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What happens in Criminal matters?

What is Criminal Law

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What happens in Criminal Matters?

The Criminal Procedure Act is a New South Wales legislation and accordingly, the Criminal procedure is not a Commonwealth uniform procedure and therefore different in every state. The Criminal Procedure Act sets out how Criminal Law matters should be managed. All Jameson Law’s Criminal Law Solicitors are well aware of the Criminal procedures and how the Criminal justice system is run. We have some of the best names in Criminal Lawyer Sydney on hand to guide you through your matter.

Do I have to go to Court and how does the Court decide if I am guilty?

You are required to attend Court on every date your matter is listed unless you have legal representation and they ask for you to be excused on the next occasion. If the Court excuses you then you do not have to attend the next mention however you still have to attend your hearing or sentencing. 

With the current COVID-19 restrictions, the Courts are attempting to reduce attendance as much as possible. It is recommended that you wait outside the Courtroom until your matter is called or the time your matter is listed and then step into the Courtroom when it is your turn. If you have legal representation, they may advise you to wait outside for your safety and the safety of others. If you have travelled overseas in the last 14-days and/or have the flu, cold or like symptoms, you should not attend Court. If you have legal representation, they can appear on your behalf. Otherwise, contact the Court to advise why you are unable to attend.

What does Criminal Law Mean?

Generally speaking, everyone in Australia understands the concept of Criminal Law. What they don’t know however is that the criminal justice system is one of the broadest areas of law.

Australia’s criminal justice system and criminal law legislation are derived from the English common law legislation. Criminal law is most dominantly handled by each state, with only several exceptions being tried at a federal level, including fraud or sexual misconduct, for example. The Criminal Code Act 1995 of the Commonwealth of Australia defines offences and sets out the elements of an offence, being the things that need to be established in order to prove that a person is guilty of an offence.

Each state is governed by its own legislation, unrelated to other states in Australia, for example NSW law is different to Queensland (QLD) or Victoria (VIC). In NSW, the Criminal Justice System is governed by the Crimes Act 1900 which specifically sets out the elements and maximum penalties for criminal offences.

Generally, New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria follow common law jurisdictions, while the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia, follow a criminal law replacing the common law, except in cases of ambiguity.

It’s also worth mentioning that in Australia, criminal law legislation is different from civil law legislation in that civil law relates to non-criminal laws.

In 2007, Law reform has seen family violence added to the list of criminal offences in NSW and is governed by a separate legislation known as the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. The Act defines domestic violence offence as ‘an offence committed by a person against another person with whom the person who commits the offence has (or has had) a domestic relationship. The Act makes it clear that ‘offence’ includes an offence under the Criminal Code Act 1995 of the Commonwealth. In a nutshell, the Criminal Code Act 1995 of the Commonwealth lists the acts that would be considered an offence. Note that the Criminal Code Act deals more with Commonwealth Criminal Law, noting that it is Commonwealth Legislation.

Each Australian state has its own criminal law although it is generally uniform in terms of what constitutes a criminal offence. New South Wales criminal law and its criminal justice system is different to other states such as Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.

What does it mean when I receive a Court Attendance Notice (CAN)?

All criminal matters are commenced in the Local Court (unless the criminal offence is more severe in which case it may be moved to the district court or supreme court. Note: it is rare for a criminal law matter to be heard in the High Court of Australia). In order to bring charges against an accused, the Police must personally serve a Court Attendance Notice (CAN) on the person. The CAN should set out the charges, including the section of the Act under which they are being charged, Police facts of the incident, and notice of the date and time on which the matter is listed and which Court they are required to attend. 

If you have been served with a Court attendance notice and charged with any of the above offences, it is recommended that you seek legal advice as soon as possible before the date on which your matter is listed. You will see the date, time and Court that you are required to attend at the top of the first page of the Court attendance notice. 

Speak to a lawyer today

The criminal procedure to bring a criminal law matter is serving a court attendance notice which sets our the criminal offences you are being charged with and the details of your court attendance. it is recommended that you consult with a solicitor as soon as you receive this document. Call or book in with the best Criminal Lawyer sydney today.

Should I use Legal Aid Criminal Lawyer Sydney?

