Attempted Robbery; Case Study
The client had been charged with the following:
- Attempt to commit robbery under s 321M of the Crimes Act 1958
- Intentionally cause injury under s 18 of the Crimes Act 1958
- Theft of a motor vehicle under s 74 of the Crimes Act 1958
The complainant alleged that our client had approached him whilst the complainant was in his car and that we had demanded a large sum of money. Upon denial of that money, it is alleged that out client punched the complainant through the window, twice to the face, and then chased him away with a wooden stick. It is then alleged that our client stole the complainant’s vehicle.
Our client denied the allegations. He admitted though, that he knew the complainant vaguely from several years earlier, but had had nothing to do with him for a long period of time.
The vehicle was found several blocks away from where it was alleged to have been taken, it had some minor damage to it, and no DNA sample or forensic testing was completed on the vehicle.
When taking the statement from the complainant, the officer involved brought up a picture of our client on the police database from years earlier to confirm the complainant’s story and identification.
This matter initially began in the summary stream, however upon hearing the complexities involved, the Magistrate decided that it should be determined in the County Court and uplifted it, moving it to the committal stream. This can occur where there are charges that are indictable offences but that are triable summarily.
When a matter is uplifted, it becomes more complicated. One step in this process is the committal hearing. This is a hearing held in the Magistrates’ Court to determine if there is enough evidence to go forward to a trial. At this stage in the process, the defendant is able to question witnesses for the prosecution on the evidence they intend to give at trial.
Through analysing the brief, we determined which witnesses we intended to question at the committal. We decided we wanted to question the complainant on the veracity of his statement, the officer who showed the complainant a picture of our client, and the informant who was in charge on the investigation.
As per the legislation we let the prosecution know our intentions to question the police officer on the deficiencies regarding identification, and the lack of forensic testing, despite the existence of used coffee cups found inside the motor vehicle. We also intended to question the complainant on details of his statement as the allegations were denied.
Through this process, the prosecution offered a plea deal, that if our client were to plead guilty to robbery they would withdraw the other charges, this offer was firmly rejected.
In the end the prosecution came back to us to let us know they would be withdrawing all charges against our client.
We were successful in this case because we were across the brief and were able to point out the prosecution deficiencies early and engage in meaningful negotiations which resulted in our client not having to stand trial and move on with his life. If you are facing robbery charges call an experienced criminal lawyer today.