Breach of Suspended Sentence 2

The client was a 24-year-old who had prior Court appearances for serious drug offences, including drug trafficking. On his last Court appearance he received a sentence of 2 months imprisonment which was wholly suspended for a period 12 months. One month before the operational period of the suspension was due to expire, he was charged with drink driving and driving at a speed dangerous.

The client pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court to the offences which breached the suspended sentence and received a wholly suspended gaol term.

The Magistrate was not satisfied that exceptional circumstances existed to warrant not restoring the 2 month sentence he had received for the previous drug matter, despite the fact that the offending was of a completely different type. Nor was he convinced that the client had undertaken significant rehabilitation and was, at the time of the plea, completely abstinent from illicit drugs and alcohol, was in full-time employment, and had family support. The Magistrate wholly restored the 2 month sentence, requiring the accused to serve it immediately.

The client appealed the decision of the Magistrate to restore the suspended sentence and the appeal was heard in the County Court. We acted on the client’s behalf during the appeal at the Melbourne County Court.

On the appeal, it was submitted that the significant rehabilitation that this young person had achieved was exceptional and that he had immense family support and the support of his psychologist. Evidence was given by the psychologist who stated that the client was in a minority of drug users who had successfully rehabilitated and that his treatment was ongoing.

The County Court agreed that the client’s circumstances were exceptional.

The Judge set aside the Orders of the Magistrates’ Court and extended the operational period of the suspended sentence for a further 12 months.

Taken from a letter written by the client’s mother:

“I wanted to personally thank you for your help to not only (the client) but myself over the past few months.

Whilst I do appreciate it is your job, its refreshing to deal with someone who can show the utmost professionalism in the job that you have shown but also the compassion and understanding that (the client) needed and more particularly that I needed.

Being a mum is not an easy role and when I first found out about (the client’s) drug use I swore to my family and friends that I would get him clean, healthy, back to the living world and try my utmost to keep him out of jail. Not only did I not know that it would take such a long time with so many hiccups along the way but I also did not know what the final outcome would be.

Thank you for the positive input, the investigation and your representation… to the courts which has provided us with an absolutely brilliant result. We couldn’t have gotten through this without you and both (the client) and I believe that your input was also a major contributing factor to this result.

(The client) knows that he is a cat who has used up his nine lives, and he understands that there will be no more chances. I thank you for giving him the opportunity to continue his recovery and become the person he is today – someone with a bright positive future.


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 25/02/2013