Our client had an argument with his step daughter. His step daughter walked toward him aggressively and our client pushed her away. The step daughter attempted to strike him and our client continued pushing her away. The step daughter called the police immediately; she alleged our client had punched her to the face and body, grabbed the back of her hair and thrown her on the floor. The Police attended the scene and charged our client with assault. Our client had never been in trouble before and was worried about the effect of a criminal conviction. A plea of not guilty was entered and the matter set down for defended hearing.
Not Guilty. At the hearing we cross-examined the alleged victim at length. We extracted a number of inconsistencies and improbabilities in her evidence. Even though our client had pushed his step daughter first, the court still accepted that he acted in self defence. The Magistrate held that our client’s version of events was to be preferred to the evidence of the “victim”. The Magistrate held that the prosecution could not negative self defence. Our client was found not guilty of the offence and was relieved he had avoided a criminal conviction. It is not uncommon for police to accept the word of the person making the first complaint – taking sides and commencing a prosecution. It is often difficult for police because the person accused of doing something wrong sensibly wishes to maintain their right to silence. Defending clients in these circumstances requires a thorough understanding of the Evidence Act.