Reckless Conduct Endangering Life – Not Guilty

This is a case study on Reckless Conduct Endangering Life resulting in a not guilty verdict. Our client was arrested for recklessly endangering death and serious harm and failure to render assistance.

What is alleged to have occured?
The client was driving a work vehicle in the south-eastern suburb on a short trip to buy lunch for co-workers when he pulled up at traffic lights and had a verbal altercation with two men in a utility. They were in plain clothes and were being verbally aggressive. It turned out that the two men were police officers in plain clothes. They then switched on the lights and pulled over our client for a traffic intercept in Dandenong.

Our client did not believe that they were police officers because they were in a white utility (typically, a tradies vehicle), were wearing clothes typical of tradies, did not have ID visibly located, did not say they were police officers and the lights on the vehicle were located in the grills rather than the windows where they are typically located on undercover police vehicles.

The police officers in plain clothes approached. They did not identify themselves in an obvious way (by stating they were officers or showing ID clearly) and our client believed he was being hijacked. He then accelerated his vehicle to remove himself from the situation as he was scared for his safety. One of the officers held onto his vehicle and was dragged for a period of some meters. Our client returned to his workplace and called the police explaining his side of the story in a record of interview.

What happened at court?
Sophie Parsons acted on the client’s behalf at the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court. The charges filed against him were:

The client contested the charges. Over the course of three days, Sophie cross-examined the police officers and other witnesses as part of a contested hearing. Our defence was that the client was acting in self-defence because he believed he was being carjacked. One aspect of the case was that in the area that the alleged offence occurred, it is well known that people use fake lights on vehicles.

What was the result?
The client was found not guilty of Reckless Conduct Endangering Life and of all the other charges.

Sophie ParsonsSophie Parsons

Sophie is based in the firm’s Melbourne office and is one of the firm’s in-house counsel and trial specialists. As a trial lawyer, Sophie’s expertise lies in examining witnesses, making legal submissions before judges and magistrates, and addressing juries.

Sophie is an advocate who regularly appears at the Magistrates’ and County Courts of Victoria. She handles appeals, contested committal hearings, bail applications, as well as pleas of guilty.

View Sophie Parsons’ 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 20/04/2018