The background to the allegations was that our client had been in a short-term relationship with the complainant for a period of approximately 9 months. That relatively short relationship had commenced not long after a 10-year marriage had ended.
The client reported that the ending of the marriage was relatively amicable with her former husband; however the break-up of the subsequent relationship was not so. Our client had struggled to come to terms with the ending of her relationship, and had become deeply despondent about her predicament. She had other stressors operating in her life including the care of 3 children, and a full-time job. She had no criminal history and so the context in which the offending occurred was very important.
Whilst our client had disputed the allegation that she had personally attended the home of the complainant on multiple occasions, she made early admissions to police that she did send text messages in breach of the Intervention Order. The nature of these text messages, whilst persistent and occurring on multiple dates, were not threatening, abusive, or otherwise derogatory in nature. The breach offences occurred during a period when our client was receiving treatment in a psychiatric ward at a medical facility following her admission, after her relationship had ended.
We provided legal representation for the client at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court. The charges were:
- Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order
- Persistent Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order
For this case, we successfully secured a sentence of adjourned undertaking for Persistent Contravene Family Violence Intervention Order. An application for a diversion was initially pursued but was not granted by the prosecution. After negotiations at a summary case conference, the prosecution agreed to withdraw the individual breach offences, and pursued a single charge of Persistent Breach of Family Violence Intervention Order.
Given the circumstances of the offending, it was important to put the client’s behaviour in its proper context. It was emphasised to the court that our client’s offences occurred when her mental health was at its lowest ebb. Documentation was provided to the court to show her admission into hospital for treatment which preceded the offending by a matter of days, and weeks.
It was also important to demonstrate to the court the process of rehabilitation our client had undergone. To this end, report evidencing our client’s attendance for mental health counselling were tendered to the court. Character references were also tendered; and these references spoke of our client’s commitment to the care of her 3 children and of her dedication to her work. Our client’s previous good character was thus demonstrated by these references. It was also noteworthy that our client presented to court with no prior court appearances.
- The accused engaged in conduct that would constitute an offence against section 37 or 123 of the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.
- On at least 2 other occasions within a period of 28 days immediately preceding the conduct, the accused engaged in conduct that would constitute an offence against section 37 or section 123 in relation to the same protected person; or the same family violence safety notice or family violence intervention order, whether or not in relation to the same protected person; or a family violence safety notice and a family violence intervention order made on the family violence safety notice as an application, whether or not in relation to the same protected person.
- On each of the occasions referred to in the paragraphs (a) and (b), the accused knew or ought to have known that the conduct constituted a Contravention of the Family Violence Safety Notice or Family Violence Intervention Order (as the case requires).
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 27/08/2018