Michael Brown, Criminal Lawyer
Michael Brown is a founding partner at Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers, one of the most accomplished specialist criminal law firms, since 2010.
Michael was admitted to legal practice in 2007 and, upon recognition of his enhanced skills and substantial involvement in criminal law, received specialist accreditation (Law Institute of Victoria) in 2012. Michael’s early experience was shaped by extensive volunteer work with community legal services, where he learned first-hand the intricacies and challenges of the legal system.
Over his career, Michael has gained experience in a broad range of summary and indictable criminal law matters, with specialist experience defending sexual offence charges. Michael has appeared in both the Magistrates Court and County Court as an advocate in relation to a variety of matters. Michael also routinely works with Victoria’s most esteemed barristers and has successfully instructed in trial and appellate jurisdictions in both the County and Supreme Court of Victoria.
Recognised by his clients for his dedication and relentless commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes, Michael is meticulous and conducts his work with unwavering professionalism and integrity.
Michael’s recent case outcomes:
1. Murder - Charges reduced
Our client was with two friends at another friend’s house. Everyone was drinking heavily and an altercation broke out around the pool. At some point, one of the client’s friends was bashed and left to drown in the pool. The second friend provided a statement shortly afterwards to the police, stating that our client was responsible for the death.
After viewing the brief of evidence and taking instructions from the client, it was clear that the prosecution had a very strong case in relation to the charge of manslaughter but not to the charge of murder. Accordingly, and in collaboration with the client, we offered to resolve the matter on a plea of guilty to manslaughter. This offer was rejected by the prosecution.
After requesting further medical evidence as to the cause of death, it became clear that there were problems with the statement made by a witness present during the incident. The prosecution still would not consider reducing the charge to manslaughter.
As is often the case, two days before the trial, the prosecution acquiesced and accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter. The client received a sentence of imprisonment for eight years with a non-parole period of six years. This was a very good outcome for our client.
Murder is the most serious charge that an accused person can face, and our client could have faced a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. If you or your loved one is facing a charge of murder, you should engage a lawyer experienced in defending murder charges by calling Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers.
2. Reckless Conduct Endanger Serious Injury - Acting in Concert - Frankston Magistrates Court
The charges arose from alleged conduct with two friends, Brett* and Shane*. Brett had started seeing Shane’s girlfriend. Shane was upset and tried to track Brett down in his car. Shane found Brett with his girlfriend and began to pursue him doggedly by car.
Our client was called in to assist Shane. He agreed, with the intention to calm down the situation. Brett was now being pursued by both Shane and our client in the same car. Eventually, Shane caught up with Brett. He cut across Brett in traffic, forcing him to stop, and produced some knuckledusters. He repeated this once Brett had parked his vehicle, and an assault ensued. Brett suffered a serious injury. Our client was charged as a co-accused on the basis that he was acting in concert with Shane or potentially aiding and abetting.
Just because someone is there and does not stop what is happening does not make that person guilty. The prosecution must establish that the defendant has either assisted or encouraged the main offender in some way. If this can’t be done, charges must be withdrawn.
So the prosecution’s challenge was that they needed to establish that our client had either:
- agreed to assist in tracking down Brett with the intention of assaulting him; or
- that he became involved and then assisted Shane in attacking Brett.
Shane made a no-comment interview (i.e. replied ‘no comment’ to every question he was asked), and our client made a comment interview. Fortunately for our client, he did not make clear admissions to assisting or agreeing to assist. However, given that he had driven Shane for a period and Shane had knuckledusters in his hand, he still had issues in relation to the charges.
After lengthy negotiations with the prosecution, it was agreed that the matter could be resolved on the basis that the client plead guilty to a charge of careless driving. The summary was by then so watered down that our client received a $400 fine with no time off the road. This was a fantastic outcome for our client.
*names have been changed
3. Rape, Indecent Assault - Melbourne County Court.
Our client was charged with rape and indecent assault. It was alleged by the prosecution that our client, a massage therapist, had inserted his finger into the vagina of the complainant three times (digital penetration) and massaged the complainant’s breasts whilst performing a therapeutic massage.
The client attended our offices early, and this assisted our office in preparing a detailed defence. During the committal hearing (the preliminary hearing), the complainant made certain concessions, namely that she had previously been the victim of sexual abuse and that she had been seeing a psychiatrist.
The complainant also conceded that the breast massage was potentially consensual and that she was not sure if the penetration occurred more than once. This led to the indecent assault charge regarding the initially alleged breast massage being struck out at the committal, meaning that the jury did not ever hear about the breast massage. The other concessions were also beneficial, and considering that our client had no prior history and had denied all allegations initially, the client was in a good position for trial.
At trial, the complainant was cross-examined on the above matters. Afterwards, the jury could not be satisfied of the accused’s guilt. There was a hung jury rather than a full acquittal, so the matter was adjourned to allow time for the Crown to decide whether they would try to prosecute again. In the interim, our office made a written submission to the prosecution, inviting them to provide our office with a Notice of Discontinuance. The submission was accepted, and the prosecution was discontinued.
Given the potential consequences of both prison and registration on the Sex Offenders Register, our client was extremely relieved at the outcome.
If you have been charged or are about to be interviewed in relation to alleged sexual offending, do not hesitate to call our office today. We are experienced trial lawyers and can assist.
