the client was involved in an altercation with another motorist in the car park at a service station on his way to work. The client, seated in his vehicle, had blown his horn to try and hurry up a motorist in front of him who was blocking the exit to the car park, and failing to move his motor vehicle. The other motorist got out of his vehicle and proceeded to make an offensive gesture towards the client.
In response, the client exited his vehicle, and kicked the side of the alleged victim’s vehicle, causing a dent to the side of the vehicle. The client then returned to his vehicle to leave the scene. The alleged victim got out of his car, and attempted to block the pathway of the client as he attempted to leave the service station. The client had to maneuver his vehicle to exit the car park, and in so doing, made contact with the alleged victim. The client was later charged with Malicious Damage and Negligent Driving. The client was a person of otherwise good character, who needed to travel overseas in order to undertake business and charitable work in third world countries. Therefore the possibility of a conviction would have been detrimental to his capacity to undertake both.
The matter came before Manly Local Court. The alleged victim had initially denied having made the gesture which provoked the incident. However, an independent witness came forward to give an account which corroborated our client’s allegation of provocation. After undertaking negotiations with the Prosecution as to what the correct facts of the matter were, an agreement was reached which enabled the client to pursue his initial intention of pleading guilty, if the correct facts were before the Court. In sentencing submissions, it was put to the Court that the objective criminality of the client was minimal, given the entire incident was not of his own making, and had been caused by anti-social behaviour on the part of the other motorist. In addition, the client’s otherwise exemplary character and activities in the community were emphasized.
Ultimately, the Magistrate agreed with the submission that notwithstanding the circumstances of the charges, recording convictions would be excessive. The matters were thus dismissed conditional upon the client entering into a good behaviour bond pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 for a period of 12 months. As a consequence, no convictions were recorded, and provided that the client remained of good behaviour for the next 12 months no further action would be taken.
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