Frankston Children’s Court Lawyers – Children’s Court Frankston
Frankston Children’s Court Lawyers – Affray – Recklessly Cause Injury – Unlawful Assault – Probation
Frankston Children’s Court Charges:
- Affray (Common Law Offence)
- Section 18 Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) – Recklessly Cause Injury x 2
- Section 23 Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) – Unlawful Assault x 2
Frankston Children’s Court Penalties:
- Affray has always been considered a serious offence. Prior to 2010 it could only be dealt with in the County or Supreme Courts.
Prior to 13 September 2017, the offence of Affray was contained within common law. Section 195H of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic) sets out the maximum penalty, being five (5) years imprisonment, or seven (7) years if the offender is using a face covering to conceal their identity or to protect them from a crowd altering substance.
The offence of Affray requires that there is violence, or a threat of violence, to the degree that a person of reasonable firmness would be terrified in the circumstances.
- The maximum penalty for Recklessly Cause Injury is imprisonment of five (5) years.
- The maximum penalty for Unlawful Assault is a fine of 15 penalty units (approximately $2,400) or imprisonment of three (3) months.
Frankston Children’s Court Facts:
Our client was out with friends when they were encountered by another group of youths. A fight ensued, where one member of the other group was injured and another assaulted. The fight occurred in the front yard of a house. At the time of the offending our client was intoxicated and had used cannabis.
The parties separated prior to police arriving, and our client was arrested and interviewed at a later date. Our client made admissions to the behaviour during his interview. The matter was summary case conferenced with Prosecution, and it was determined that only one Recklessly Cause Injury charge and one Unlawful Assault charge would proceed.
Due to our client’s criminal history, he was not eligible for the Ropes Program or a Children’s Court Diversion Program. The matter proceeded as a plea of guilty at court, together with a co-accused who pleaded guilty to identical charges. As the matter was heard in the Children’s Court, there were a number of options available to the magistrate that do not exist for accused persons who are adults. As such, we made a submission that the matter should be adjourned for a group conference to be conducted and a pre-sentence report to be prepared.
Frankston Children’s Court Group Conferencing:
Section 415 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) allows the Children’s Court to defer sentence to allow a young person to participate in a group conference if the magistrate is considering placing the young person on a supervisory order, such as probation. It is important to note that a group conference cannot take place if the young person does not consent to participating.
A group conference aims at showing a young person how their offending not only affects the victims, but also the wider community. It also aims to have the young person attempt to repair the harm that they have caused due to their offending.
A group conference is attended by a number of people:
- The young person
- Their family and/or support people (such as Youth Justice Worker)
- Their legal representative
- The victim and/or their representatives (such as someone from the Victim Resource Centre)
- The victim’s family and/or support people
- Police informant or their representative (such as a Youth Resource Officer)
- Members of the community
- The convenor of the group conference
All participants speak about the offending and the effect that it has had. It allows the young person to see the different aspects to their offending and enables them to reflect on their behaviour and consider what they would have done differently.
An outcome plan is formulated, by the young person where they highlight the things that they can do to help repair the harm that their offending has caused as well as ways to prevent the behaviour from being repeated. For example, letters of apology to primary and secondary victims for the harm that has been caused, whether it be physical, emotional or financial.
A report is prepared by the convenor following the completion of the group conference and it is presented to the court.
Frankston Children’s Court Pre-sentence Report:
Section 571 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic) enables the court to order a pre-sentence report be prepared by Youth Justice with respect to any matter before it.
The young person is required to engage with Youth Justice who can assist in linking them into various services in order to assist with their rehabilitation and address offending behaviours. Youth Justice will then prepare a report for the court and make a recommendation with respect to an appropriate sentence.
Frankston Children’s Court Outcome:
The magistrate was hesitant to order the group conference as he was concerned that the victims would be forced to participate in the conference. We made submissions that although the victims would be invited to participate, a victim’s advocate would attend in their stead if they declined and our client would still benefit from learning about the ongoing effects of his offending. His Honour agreed that it would be beneficial for all involved if our client received this insight as it would likely have an impact on his future decision-making, should he ever be involved in a similar situation.
The matter returned to court and favourable reports from Youth Justice and the Group Conference were tendered. Our client had engaged well with Youth Justice who helped link him in with mental health services and treatment for drug and alcohol use. He had also obtained full-time employment during the deferral period.
The magistrate decided that, although he was originally considering a more serious penalty, a period of probation would be an appropriate outcome in the circumstances. Accordingly, our client was placed on probation for a period of 12 months, without conviction.
Our client was very grateful for the opportunity given to him to continue to work with Youth Justice and address his underlying issues, as well as being afforded the opportunity to avoid a more serious outcome.