Ashleigh Wallace, Criminal Lawyer
Ashleigh Wallace formerly worked at a reputable criminal law firm and Fitzroy Legal Service before bringing her valuable insight to Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers. Admitted to legal practice in 2020, she has been a member of Law Institute Victoria since 2016 and Women in Crime since 2018.
Ashleigh understands the challenges and uncertainties facing those in the criminal justice system, and she is committed to the right of every person to receive fair and just treatment at law. With compassion and personability, Ashleigh builds valuable client rapport and achieves excellent results.
Based at our Ringwood office, Ashleigh regularly appears in the Ringwood Magistrates Court for pleas of guilty, contest mentions, bail applications and intervention order matters. As a passionate advocate, Ashleigh is driven to achieve the best outcomes for her clients.
Ashleigh’s recent case outcomes:
1. Serious injury and unlawful assault charges, Heidelberg Children’s Court
Ashleigh Wallace appeared at the Heidelberg Children’s Court representing a client charged with a family violence assault, recklessly causing injury and recklessly causing serious injury. A no-contact family violence intervention order (IVO) was in place as a result of the allegations.
Our client faced charges for allegedly punching his stepfather, causing serious injury. He stated he was acting in self-defence when interviewed by police. On reviewing the brief of evidence, it appeared that police had not obtained a statement from our client’s father, who was present on the day.
A thorough analysis of the evidence indicated that the client was a victim of repeated family violence by his stepfather and was acting in self-defence. Ashleigh presented the inconsistencies in the case, and the prosecution withdrew all charges. The Magistrate also struck out the intervention order.
2. Serious drugs charges, Ringwood and Melbourne Magistrates’ Court
Ashleigh Wallace appeared in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court, representing a client charged with cultivating, trafficking and possessing drugs of dependence. Further investigations resulted in additional charges for cultivating and trafficking a commercial quantity of drugs. These more serious and indictable charges are subject to severe penalties typically heard in the County Court.
Ashleigh identified that the substance was not dry at the time of analysis by police and, once dried, the cannabis did not meet the threshold for commercial quantity. Following extensive negotiations with the prosecution, charges were reduced to a single charge of cultivating cannabis. By application, the matter proceeded in the summary jurisdiction, heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
Our client pleaded guilty to the charge, and Ashleigh made extensive submissions, including that there was no evidence of planning, the client had otherwise excellent character and a lack of criminal record. Despite submissions from the prosecution that a financial penalty with conviction was appropriate, the Magistrate imposed an adjourned undertaking (good behaviour bond) without conviction.
Given that the matter could have been heard in the County Court, potentially resulting in more severe sentencing outcomes, this was an excellent outcome.
3. Sexual activity directed at another and use of carriage service to menace, Ringwood Magistrates’ Court
Ashleigh represented a client charged with sexual activity directed at another person and the Commonwealth offences of using a carriage service to menace and using a carriage service in a manner a reasonable person would regard as offensive.
Appearing at the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court, following a guilty plea, Ashleigh submitted mitigating factors, including the client’s lack of criminal history, cooperation with police, an early plea of guilty, presence of significant remorse, mental health issues, and treatment intervention sought.
The Court imposed a treatment-only Community Corrections Order, requiring the client to remain in ongoing treatment with health practitioners. Following submissions about a conviction’s impact on the client, particularly concerning their future prospects, the Court sentenced with non-conviction.
In determining an application for sex offender registration from the prosecution, Ashleigh submitted that the client did not pose a risk to the community such that sex offender registration was inappropriate. The Court ultimately agreed, and our client was not registered as a sex offender, which would have had significant adverse implications for our client.
4. Firearm offences, Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court
Ashleigh Wallace appeared at the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court, representing a client charged with possessing a handgun without holding a firearms licence and failing to dispose of a handgun within 28 days of a firearms licence not being renewed.
Ashleigh engaged in extensive summary case conferencing with the prosecution and relied on several factors when requesting that the prosecution recommend the matter for diversion, including the unusual circumstances of the offending, that the client had no criminal history and that a criminal record would adversely affect their employment prospects.
The prosecution referred the matter to the Licensing and Regulation Division of Victoria Police for approval, and both the prosecution and the Licensing and Regulation Division agreed to a diversion program. The matter was considered by a Magistrate who agreed to a diversion program.
5. Infringements totalling $70,000, Ringwood Magistrates’ Court
Ashleigh Wallace appeared at the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court for a client with various enforcement warrants amounting to over $70,000. Ashleigh made an application under section 165 of the Fines Reforms Act 2014 seeking that the fines be discharged and that the client pay an amount within their means. Considering the circumstances, including the client’s mental illness, and that imprisonment would be unduly harsh, the Magistrate agreed to partially discharge the fines, ordering the client to pay only $10,000.