Diversion for One-Punch Offence

This is a case study on a sentence of diversion for a one-punch offence.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client was charged with Intentionally Causing Injury to a teenage old girl by way of “one punch”. This act caused the girl to stumble, fall, and hit her head on the concrete. Our client was 17 years of age at the time and 18 by the time the matter was dealt with at court.

The offending occurred when both our client and the victim were affected by alcohol. The client came to us with grave concerns for a criminal record. At the time, the client was studying law and psychology with a view to pursuing a career as a forensic psychologist. A criminal record would have been detrimental to the client’s career prospects, and to the client’s life as this was the one goal that the client had to focus and work towards.

Coming from a difficult family upbringing, our client saw education and career options as the primary things to live for. The client had experienced significant declines in mental health during teenage years and, to be able to cope, focused on education to get through the negative times in life.

What happened at court?
Dee Giannopoulos represented the client at the Melbourne Children’s Court. The charges were:

We advised our client to link in with mental health professionals. The client agreed and started seeing a psychologist realising that assistance was needed particularly with alcohol misuse. The client made active efforts to rebuild relationship with immediate family and focused heavily on schooling.

Prior to the court date, we obtained a bundle of supporting material with a goal of securing a sentence of diversion for the one-punch offence. This material was to assist us with submissions in the matter including:

  • report from the client’s treating psychologist
  • updated school grades showing academic achievement in psychology and legal studies
  • confirmation of engagement in family counselling
  • confirmation of compliance with medication
The matter was listed for contest mention and an application was made for diversion. The prosecution considered our written application and the supporting material. Our client was ultimately recommended for diversion.

The seriousness of the offending was acknowledged and submissions were made that the matter was proceeding in the children’s court jurisdiction where rehabilitation of the young offender is the primary consideration. The material relied upon was tendered to the court and addressed by Dee in relation to how it evidenced the rehabilitative efforts already made by the client, and why the client ought to be given an opportunity to avoid a criminal record for this offending.

What was the result?
Ultimately the magistrate was persuaded to grant diversion for the one-punch offence. On the basis that our client complies with the conditions of the diversion, a criminal record for this serious one-punch offending will be avoided. If this offending were to be heard in the adult jurisdiction, an argument would need to be made as to why our client ought to not serve a term of imprisonment. In these circumstances, being in the children’s court made it possible for our client not only to avoid any term of detention but also to avoid any record for the offending.

Elements of Intentionally Causing Injury:
  • The complainant suffered an “injury”.
  • The accused caused the complainant’s injury.
  • The accused intended to cause injury.
  • The accused acted without lawful justification or excuse.
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Dee Giannopoulosdee-giannopoulos-profile

Dee is based in our Melbourne office and appears at all Courts in Victoria. Dee’s commitment to her clients and her passion for justice drives her to achieve great results.

View Dee Giannopoulos’ 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 08/08/2019