Sex Offender Registration Breach
Failing to Comply with Reporting Obligations (section 46 of the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004). Ringwood Magistrates’ Court.
The client had received a wholly suspended sentence in relation to a proven sex offence, and had been put on the Sex Offender Register. His obligations included reporting regularly to police. Any proven breach of the Sex Offenders Registration Act would potentially activate the wholly suspended term of imprisonment.
During the client’s first reporting session he indicated to the interviewing officer that he was in the process of renewing his passport but that he had not received the new official document yet. He provided his old passport number. In due course he received his new passport. Unaware that a new passport has a new number, the client did not report this new number to police. He was subsequently charged with Failing to Comply with Reporting Obligations.
The client engaged in a formal Record of Interview with police in relation to failing to report. He indicated that he was unaware that your passport number changes when you renew a passport. The interviewing officer conceded in the interview that he understood how the client could make that mistake.
After reading the brief, taking instructions and listening to the Record of Interview it could clearly be established the client genuinely believed that the passport number didn’t change on renewal.
Looking at the facts and the investigating officer’s own concession during interview, there was a strong case that the omission was certainly an understandable error. This meant a defence of Honest and Reasonable Mistake was open to the client.
Following a written submission, the prosecution were prepared to withdraw the charge at a First Mention. This was an excellent outcome as the client was saved the stress and expense of running the matter to a Contested Hearing. It also meant that the client’s suspended sentence was not activated.