4. Affray - Diversion - Korumburra Magistrates Court
Our client was charged with the indictable offence, affray ( s.195H(1) Crimes Act 1958), and summary offences of unlawful assault and assault in company (ss.23 and 24 Summary Offences Act), arising from an incident that occurred at a pub in regional Victoria.
It was alleged that our client attended the pub in the company of some friends where our client’s brother was insulted by another individual and that our client then went to confront the individual. As a result of that confrontation, our client and the individual were alleged to have started fighting, leading to many other people joining in.
The fight continued to the point where it was alleged that our client armed himself with a pool cue and struck the complainant whilst he was lying down. The allegations were based on a number of statements and CCTV footage from the venue.
This was a very serious incident. Not only is affray a very serious charge that used only to be able to be heard in the County Court but our client was alleged to have armed himself in the course of the fight with a pool cue.
The footage was crucial to this case as the witness accounts were inconsistent. Upon viewing the footage closely, it became clear that the police had incorrectly identified our client. Whilst our client did confront the complainant, he then turned his back and began to walk away when his friend jumped in to assault the complainant.
The friend and the complainant commenced the fight and continued whilst others joined in. Our client remained on the outskirts for the majority of the incident until he picked up a pool cue; however, he did not strike anyone with the cue and just swung it in the direction of the co-accused.
On this basis, and following extensive negotiations with the prosecution, we were able to get the summary heavily amended and petition the prosecution for a diversion, which they recommended.
Diversion is a program for first-time offenders that allows them to avoid any form of criminal record. It is normally not given for serious charges. Still, in this case, due to our client’s limited involvement, we were able to persuade the prosecution and the Court to give our client the opportunity to complete a diversion program.
This was a hard-fought case that resulted in an excellent outcome for our client. As a result of our close attention to detail and forceful negotiations, we were able to help our client keep his criminal record clean. If you have been charged with assault-related offences, you should contact Dribbin & Brown Criminal Lawyers today.
5. Indecent assault with a child - Not guilty
Our client was charged with indecent act with a child and indecent assault. Both of these offences were repealed following the June 2015 and July 2017 amendments to the Crimes Act 1958. They have been replaced with section 40(1) Sexual Assault.
The client was charged under the older sections because the offending occurred in 2011. It was alleged that whilst playing pool at a family barbecue, the accused had inappropriately touched his niece. It was further alleged that he took her to an upstairs bedroom later that day, tried to forcibly kiss her on the lips, and groped her on the bed. The allegations were not the most serious example of this type of offending. Still, they had very serious ramifications for our client, such as being registered as a sex offender, having a criminal record for sex offending against a child, and potentially receiving a custodial sentence.
As is always the case with these types of allegations, the devil is in the details. In the accused’s favour were the following factors:
- His record of interview was excellent. At first, he genuinely presented as being confused by the allegations. Further, he made the appropriate concessions in that he agreed that he had been showing his niece how to play pool (because she asked) and accepted that in those circumstances, there may have been touching. He stated, however, that it was not sexual and occurred in innocent circumstances. When asked about the second incident, he made it plain that it never happened and was fairly animated in his denials. The advantage of a good record of interview in regard to dated sex offending cannot be overstated. This record of interview was sufficient to ensure that the client would not have to be called to give evidence.
- The complaint evidence was deficient. It was accepted by both witnesses that disclosures had been made, but only in relation to the playing pool incident. No complaint had been made to these witnesses in relation to the more serious allegations, which hurt the credibility of the complainant.
- Following receipt of the pre-trial materials (i.e. the internal investigative narrative prepared by police), it was revealed that the mother of the complainant was claiming that the accused had committed sexual offences against others. The police narrative revealed that this was untrue, and in fact, some of the people that it was claimed the accused had sexually assaulted spoke highly of the accused’s character. This made the complainant’s mother appear biased in terms of her complaint evidence.
- The surrounding circumstances of the allegations made them unlikely to be true, occurring at a crowded family barbecue.
- Following extensive cross-examination of the informant (the charging police officer), it was revealed that the police investigation of the matter was flawed. Many witnesses were not interviewed, and it appeared that police had taken a very ‘tunnel visioned’ approach to both the investigation and the prosecution.
- Our client had no prior history and was able to rely upon his own character and other character witnesses.
Following the conclusion of the trial, the Magistrate quickly found the client not guilty and ordered costs against the police. Unfortunately, like most sex offence cases, it was a long, drawn-out process. There were case conferences, contest mentions, special mentions and then a two-day contested hearing.
Dribbin & Brown conduct a large number of contested hearings in the Magistrates’ Court and sex trials in the County Court. Experience in this area is critical to ensure that all pre-trial materials are obtained and only the best barristers are involved. The stakes are too high to engage inexperienced lawyers. If you have been charged with sex offences, you should engage specialised sex offence lawyers with experience.
Reviews from Google about Michael at our Frankston office
Throughout the months with Mikes constant reassurance he tried to put my anxiety at ease, as I’ve never been in this situation before.
Mikes passion for his work is second to none, and his hard work behind the scenes ended up with the best result that could’ve possibly happened. Mike went above and beyond for me, and for this I can’t be more grateful.
If anyone is looking for professional and competent legal representation, DO NOT look any further.!! Kind regards Nick