Nick Tehan of our office represented an Accused who had been charged with aggravated burglary and armed robbery. Our client, along with several co-accused, was alleged to have forced entry into a private licenced restaurant after hours, confronted the owners present, and made demands for money, cigarettes and alcohol whilst being armed with weapons including a screwdriver and a knife. Our client’s criminal record is extensive despite being a young adult.
Our client had difficulty recalling the sequence of events because he was under the influence of alcohol at the relevant time. He admitted to being present and to entering the premises to steal alcohol. He further admitted that an altercation had occurred in which he attempted to steal from the victims. He stated that at one point he had a screwdriver but he could not recall when he showed this to the victims.
We briefed a barrister and worked closely with them in preparing for the committal proceeding. Our aim was to try to cast doubt on the prosecution case in relation to the serious charges of aggravated burglary and armed robbery. Counsel skillfully drew inconsistencies between the witnesses’ versions of events which allowed us to leverage further negotiations with the prosecution. Following the committal, we were able to achieve a favourable settlement with the prosecution. Our client agreed to plead guilty to burglary, attempted robbery, and common law assault. These three charges are significantly less serious than the two charges he originally faced.
We thoroughly prepared the plea hearing for our client, ensuring we had a detailed personal history and reports from a psychologist and neuropsychologist. Our client was sentenced to an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour for 12 months, with a condition that he comply with his Justice Plan. A Justice Plan is sometimes available to offenders who have an intellectual disability. From the neuropsychological testing that we commissioned, we were able to ascertain that our client would be eligible for a Justice Plan.
This case demonstrates the importance of close forensic analysis of the evidence, and the positive outcomes that can be achieved from skillful negotiation.