Author: Phillip Gibson
Campbelltown Local Court
Represented by Solicitor: Phillip Gibson, Accredited Specialist Criminal Law
A violent robbery took place upon a service station by 4 persons, at night, each armed with knives. Cigarettes, 2 knives and clothing were found nearby. Fingerprint testing identified 2 juveniles who were subsequently charged with the offence. Fingerprint testing on the underside of the cash register till revealed a fingerprint belonging to the client. The client used to work at the service station.
CCTV footage captured the robbery. The 4 offenders all appeared to be around the same height and build. The service station operator stated that all of the offenders appeared to be ‘Aussies’ with ‘Aussie’ accents. They appeared on the footage to have white skin.
On the strength of the fingerprint, police issued a warrant for the arrest of our client. Unbelievably, he was arrested upon return from his honeymoon when he flew back into Australia.
Our client is a very tall, dark skinned Fijian Indian with an accent. He could not match the description given by the operator. It could not be said that he had the build of a juvenile. The fingerprint was not located in the position that the actual offender touched the tray – as depicted in the CCTV footage.
In more than 1 ½ years, police failed to follow up DNA evidence – despite our repeated requests. Our client took part in a record of interview and pointed out the heights of the offenders and the skin colour.
The charge was dismissed by the Magistrate and costs were awarded against the Director of Public Prosecutions due to the abysmal failure of the police to properly investigate this case.
Time and time again we see people charged with serious criminal charges like this one – where the penalty upon conviction would be many years in gaol.