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Pleading guilty: No conviction for over 50 fraud charges despite breaching a Section 10 bond

Our client is a 38-year old taxi driver.
He was charged with over 50 counts of ‘Dishonestly Obtain Financial Advantage by Deception’ under Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (known as ‘fraud’).
These charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment.
Police alleged that our client was involved in a scheme whereby another person would tamper with the ‘meter reader’ on his taxi to increase the amount he was paid.
This was said to be a wide-ranging fraud whereby hundreds of taxis had their meters altered.
Police had CCTV footage of the alleged tampering which depicted our client.
Our client had also participated in an interview and made admissions.
Our client came to us concerned about the prospect of receiving a jail sentence.
We have previously represented him in an assault occasioning actual bodily harm case where he had received a ‘no conviction’ Section 10(1)(b) good behaviour bond for a period of 18 months.
These offences were a breach of that bond.
We immediately began analysing the case. Given the CCTV and our client’s admissions, there did not appear to be any defence available.
As such, we negotiated with the Police for all of the charges to be ‘rolled-up’ into a single fraud charge.
Next, we contacted Police and inquired as to whether they would be open to providing a ‘letter of comfort’ for our client’s assistance. They advised that they would.
Our client provided a statement to Police about his knowledge and involvement. A ‘letter of comfort’ was provided and tendered in sentencing proceedings at Sutherland Local Court.
In addition, we obtained character references and an apology letter from our client which set out his dire financial position at the time of the offences. He was the sole income earner for his wife and two children.
We made submissions in Court seeking no action be taken on the breach of the Section 10 bond and no conviction be recorded for the fraud offence as well.
Despite strong opposition from the prosecutor, the Magistrate agreed with our submissions. As such our client maintains his clean criminal record.
Our client and his entire family are overjoyed with the outcome.

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