This scheme is available across all Magistrates’ Courts in Victoria.
It is not available where you are charged with an offence punishable by a minimum or fixed sentence or penalty. This includes cancellation or suspension of a motor vehicle licence.
The main benefit for anyone who is offered the Diversion program is that they will have avoid a finding of guilty on their criminal record for the offence which is diverted.
In many cases, some form of rehabilitation or counselling may be mandated. Eligible candidates may be asked to write a letter of thanks to police for recommending Diversion, or a letter of apology to the victim if applicable. A contribution to the Court Fund is often imposed, which will be distributed to charities in the surrounding area of the Court.
Who can get Diversion?
- You must have been charged with an offence that can be heard summarily (in the Magistrates’ Court),
- The offence is not subject to fixed penalty or minimum fixed sentence,
- You have admitted responsibility for the offence; and
- The Prosecution (and usually Informant) must consent to the matter going to diversion.
If the above matters are satisfied then a Magistrate MAY approve any Diversion. The court may inform itself in any manner in considering a diversion application.
Diversion is generally not considered suitable where the matter arises out of a domestic assault or family violence matter. Similarly, it is unlikely diversion will be granted where an accused person already has a prior criminal history.
However, some exceptions can apply.
If the Magistrate refuses a diversion application, the matter will be sent back to the mention court for determination.
An Informant may or may not recommend a diversion. We have been successful on many occasions obtaining consent to diversion where it was initially considered inappropriate.
Call Slades & Parsons Solicitors for legal advice to prepare your application, represent you and maximise the chance of success.