Rape, Aggravated Burglary, Theft, Burglary – Discontinuance

This is a case study on Rape and Aggravated Burglary charges resulting in a discontinuance.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was charged with rape and aggravated burglary. It was alleged that he broke into the house of a person unknown to him during the night, entered the bedroom, and raped the complainant. The victim awoke and demanded that the person leave, which our client did.

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Melbourne County Court on the following charges:

Following a contested committal in the Magistrates’ Court and several mentions in the County Court before trial, the prosecution decided to discontinue the matter. Our client had been held in custody on the charges throughout the proceedings and so was finally released.

In terms of the evidence against our client, this was essentially a DNA only case. The complainant did not formally identify our client. Our client was Indigenous and the complainant was only able to give a general description of the offender.

The prosecution relied heavily on the DNA evidence which suggested our client’s DNA had been found on the complainant. We argued, from the beginning of the case, that there were flaws with the testing process and that the DNA results should be ruled as inadmissible. We sought expert opinion and reports in the running of this argument.

What was the result?
Ultimately, the prosecution discontinued the matter before it got to trial. There will always be inherent dangers in prosecuting people on DNA evidence alone. DNA evidence is only circumstantial evidence, and it is fallible. We were able to demonstrate this in this case of Rape and Aggravated Burglary charges. Had our client been found guilty of this offence, he would have faced years in gaol. Instead, the charges have been discontinued and he has been released from custody.
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 06/04/2016