Diversion for Assault Charges Related to Family Violence

This is a case of diversion for assault charges related to family violence, including Assaulting and Resisting Police.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client faced Assault and Assault With Weapon charges in relation to his mother. He was further charged with Assaulting and Resisting Police. He was presented with significant mental health issues and had attempted suicide. The assault charges related to an incident in the family home where he became verbally abusive towards his mother and threatened her with a knife. After this incident, he attended at the police station where he lashed out at the officers while he was being arrested and hence the additional charges.

What happened at court?
We made an application for diversion which was ultimately successful.

We represented the client at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on the following charges:

This matter related to family violence, though not in the sense of an intimate relationship. It is becoming harder and harder in the current political and social climate to secure diversion for family violence charges. The situation was made more difficult by the police charges as the prosecution have traditionally been unwilling to support diversion where officers have been assaulted. On top of this, it came to light that our client had previously had a diversion when he was much younger for a minor theft. It is unusual to be successful in getting diversion twice as the program is designed for low level and first time offenders. A diversion for assault charges related to family violence in this case was certainly going to be a challenge.

Diversion is a two step process. First the prosecution must consent, and then a magistrate has to approve it. We met some resistance from the police officer who had charged our client but we were ultimately able to persuade the prosecution at court to support our application.

The magistrate took some persuading. We relied on the difficult mental health issues that our client had been experiencing at the time and the fact that things have improved for him considerably since then. He was certainly not himself at the time of the incident and we confirmed to the court that he spent time in hospital after the incident.

In support of our client’s good character, we provided the court with a bundle of excellent character references from his family and friends. His family came along to the hearing which is always helpful.

What was the result?
We made submissions in court as to the various reasons why our client should have a second opportunity at diversion given the circumstances of his case. Having hesitated, the magistrate ultimately agreed that diversion was appropriate. This is a great outcome. A diversion for the assault charges related to family violence and to resisting the Police would mean that our client would be able to move on with his life without a criminal record hanging over his head.
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 12/01/2018