Whilst Legal aid from the outset is a fantastic service, unfortunately, it is often a hit and miss. If you are eligible for legal aid and definitely cannot afford a private lawyer to represent you then it may be worthwhile seeking an initial consultation at the very least so that you have a broader scope of understanding. Our fees are a lot more affordable than you may think, and you will have access to some of the best minds and lawyers in the criminal defence lawyer space.

How do I know how serious my offence/charge is?

Indictable offences are more serious charges than summary offences. Each section in the Crimes Act sets out the elements of an offence and the maximum penalty. However, depending on the facts of the case and the evidence available, the penalty can be anywhere between charges being dropped and the maximum penalty for the offence. It is important that you seek legal advice to determine how serious your specific case is, regardless of how serious the charge actually is. In many cases, representations may be made to the police setting out reasons why some or all charges should be dropped and this will save you the hassle of having to go to Court or at least avoid a hearing. Select your criminal offence from the menu to see details regarding the seriousness of your offence and respective punishment, imprisonment and/or fine.  

Accessory to crime

Most people are unaware of their criminal responsibilities, particularly when it comes to criminal liability. Remember you do not have to commit an act to be found guilty of the offence in question, simply being an accessory to an offence before, after or during the act is enough to be found guilty under criminal law.

What areas of criminal law do you cover?

Common areas, including more serious offences. Including but not limited to:

Institutional abuse
Institutional abuse is among the most common cases we encounter, with both men and women subject to institutional abuse. While it doesn’t necessarily entail sexual abuse, in many cases, it does, and sexual assault is part of the Criminal Code. We handle such cases with confidentiality and cautiousness to ensure the best possible compensation outcomes.

Children-related Issues
The children’s court is frequently confronted with issues of child protection, children’s rights, custody arrangements as a result of divorce, parental responsibilities, and more.

Because we understand how far the impacts of such situations can go in the memories of children, we work rapidly and efficiently to establish protective measures against children’s trauma and minimize time spent in a children’s court. You and your children are fully protected with us!

Drugs
We have a track record of achieving outstanding results when it comes to drug offence charges, ranging from demolishing the possibility of a criminal conviction, dropping charges through negotiations, securing “not guilty” verdicts in court trials, and more.

Our drug offences include commercial drug charges, drug importation charges, drug possession charges, and cultivating prohibited plant charges. We also work with minor possessions of prohibited drug offences, providing you with legal representation throughout the process!

Fraud

Fraud is considered one of the most scheming criminal offences, and accordingly, it is punished severely by the court system’s penal code and criminal code. As specified by Australia’s penal code, the penalties can go as high as ten years of imprisonment.

Accordingly, understanding the criminal law adequately and reaching out for professional legal advice to be your intermediary with the criminal justice system is a must. We specialize in forgery, identity crimes, tax fraud, Medicare fraud, and ID fraud.

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Role Of Victim Impact Statements In Sentencing

