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Recent News

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

In America, they believe in the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. This principle is one of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, and it means precisely what it says.

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In my previous blog titled ‘Guilty until proven Innocent?’, I highlighted one of the most important legal principles in criminal law: Guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In this blog, I will explore how criminal responsibility is determined, and what exactly do the prosecution need to prove in order to convict an accused.

Risk can come in different forms in Parenting matters. The risk of drug abuse appears to be more prevalent than before, leaving people with issues in both Family Law and Criminal Law.

Every day in Western Australia, hundreds of sentences are handed down to people who have been convicted of criminal offences.

Trials take place every single day, some lasting a few hours whilst others spanning over several months. Trials are an essential and important part of our justice system and it is imperative that each accused person is given a fair trial.

Dating in the digital age is already fraught with difficulties. It can often mean that without a guarantee as to the accuracy of a person’s age, a casual fling could unknowingly turn illegal. Although most dating applications require the person signing up to agree that they are at least 18 years of age, unfortunately, this declaration may not be legally binding as proof of the person’s age and whether they are old enough to consent.

The age of consent (in most circumstances) in Western Australia is 16 years of age. The age of consent increases to 18 years of age in cases where one party is in a position of authority. Such circumstances could include teacher/student or employer/employee scenarios, where the other party is under 18 years of age. Having a sexual relationship with someone younger than the legal age of consent is illegal and can be prosecuted in the District Court of Western Australia.

We have often found that when speaking to those who have been charged with a criminal offence, or assisting someone else who has, they almost always feel the same way: overwhelmed and anxious. Whether it be the thought of imprisonment, the impact of job security, the worry of friends and family finding out about the allegations, or simply the added stress of dealing with the justice system at what may already be a difficult time, most people are terrified at the thought of being charged with an Offence. At a time when clients often feel vulnerable and confused about what to do next, getting advice about the process and what options are available is crucial to providing certainty moving forward.

Yes. Not always, easily or immediately, but yes.

Client’s will often ask whether their charges can be ‘dropped’ and if so, when and how.  In answering these questions, it is helpful to have an understanding of what it means to have charges dropped. Charges are ‘dropped’ when the prosecution make an application to the Court to have the charges discontinued. This will happen before the charges are formally determined at a trial by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury.

Depending on the type of allegation police are investigating, they will usually conduct enquiries with a number of different sources. Sometimes they will rely heavily on witnesses such as police officers, complainants, eye-witnesses and experts; whilst other times they will need to analyse physical materials such as CCTV footage and forensic reports.

When speaking to a client for the first time about their charges, there are often a few questions nearly all clients ask. The most common one is usually ‘what am I looking at?’ Even for clients who intend to plead not guilty to their charges, most clients want to know what the outcome is likely to be if they are found guilty.