Adjourned Undertaking Without Conviction for Unlawful Assault

This is a case study on a sentence of adjourned undertaking without conviction for Unlawful Assault.

Our client was a young man. He had been in a volatile relationship for many years and it had finally broken down completely. He was a hard worker, and was living alone trying to rebuild his life.

What is alleged to have occured?
One evening, his ex-partner came to his house and started an argument with him. The ex-partner then went about beginning to break his property and our client had to forcibly removed her from the house. Both parties then called the police.

The ex-partner alleged that our client had dragged her by the hair and choked her. Our client denied these allegations but was nevertheless still charged with Recklessly Causing Injury and Unlawful Assault. Meanwhile, the ex-partner remained under police investigation for Criminal Damage in relation to the damage caused to our client’s property.

What happened at court?
Kate Da Costa provided legal representation for the client at the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court. For this case, she successfully handled the matter by securing a sentence of adjourned undertaking without conviction for Unlawful Assault

In preparation for court, Kate advised the client on the importance of obtaining character references and letters of support, evidence of his strong employment history and work ethic – and most importantly in any matter of family violence – confirmation that he had engaged in counselling since the incident.

At court, the matter was summary case conferenced with the prosecution and Kate negotiated both the charges and the summary of the incident. These discussions led to the summary of the incident being significantly amended to reflect the client’s admissions to the police in his record of interview. The allegation that our client had dragged his ex partner by the hair and choked her, and the charge of Recklessly Cause Injury, were withdrawn against him.

The client instructed that in relation to his actions, he accepted the charge of Unlawful Assault on the basis of excessive self defence. Lengthy submissions were made in relation to the volatile nature of the relationship, but the client accepted that he had used excessive force to remove his ex partner from his house.

It was also put to the court that given the client’s personal circumstances, his family support, his strong employment history, and that there would be no further contact with his ex partner, there was an excellent prospect that the client would not appear before the court again in the future.

What was the result?
The court was satisfied that our client should be given the opportunity to avoid a conviction, and so he was sentenced to an adjourned undertaking without conviction for Unlawful Assault.

The client was grateful that Kate was able to effectively negotiate the charges and the police summary on his behalf, and to accurately present his perspective of the incident to the Ccurt.

Elements of Unlawful Assault:
  • The accused applied force to the complainant’s body.
  • The application of force was intentional or reckless.
  • The application of force was without lawful justification or excuse.
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Kate Da CostaKate Da Costa

Kate is one of our senior associates and is part of our Sunshine team. She regularly represents clients at the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court for various criminal legal issues.

Admitted to legal practice in 2002, Kate has since been working exclusively in the field of criminal law. She has experience in all Victorian criminal law jurisdictions including in the High Court of Australia.

View Kate Da Costa’s profile.
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 08/10/2019