Melbourne Children’s Court Theft Charge
The client was a child and was facing one charge of theft in the Melbourne Children’s Court.
The client was with a group of four friends in the city. One of the group entered a liquor store and stole a bottle of spirits. Our client waited outside. Upon exiting the store, the first member of the group handed the bottle to one of the others and the group continued walking.
The incident was witnessed by an undercover Detective Sergeant who reported the incident to police in the area. Police attended and apprehended the group. All 5 members of the group were charged with the theft on the basis that the group was acting in concert.
The prosecution were unwilling to withdraw the charge because their key witness, the Detective Sergeant, was confident that she heard the group planning the theft and celebrating after the first member returned with the bottle. This matter proceeded to a contested hearing.
The case should not have gone past a first mention. Nevertheless, at the contested hearing we were prepared to enter a “no case submission” at the end of the prosecution case. This is a submission saying there is no case to answer. As the Detective Sergeant had not identified the individual co-accused she could therefore not positively say what each co-accused had said.
On the day of the contested hearing, after lengthy discussions at court, the prosecution withdrew the charge and the matter did not proceed as a contested hearing. This meant that the client avoided a criminal record for that charge.
It was the outcome that should rightfully have occurred in the first instance. However, ultimately sometimes the prosecution will not withdraw until the final hearing, even when they should.