Theft and Intentionally Cause Injury

Our client was charged with Theft and Intentionally Cause Injury including Recklessly Cause Injury and Unlawful Assault charges. The last three charges were alternatives, which means that the prosecution can only proceed with one of these charges because they stem from the same conduct. It would be duplicitous to proceed with all three.

The most serious of the client’s charges was the Intentionally Cause Injury charge. In order to prove this offending, the prosecution must demonstrate the following elements:

  1. the victim suffered an injury that is something more than trifling;
  2. the accused caused the injury;
  3. the accused intended to cause the victim’s injury; and
  4. the accused acted without lawful excuse or justification
The client was at a pub playing a Pokies machine and the victim was playing the machine next to our client. The two men did not know or have any communication with each other. Suddenly, without any provocation whatsoever, our client began punching the victim. The victim sustained head injuries and required stitches. It was a violent assault exacerbated by the fact that it was unprovoked. This entire incident was captured on clear CCTV footage which made it difficult to dispute any of the elements.

As for the theft, the police alleged that our client stole money from a charity box which was quite a nasty offending.
We acted on the client’s behalf at the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court.

After viewing the CCTV footage of the assault matter, the prosecution insisted on proceeding with the Theft and Intentionally Cause Injury charges. As this was a serious offending and our client had prior convictions for similar offending in the past, the prospect of gaol was a real one. The consequence of this would have been significant because our client has mental health issues which he is currently addressing by engaging with a local area mental health service.

Prior to the plea, we contacted his area mental health service and requested that they provide him with a report explaining the progress that the client is making with his treatment. We also asked the client to provide him with a list of people who knew him personally and could speak of his otherwise good character and desire to find employment.

At the plea hearing, the client pleaded guilty to one charge of Theft and one charge of Intentionally Cause Injury. A copy of all of the necessary medical material was presented to satisfy the sentencing magistrate that our client’s progress with regard to managing his mental health should not be interrupted. It was important that we explain the client’s circumstances to the sentencing magistrate in a way whereby she can fully understand the importance of the client continuing to receive treatment in the community. This can be quite difficult in the Magistrates’ Court as there are time constraints to conduct pleas. A lot of the time a magistrate also forms a particular view and it may be difficult to convince them to see your view.

We also emphasised the fact that the Intentionally Cause Injury incident occurred prior to the client serving his most recent term of imprisonment and that this matter could have been finalised when the charges which saw him receive a gaol sentence were finalised.

Ultimately, the sentencing Magistrate accepted the submissions and placed the client on a 3-year bond with conviction. This meant that the client was able to avoid a term of imprisonment despite the fact that the magistrate initially had the view that gaol was the only option. A benefit that we have at Doogue + George is that we all appear daily in court which gives us a good knowledge of which submissions work with each individual magistrate.

This was an excellent result for a case that involves Theft and Intentionally Cause Injury charges given the circumstances. Other than the obvious fact that prison is not a pleasant place, this outcome gave our client a chance to continue to care for his widowed mother and continue to receive his treatment. Our client’s poor mental health is something that he is going to have to manage for the remainder of his life and prison would not have helped him do this.
Elements of Theft:

  • The accused appropriated property belonging to another;
  • The accused did so with the intention of permanently depriving the other of the property; and
  • The accused acted dishonestly.

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 21/08/2018