Breach Suspended Sentence
One charge of Burglary and one charge of Breach a Suspended Sentence.
The client had a lengthy criminal history. His prior offending mainly related to assaults and driving offences.
These new charges related to a night where the client and his friend were out drinking. Towards the end of the night the client was asked to assist in stealing an air conditioning unit from a nearby construction site, to which he agreed.
During the course of the burglary the neighbours were alerted and called the police. The client and his friend left the scene without the unit, however the client was later identified by DNA that was left at the scene.
This offence occurred while the client was on a two month suspended sentence which he had received for driving whilst disqualified.
When a person breaches a suspended sentence they must satisfy the Court that there are exceptional circumstances to explain why the sentence should not be imposed. The Court of Appeal has ruled that a single factor or a combination of factors can amount to exceptional circumstances.
Our lawyer appeared at court and relied on the following by way of exceptional circumstances:
1. There was a significant delay between when the offence occurred and when the charges were brought before the court. There was no further offending in the interim period and the suspended sentence was due to expire.
2. The client had no prior convictions for dishonesty and it was conceded by the prosecution that his involvement in the burglary was limited.
3. The client suffered from severe allergic asthma which required fortnightly visits to hospital for treatment. The client was also required to carry an EpiPen at all times as there was a high risk of anaphylaxis with his course of treatment.
Our lawyer argued that due to the client’s medical condition, prison would be significantly more onerous for him. The client would not be permitted to carry an EpiPen with him in prison, and he would not be able to continue with his treatment regime, thereby placing his life at risk.
The court accepted these submissions and found exceptional circumstances did indeed exist in this case. The client was placed on a further suspended sentence. This meant that the client avoided immediate jail.