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One role of a criminal defence solicitor is to carefully peruse the evidence in a case and where appropriate negotiate with police on behalf of the client. Just because police make allegations against a person does not necessarily mean that there is sufficient evidence to prove the charge alleged in court or that the person has in fact been charged with the correct offence. In some instances the Brief of Evidence or Facts Sheet can have such deficiencies that the police can be compelled by written and verbal representations to either withdraw the charge or accept a plea of guilty to a lesser offence.

Successful negotiations reduce costs for clients and save them the stress and uncertainty associated with defended hearings.

Typically examples of charge negotiations include:

  • A solicitor making representations to police and the prosecution to withdraw the charges if it is clear that the prosecution evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction,
  • If a person is facing multiple charges, the solicitor can organise with the prosecution to have the client plead guilty to some charges on the basis some of the other charges are withdrawn,
  • If the charge is a serious charge, negotiations can result in the prosecution offering to withdraw a serious charge for a plea of guilty to less serious charge,
  • Persuading the prosecution not to elect to take a matter to the District Court but rather have it dealt in the Local Court,
  • Negotiations with the prosecution to agree on a set of agreed facts which are more favourable to the client before the facts are tendered to the court for sentencing.
  • Charges placed on a “Form 1”: These are a list of charges prepared by the prosecution, with which you have been charged, but not convicted. They can be taken into account when dealing with you for the principal offence.

Plea bargaining and making representations to Police can be a complicated process.

At LY Lawyers, our solicitors are experts in criminal law and will pursue every avenue available to us including entering into negotiations with the Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions to secure a better result for our client.

Our client was charged with a strictly indictable offence of aggravated robbery carrying a maximum imprisonment term of 20 years. Being a strictly indictable matter, this meant that the matter had to be committed to the District Court for sentence or trial.

Further, there is a body of law that provides where a person is charged with an aggravated robbery, in most cases only a sentence of full term imprisonment is appropriate. In other words, there was a real possibility our client, who had no previous criminal record, could be sentenced to gaol.

After carefully examining the brief of evidence and seeking instructions from our client, the solicitor with carriage of this matter formed the view that our client’s conduct did not amount an aggravated robbery offence but rather his actions constituted the lesser charges of assault and steal from person (matters which could be dealt with in the Local Court).

The client did not dispute there had been a fight or that he had taken money from the victim but vehemently denied having assaulted the victim for the purpose of robbing him. He instructed there had been a fight and the money had fallen from the victim’s pocket. Afterwards, he simply picked it up.

Our solicitor made extensive written representations to the Director of Public Prosecutions pointing out the deficiencies in the Brief and why our client’s version (he gave a record of interview to police) should be accepted.

The Director of Public Prosecutions accepted our representations and withdrew the aggravated robbery charge on the basis that our client pleaded guilty to a steal from person charge and an assault charge. The matters were finalised in the Local Court with the client receiving section 9 bonds.

Our client was a Singaporean National, who travelled to Australia to work as a courier of ‘very valuable goods’.

What he didn’t know was that the Australian Federal Police were conducting an operation for his apprehension.

He was approached by undercover police at Lidcombe in Sydney, searched and was found to have in his possession of 1.8 million dollars in cash. He was charged with ‘Recklessly Dealing with Proceeds of Crime’, under the Commonwealth Laws.

This carried a maximum term of 12 years imprisonment. Adam of our office argued the case with the Commonwealth DPP, submitting that the prosecution did not have a shred of evidence that the money was actually ‘the proceeds of crime’.

After a difficult time convincing the prosecution, they finally agreed to reduce the charge to “dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime’, a much less serious charge.

The case proceeded to sentence before Judge Soloman at Sydney District Court. Our client received a sentence of 9 months non parole. At that stage he had already served 7 months of his sentence, and was released 2 months after.

A terrific result for our client. He is back with his wife and three kids in Singapore.