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Pleading not guilty: Not guilty to 20 Fraud Charges after District Court Trial

Our client is 38 year old man who was born in New Zealand.
He had struggled throughout his life with mental health issues.
He moved to Melbourne in his youth and lived there for most of his life before moving to a Tamworth in the 2010s.
While in Melbourne he was charged with a number of fraud related offences. Based on legal advice he received, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a number of years of imprisonment.
Ten years later he was charged with similar fraud related offences in New South Wales.
Police alleged that our client had created fake companies and then purchased hundreds of laptops and iPhones.
There were records of these purchases and the registration of the companies in our client’s name.
Indeed, when Police arrested our client, he had a number of the laptops in his vehicle.
He came to us adamant that he did not want to receive a further jail sentence.
From the outset, the case seemed insurmountable.
However, we commissioned one of our specialist psychiatrists to prepare a report exploring whether a mental illness defence was open.
The report confirmed that the defence was open. We promptly forwarded it to the Crown in hopes of having charges withdrawn.
The Crown briefed their own psychiatrist to prepare a report. That report advised that it could not be said that the mental illness defence was definitely available.
The case proceeded to Trial at Tamworth District Court.
In preparation for Trial we obtained numerous past psychiatric reports and letters on our client’s behalf.
We also had lengthy conferences with our psychiatrist to discuss how best to cross-examine the Crown psychiatrist.
At the Trial our cross-examination of the Crown psychiatrist proved to be decisive.
We were able to attack the reliability of the Crown psychiatrist’s evidence and the equivocal nature of his opinion.
While our psychiatrist was certain that the mental illness defence was open, the Crown psychiatrist could not conclusively say that the defence was not open.
Ultimately, the judge agreed with our submissions and found our client not guilty of all charges.
Our client was released back into the community with a requirement that he continue to comply with the psychiatric treatment he had been receiving.
Before the conclusion of this case, our client was charged with over 60 fresh fraud related offences. The total amount of money involved in the fresh charges was over $3 million.

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