  Summary Victim impact statements are important for the criminal process as they can influence the sentencing courts when considering penalties and punishment. Despite the fact they are essentially based on opinion, victim impact statements are written to describe the physical and emotional suffering crime has affected. A victim impact statement can be written by either the primary victim or the family, friends or other affected victims of the primary victim. A victim impact statement can be presented to the court whether the offender pleads guilty or not guilty as it is more relevant to sentencing than it is for proceedings. If you are unsure about anything to do with victim impact statements then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Jameson Law have a team of expert criminal lawyers ready and willing to assist you with anything you need. What Is A Victim Impact Statement? A victim impact statement allows the victim a voice within the criminal proceedings. It is a chance for the victim to explain their pain, suffering or mitigation of a crime committed against them. It is important for the court to understand the impact the criminal offending had on the victim so it can factor into two important issues; whether there is a continued risk to the community and whether there should be a harsher or lighter penalty considered. The court is able to use a victim impact statement to factor into sentencing matters for the defendant. At the sentencing hearing, the victim or prosecution will read the victim impact statement aloud to demonstrate the emotional suffering the victim has endured. If the defendant has plead not guilty but been found guilty of the offence, the victim impact statement can be a powerful tool. It can signify to the court the lack of remorse shown by the defendant towards the victim.   Case Study Kayla is the victim of a violent assault where she suffered a fractured skull, broken cheek bones and a broken arm. She was in significant distress at the time the police arrived at the scene. Kayla has spoken to the prosecution about wanting to provide a victim impact statement to the court. Kayla has been having nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety attacks since the assault due to the harm suffered. On top of the physical harm, there is deep emotional harm which she may never recover from. The court process so far has taken its toll on Kayla and she requires the support of both family members and a support person during the court case. The court finds her victim impact statement to have influence in relation to the defendants sentence, The court can see that Kayla has suffered harm at the hands of the defendants and that it has irreversibly changed her life. Is A Victim Impact Statement Required? There is no requirement for a victim to provide a statement about what they have suffered and how it is effecting them. In many instances, it can be too painful for the victim to even contemplate writing a statement or they simply elect not to do so. It can be confronting for a a statement to be read aloud which broadcasts the emotions and suffering of an already vulnerable individual. There are some who do not want their offender to become aware of how much pain, harm or suffering they have caused to their life, particularly if it is someone known to them. Ultimately, the facts, circumstances and harm suffered are presented to the court by the prosecution during the trial, if required, and those factors are taken into account when the determination is made. Who Can Write A Victim Impact Statement? Usually, the term “Victim Impact Statement” leads people to believe that the physical victim of the offence is the only one who can present to the court how the offending has affected them. Yet this is not the case. Criminal offending can have a far reaching effect depending on the circumstances and there may be other victims who feel its impact. The most powerful and life altering example which springs to mind is that of murder. In this instance, the victim of that offence is not able to express how the offending has impacted their lives but their family remains to share their pain and grief. The injury in this case is emotional, not physical.   Case Study Kyle has been found guilty of murder after he hit his best friend, Alex, with a car intentionally. This is a very serious crime. Kyle was upset with Alex over a debt that he owed him and they got into a heated argument when they met at the local pub. Alex went home and got changed so that he could go for a run to clear his head. Alex stayed at the bar and had a few more drinks. He got more and more upset about the argument and pulled out his phone to search for Alex’s location on social media. Kyle saw that he was running a few blocks away. Kyle got into his car and drove a few blocks away to try and find Alex. He saw him running up ahead of him. He put his foot on the accelerator and sped up the road to just behind Alex. He mounted the curb and accelerated into the back of Alex sending him flying over the back of the car where he hit the ground. Unfortunately, Alex died on impact. Alex’s family, specifically his pregnant fiance, submitted powerful victim impact statements to the court. Alex’s fiance lost not only her partner but the father of her unborn child and all the emotional, physical and financial support. It ultimately persuades the judge to attribute a harsher sentence. FAQS What Is Criminal Law? Criminal lawrefers to the punishment for criminal acts committed against individuals within the community. Each criminal court case is subject to either a Judge or Magistrate determining guilt based on evidence brought by the prosecutor and rebutted

