Burglary with Intent to Assault; Assault; Criminal Damage; Resist Police. Frankston Magistrates’ Court.
The client had been out with friends for the evening in Mornington. He was planning on staying with one of his friends overnight, whose house he had only been to once before. Not in the habit of being a big drinker, he realised at some point in the evening he had drunk too much. He wanted to leave, but couldn’t find his friend. He decided to go back to his friend’s house by himself and go to sleep.
Unfortunately, the intoxicated client got the wrong house. After knocking for some time and not being let in, he started kicking the door with his full force, yelling at his friend to get up and let him in. The inhabitants of the house were a 65-year-old couple. They were understandably petrified and called the police. The police responded very quickly, and six police officers discovered the client trying to kick the door in. The client did not understand why the police were there. He initially resisted police intervention but soon succumbed after being sprayed with pepper spray.
The client was facing very serious charges. The prosecution case was that the client intended to enter the premises to assault the inhabitants. Initially there appeared to be a strong case but eventually, after we had received all the evidence, taken instructions and engaged in lengthy negotiations with the Frankston prosecution, we were able to persuade the police to withdraw the most serious charge of Aggravated Burglary.
They accepted that the client was very drunk and that it was therefore quite plausible he had got the wrong house. They couldn’t establish the client’s degree of intent beyond reasonable doubt.
Usually drunkenness is not a defence. In this case though, as the client was not just disinhibited due to his level of intoxication but so drunk that he thought he was actually doing something else, the prosecution were prepared to withdraw the main charge. On a side note, the informant had listed the matter in the wrong jurisdiction, which also assisted in a speedy resolution of this case.
The matter resolved to charges of Criminal Damage and Resist Police. On a plea of guilty, the client received a small fine without conviction. Needless to say the client and his partner were very relieved.