequently asked – ‘can my bail conditions be varied?’ The short answer to this question is yes. You can apply to the court where you must surrender, to vary or revoke some of your bail conditions. You may be subject to strict bail conditions, which the bail decision maker thought appropriate at the […]

How to Best Prepare for a Plea of Guilty to Driving Offences

The Magistrates’ Court hears the bulk of driving offences, such as – exceeding the prescribed concentration of drugs or alcohol, driving while suspended, un-licenced driving and driving in a manner dangerous. Pleading guilty to most driving offences may result in your driver’s licence being disqualified and your car being impounded. In some instances, you may […]

How to Prepare for a Plea Hearing in the Magistrates’​ Court

Pleading guilty to criminal wrong-doing in the Magistrates’ Court can have a far reaching impact on your life. The outcome may affect your immediate freedom, employment, personal relationships, firearm licence, and ability to travel. You must therefore give your plea hearing priority to ensure your outcome is not compromised. This article will provide some general […]

Online Magistrates’​ Court Hearings – How to optimise your hearing

Online criminal court hearings are a product of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they seem deeply embedded in the way the law is administered today, it was an alien concept two years ago. Online hearings will likely stay and it is important to master them to optimise court outcomes. 1.Be Prepared Being prepared for court has […]

Spent Conviction Scheme – A Fresh Start

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The recently enacted Spent Conviction Act 2021 (Vic) is a major development in the criminal law space. This Act came into effect on 1 July 2022, and introduces a spent conviction scheme allowing people to have their conviction for certain criminal offences removed from police checks. The spent conviction scheme allows for some offences to be removed […]

How to Defend a Charge of Unlawful Assault

Boxing glove punching another person used for unlawful assault

The police will charge you with unlawful assault if they suspect you made unwanted contact with another person. The charge of unlawful assault is found in section 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic). To prove this charge, the prosecution must establish you did one of the following without lawful justification: unlawfully assaulted; or beat another […]

Character References for Court

A Magistrate or Judge does not know anything about an accused person prior to their matter being called on in court. The only information they have is what’s contained in the police material and what is said on the accused’s behalf by their solicitor or barrister. Character references are an important mitigatory tool used during […]

Police Interviews – Basic Tips

Speech is silver, silence is golden A police interview is an important cog in the police investigation and must be approached with considered thought. It is where the police ask a suspect questions about an allegation made against them. The interview is audio visually recorded and exhibited to the police brief. After the interview, the […]