Court Procedures in Sydney

Understanding court procedures can be confusing, but being prepared is key. Dressing professionally, bringing the necessary documents, and behaving respectfully In Sydney, court proceedings follow a structured process, from initial appearance to hearings. This article will break down all these areas of a court appearance in more depth. Trust Jameson Law for expert legal representation—they’re dedicated to fighting for your rights and will help you navigate through all the processes of your next appearance in court. Remember, we’re in it to win it! What should I wear while attending court? When attending court in Australia, it’s essential to dress respectfully and professionally. Opt for neat, conservative attire such as business attire or smart casual clothing. Men can wear a suit or dress pants with a collared shirt, while women can choose a pantsuit, dress, or skirt with a blouse. Avoid wearing clothing that is too casual, revealing, or flashy, as it may not be appropriate for the solemn atmosphere of the courtroom. Closed-toe shoes are preferable, and accessories should be kept minimal. Additionally, as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia points out, you should make sure to take off your sunglasses, hats or caps before you enter the courtroom. Being on time to court is extremely important. If you are late to your hearing or committal proceedings, If the Judge decides, you could be penalised. The maximum penalty that you face could be severe.   In a nutshell… Remember, your appearance reflects your respect for the court, so dressing appropriately shows that you take the proceedings seriously. Procedures to follow Addressing the Judge or Judicial Registrar: In Sydney courts, it’s important to address the Judge as “Your Honour” when speaking to them. For Judicial Registrars, use “Registrar” unless told otherwise. For example, you might say “Yes, your Honour” when addressing a Judge and “Yes, Registrar” when speaking to a Judicial Registrar. Courtroom Etiquette: As the Federal Court of Australia writes about here, Upon entering or leaving a courtroom with a Judge or Judicial Registrar present, it’s customary to bow your head as a sign of respect. This is something you should do in all courts, whether it be a family court, federal court or any other court of New South Wales. Court Proceedings: When your case is called, approach the Bar Table at the front of the courtroom and state your name to the Judge or Judicial Registrar. They will inquire about your claim and may set a timetable for the next steps, such as submitting evidence and pleadings. It’s a good idea to discuss timelines with the other party beforehand. Rule 5.04 outlines the types of orders a Judge may issue. By following these procedures, you ensure smooth communication and respectful conduct in Sydney courts. Contact Jameson Law today for a consultation. Whether it be a question about a court procedure, Maximum Penalties or how to move a hearing date, Jameson Law is a one-stop shop for all your legal needs! What should I Bring to Court? When heading to court in Sydney, it’s crucial to be prepared. Here’s what you should bring: Legal Documents: Bring any relevant paperwork related to your case, including court orders, summons, or legal agreements. It is important to bring 3 sets of documents with you to the court, one set for you, one set for the other party and another set for the judge or registrar. This ensures that court events go as smoothly as possible! Identification: Carry a valid form of identification, such as a driver’s license or passport, to verify your identity if needed. Notes and Evidence: Take notes on key points you want to remember and bring any evidence or documents supporting your case. Contact Information: Have contact details for your lawyer, if you have one, and any witnesses or other parties involved in the case. Pen and Paper: Bring a pen and notebook to jot down important information during the proceedings. A good lawyer: A good lawyer can make all the difference in court. The expert lawyers at Jameson Law are perfect examples of this. Before you get to the courtroom, they will make you understand in depth what is going on. having your understanding of what would happen if you plead guilty, what the maximum penalties might be, or things like how to move a hearing date to make proceedings move as smoothly as possible. Patience and Respect: Lastly, bring patience and a respectful attitude. Court proceedings can be lengthy and sometimes stressful, so maintaining composure and showing respect for the court and others involved is essential for a smooth process. Importance of a good lawyer during court proceedings In court proceedings, a proficient lawyer is essential, and Jameson Law stands out as an expert law firm in Sydney. A skilled lawyer, like those at Jameson Law, provides invaluable guidance, strategic representation, and unwavering support. With their expertise, they navigate complex legal processes, protect your rights, and strive for favourable outcomes. Jameson Law offers personalized attention, ensuring you understand your case and make informed decisions. Their dedication to achieving the best results means you have a strong ally in the courtroom, advocating fiercely for your interests. Trusting Jameson Law ensures you have top-tier legal representation when you need it most. Court behaviour In Sydney courts, proper behaviour is essential. Remember to switch off your mobile phone and nod respectfully when entering or leaving the room. Stand when addressing the judge or when they speak to you, and speak clearly without interrupting others. Be polite to everyone, including the judge or registrar and other parties involved. Take notes to stay organized and track important points. By following these guidelines, you demonstrate respect for the court and ensure smooth proceedings during your time in Sydney courtrooms. Court Appearances in Local Courts In Sydney, court appearances follow a structured process. Initially, when your case is brought before a magistrate, the charge will be recorded, and the final decision may be postponed to another date. If you plead guilty, sentencing might occur immediately for minor charges, but for more serious offences, the magistrate may request a pre-sentence report. If granted bail, you’ll receive a bail notice detailing your court appearance. Upon arrival, check the court lists for your assigned courtroom and be present when your case is called to avoid repercussions, especially if you’re on bail. Between initial appearances and hearings, there may be several ‘callovers’ or ‘mentions’ to schedule the case within the court timetable. Pleas of guilty or not guilty can be lodged during these appearances. Guilty pleas may lead to immediate sentencing or a later date set for sentencing. Not guilty pleas result

Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges

  In a nutshell… Domestic violence is a serious criminal law matter which can leave deep emotional and physical scars. Domestic violence refers to the use of physical, emotional, sexual financial or psychological violence against a spouse, partner, child or close relative. Of the five different categories of violence, charges can be made up of multiple different categories. Domestic violence charges are serious, and they can result in severe penalties. if you have been charged with a domestic violence offence, then you will need to obtain advice from an experienced domestic violence lawyer. Domestic Violence Defences Self defence is one of the most challenging aspects to domestic violence. It is common for a domestic argument to involve violence perpetrated by both parties; therefore, it is difficult to know who the victim is and who the perpetrator is. Self defence means a proportionate response to violence to diffuse a threat of harm. The level of violence required to diffuse the threat is different depending on the situation. For example, an individual may punch their partner in the face and their partner may need to defend themselves. Their defence may be to punch back which would be a proportionate response however to stab the individual would be a disproportionate response. Further criminal charges can also result including grievous bodily harm and assault. False Accusations In many instance, if not all, the alleged perpetrator will deny the existence of violence. There is a percentage of family violence cases which are false but it can be difficult to know whether the violence has or has not occurred. Physical violence has a higher chance of being proven given its nature and the usual existence of physical evidence (i.e. bruising, lacerations, etc). Emotional or psychological violence however, is not as easily proven and it can be word against word. It can therefore be easy for an alleged victim to make a false allegation and have domestic violence charges laid. A domestic violence conviction can result in lifelong consequences which follow and individual. For example, an individual could be accused of calling their partner a “fucking bitch” and making verbal threats to kill them. These threats could have created a genuine fear of harm which is simply word against word because there is no hard evidence of the threat. The threat could have severely impacted the life of the victim because they have increased anxiety and fear, yet they will have difficulty proving that this is the case. Insufficient Evidence A domestic violence case is ultimately dependent on evidence and sometimes, no matter the honesty of the victim, the evidence simply does not exist. A large amount of domestic violence is perpetrated in private, without witnesses, and there is no record. Emotional or psychological abuse for example is perpetrated in subtle ways which may not even be apparent to a close family member. Most domestic violence of this nature makes its way to the surface through family law such as a custody case where behavior is more easily observed. Violence can manifest in ways which are not physical and victims have difficulty explaining the impact the behavior is having. Having a domestic violence matter dismissed due to a lack of evidence however is no guarantee. More evidence may become available and the charges could be laid again. Each domestic violence case only needs to pass the test of beyond a reasonable doubt   Case Study Kayla has been charged with domestic violence charges and is due to come before the court in May. She is charged with two counts of physical violence and one count of emotional violence. Kayla’s boyfriend has made statements to police that Kayla punched him to the throat, scratched him across the back and sent him an abusive text message. Kayla is aware that domestic violence cases carry significant penalties and there are only limited defences. Kayla seeks to rely on self defense because she alleges that her partner hit her first and she was only defending herself when she scratched and punched him. She will however be pleading guilty to the abusive text message. Kayla’s self defense argument is partially accepted however she is still found guilty of assault. She received a suspended sentence. Criminal Justice System Domestic Violence Trial If you have been charged with a domestic violence offence and have chosen to plead not guilty then your matter will proceed to trial. A trial is a process whereby the evidence is presented and tested to determine guilt. It is an expensive and time-consuming legal process. A domestic violence trial under criminal law will be heard in the appellate court, local court or supreme court depending on the severity. A trial in the Supreme Court will be subject to a jury determination. It is the role of the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Domestic Violence cases heard in the Family Court however are different. No criminal charges can result from a family court trial alone as it is a completely different jurisdiction. If an individual has been accused of domestic violence then this can have flow on effects for their family law matters. A domestic violence charge can indicate risk to either their spouse, partner or child and the court must determine the best course for the family using the best interests principle. Procedural Errors Procedural errors are one of the leading causes of mistrials. A mistrial occurs when the trial or evidence has been compromised in some way and it would be prejudicial to continue. A procedural error may be due to contamination of evidence, property damage or evidence being brought before the court and jury which needs to be disregarded. A procedural error can cause a miscarriage of justice if for some reason the prosecution is unable to retry the case at a later date. You should seek legal advice before making any procedural arguments to ensure correct interpretation of legislation, policies and processes. Both police, the court and each individual lawyer will have

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