Case Study: Aggravated Home Invasion, Kids’ Court
- Aggravated Home Invasion under s 77A of the Crimes Act 1958
- Aggravated Burglary under s 77 of the Crimes Act 1958
- Theft under s 74 of the Crimes Act 1958
- Intentionally cause injury under s 18 of the Crimes Act 1958
- Recklessly cause injury under s 18 of the Crimes Act 1958
- Unlawful assault under s 23 of the Summary Offences Act 1966
This matter involved four defendants.
All four co-accused were working on motorbikes in the garage of the parents of one of the co-offenders. A group of other young people have walked past, and an argument has occurred between the groups. The second group of teenagers have the gone inside the house next door. The four co-offenders have then entered the house without permission. Several of the occupants locked themselves in a bathroom in the house, upon seeing the co-offenders enter. The co-offenders were yelling at the occupants to open the door or they would break it down. As the door opened, the co-offenders began grabbing each of the occupants and removing them from the bathroom and emptying their pockets.
One of the co-offenders has taken a baseball cap from one of the occupants’, and then punched him in the face, causing his nose to break. The four co-offenders have then left the house.
As the offenders were all under the age of 18 at the time of the offending, their matters were heard in the Children’s Court, a specialist court to deal with crimes committed by those whom the law considers a child.
Please be aware since this matter concluded, the law has changed. It is now the case that any child charged with the offence of home invasion would be dealt with in the County Court of Victoria, and therefore face more severe sentences and ramifications.
In relation to this matter, importantly our client was not the one who had punched the occupant in the face or taken his property.
Our client had no priors, and as such was assessed to see if he qualified for the diversion program.
For more information on diversion. Unsurprisingly the Magistrate refused to place the co-offenders on a diversion program in this matter, finding that the seriousness of the charges made an open court finding important.
One of the co-offenders was more involved in the offending than the others, specifically the one who stole property and injured the victim. This offender and two others were all sentenced on the same day. The one who injured the victim was put on probation for 12 months, with the other two given probation for 9 months. They all, similarly had no prior offences on their record.
Our client had not been sentenced at the same time as the other three, and his matter was handled later by the Court.
By the time the matter had gotten to the Court, almost 9 months had passed since the incident. In this situation, the Court often grants parity between co-offenders. This means that those who are similarly involved in the same offending and circumstances, should get a comparable sentence.
We were able to distinguish our client from the other co-offenders, as there were a number of statements that said he assisted the victim after his nose was broken, by giving him a towel for the blood. We were also able to show that he had kept himself out of trouble in the 9 months that has passed, and he had no more association with the other co-offenders.
As such the Magistrate decided to not find parity with the co-offenders, and instead sentence our client to an adjourned undertaking for a period of 9 months without a conviction.
This case evidences a number of things, including the importance of skilled legal representation navigating through what is often a complicated legal process, especially involving very serious offending. There were a number of different scenarios that could have played out in this matter, including diversion, probation and a real possibility of a custodial sentence. It is therefore important to be aware of all options that are available in any given matter and advise the client and take instructions carefully to guarantee the best result.