Pleading Guilty to Family Violence Charges

This is a case that involves pleading guilty to family violence charges.

What is alleged to have occured?
Our client had an altercation with his partner on two separate occasions. It was alleged that on the first occasion, he had slapped his partner on the face with the back of his hand and burned her collarbone with a cigarette. On the second occasion, the allegation was that he violently assaulted his partner at his home. Our client’s partner subsequently had a Family Violence Intervention Order (IVO) taken out against the client and he allegedly breached the bail conditions by texting his partner.

What happened at court?
At the time the matter was listed at court, the client and his partner had reconciled and the IVO had been revoked. The client’s partner even supported him during his court appearance at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court. We represented the client on the following charges:

The client’s instruction was that he and his partner often argued. Their mutual drug addiction exacerbated their conflicts. Our client had made partial admissions to slapping his partner in his police interview and he also instructed that he would be pleading guilty to some of the family violence charges. However, he denied the allegations of serious assault and burning his partner with a cigarette.

At summary case conference with the prosecution, we outlined our client’s version of events and noted the lack of evidence to support some of the more serious allegations. The prosecution agreed to amend the prosecution summary of the offending to remove some of the references to serious assault, and to amend the allegation that our client burned his partner with a cigarette. The prosecution also agreed to withdraw the assault charge. Our client then agreed to plead guilty to the remaining charges and the version of events in the amended police summary of the offending.

In the sentencing submissions, we noted our client’s lack of prior convictions for violent offending and the fact that our client and his partner had reconciled. We submitted that it would be more fruitful to place our client on a community-based order where he could access rehabilitative services than sentencing him to imprisonment. We submitted that a community-based order would enable our client to address the causal factors of this offending, namely his drug use and anger management problems; whereas prison would not.

What was the result?
The magistrate agreed that despite the serious nature of the offending, it was more beneficial for our client to address his problems through a community-based sentence. Our client was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order with treatment conditions and a fine. This result was a huge relief for our client and was certainly a good outcome for a case that involves pleading guilty to family violence charges. The client avoided being incarcerated and was afforded the opportunity to address the catalysts for his offending.
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 14/05/2018