Our client had no criminal convictions. He had been in an intimate relationship with a woman for a couple of years, however this had come to an end. They had been living in a unit sharing one bedroom, with his girlfriend’s sister renting another room. The lease for the unit was in our client’s name. The girlfriend and sister agreed to leave the unit by the following weekend.
One morning, the girlfriend made allegations that our client had pushed her causing her to fall to the ground. She claimed that a bag containing her clothes had been emptied over her or thrown at her. She then walked out of the bedroom and then outside to the end of the driveway where she was behaving hysterically, shouting and screaming, wearing only her underwear. She alleged that our client grabbed her phone and smashed it on the driveway. Our client asked her to return inside and stop making a scene. Police later attended the address and took a statement from the girlfriend but not from her sister.
Arrest and Police Charges
Our client was charged with Common Assault (section 61 Crimes Act 1900) – potential penalty if dealt with summarily in the Local Court is imprisonment up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,200; Stalking/Intimidation (section 13(1) Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007) – potential penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment and $5,500 fine or both; and Contravene AVO (section 14(1) Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007) – potential penalty of 2 years imprisonment and fine of $5,500 or both.
There was no damage to the phone. There was no injury. Police declined to take a statement from the sister – believing that her account might not be independent.
The girlfriend was cross examined and admitted there was no damage to the phone. She said that she did not see our client throw the phone. The sister gave evidence quite consistent with our client’s version – that he had not touched or assaulted her sister either inside or outside of the house. There was a further independent witness – police had the contact details for the witness but made no effort to obtain a statement or call the person to give evidence.
Our client was found not guilty of all charges. The prosecution must prove their case beyond reasonable doubt. The court could never be satisfied given the significant inconsistencies in the girlfriend’s evidence and the substantial contradictions from both her sister and our client when compared to the alleged victim’s account.
Why you need our expertise
This case is an example of how easy it is for false complaints to be made which can have serious consequences upon an accused. A convincing liar may be believed when they give evidence, leading to a criminal conviction, criminal record and an apprehended violence order. There is nothing stopping a liar to make a false complaint of breaching an AVO at a later time. Careful case preparation and cross examination is required – which is why you need the expert lawyer services of Nyman Gibson Miralis.