Catherine Smith walked free from the Sydney District Court on 30 May 2008 having been found not guilty of Attempted Murder, Attempting to Discharge a Firearm with Intent to Murder and Possess Firearm with Intent to Commit and indictable offence. Catherine gave evidence of having been raped, tortured, and abused over a period of 30 years.
Her solicitor, a Partner of Nyman Gibson Miralis and an Accredited Specialist in Criminal Law took over the defence of Catherine Smith way back in September 2006 when she had endured almost 3 months in custody. He immediately sought and obtained bail for Catherine in the Local Court – notwithstanding the exteremely serious nature of the allegations, and claimed strength by the prosecution of their case.
The next 18 months were spend in preparation for trial, including holding an all important Committal Hearing where valuable information was forthcoming.
Battered Wife Syndrome is perhaps the best generic description of the psychological trauma that Catherine was suffering from as a result of the years of unspeakable abuse. Psychiatrists have labelled her condition Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – a learned helplessness that develops after repeated violent abuse which can leave the sufferer prone to intense anxiety, hypervigilence and other similar symptoms that cause them to feel that they have to ‘fight or flight’ to survive. Having said that, Catherine Smith was not helpless. She managed to break free from the marriage. Notwithstanding this fact, she continued to live in fear of being hunted down and tortured and/or murdered.
There are many women in the same position that Catherine Smith found herself in. She potentially faced life imprisonment. Fortunately, Nyman Gibson Miralis were able to provide the expert legal representation required to defend such charges.