Family Violence – Delayed Interview and Charge

Procedural Unfairness - Delayed Interview and ChargeThis is a case of Threat to Kill, Criminal Damage, and Breach IVO in the context of family violence and involving a delayed interview and charges.

Our client was charged with contravening a family violence intervention order, making a threat to kill, and criminal damage against his ex-partner. The allegations were that the ex partner had attended the client’s property to collect some personal belongings. Whilst she was there, she told police that our client had verbally abused her before pushing and head butting her. Her statements further alleged that when she had tried to leave, our client stood in between her and the exit and threatened to kill her, before damaging her vehicle as she tried to escape. She went straight to the police to report the incident however our client wasn’t interviewed about it until 10 months later.

Sophie Stafford acted on the client’s behalf at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court.

Our client was at a clear disadvantage given the amount of time that had already passed between the alleged incident and the time of his interview. He was adamant that his ex partner was lying about the whole incident, but wasn’t able to provide an alibi or an account of what he did on the day in question given so much time had passed. He said that he had not seen or heard from his ex partner for over a year and couldn’t think of any reason why she would make this up.

Given our client’s clear denial of the charges, correspondence between our office, the prosecution, and the police member that charged our client began immediately. Written submissions were prepared as to why the family violence charges should be dropped by the prosecution; centring around the procedural unfairness caused by the delay in interview and charge, our client’s strong denial of the charges, and credibility issues in relation to his ex partner. It was made clear that our client intended on fighting the charges at a contested hearing, and that if it proceeded to this stage, costs would be pursued against Victoria Police.

At the contest mention hearing after ongoing negotiations, the charges were withdrawn in full against our client. This was an exceptional result as the charges included serious allegations of family violence that would attract a serious penalty if he were to be ultimately found guilty. Our client was able to avoid any further time and expense spent defending charges that he has always claimed to be false.

 


Sophie StaffordSophie Stafford

Sophie is based at our Melbourne office. She was admitted to legal practice in 2014 and graduated with First Class Honours from La Trobe University. Sophie is currently a member of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Criminal Law Section General Committee and the Young Lawyers Law Reform Committee.

Sophie's attention to detail plays a big part in obtaining successful results for clients. She handles both summary and indictable charges at Melbourne and suburban courts.

Know more about Sophie's expertise by checking out her profile page here.

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 26/04/2017