Join Wiseman Lawyers Traffic Lawyer Andrew Wiseman at Rockhampton Magistrates Court as he represents a client charged with multiple offences. Watch Andrew explain what happened in the courtroom, along with the outcome which he achieved and how he achieved it.
All right. I’m at Rockhampton Magistrates Court. Client was charged with six charges. There’s quite a bit of a tangled bundle. There were two counts of relevant drug presence. Drug driving, that’s the lesser of the two types of drug driving. This meant he consumed it but it was still in his system despite the effects having worn off. There were two different occasions where he was found to have it in his system despite not actually being under the influence anymore. There was, possess dangerous drug. He had a quantity of methylamphetamine. There was, possess utensil, so there was a pipe. There was a weapons charge. He had an incomplete shotgun, he had the stock and the action. He didn’t have the barrel, so he didn’t have enough to put a complete shotgun together, but he had parts of a shotgun, which is a person who doesn’t hold a weapons licence, is illegal. And he also had ammunition, shotgun shells, 303 round, a few other rounds, that, again, as a person who doesn’t hold a weapons licence, you can’t do.
Basically, he was in a bit of a pickle. There was a bit of a negotiation period with the police on a number of issues to make sure it stayed in the magistrates court. I won’t go to it now, but matters under certain circumstances can go out into the district court, which means the risk of severe consequences is higher. So, if we can keep it at magistrates court it’s a good thing. And it’s not always appropriate to try to do that but, in this instance, it was due to a number of things which I won’t get into now. He basically faced a maximum disqualification of nine months for each count. Technically, nine plus nine, 18 months’ disqualification. He could have very well gone to jail for the drug offending and the weapons offending. So my job, as much as it was to get his licence disqualification down as low as possible, was also to make sure he got to go home.
There’s a bit of a tangled mess written on my hand here. Given this matter was listed for a lengthy plea, a lot of the times when I go into court it’s first court date, get up, pump it out. Whereas when there’s a number of complicated charges, either I or the prosecutor will insist it be listed for a lengthy plea. And that basically gives me more time, prosecutor more time, magistrate more time, because obviously if you rock up at a busy court with serious matters, the magistrate will get upset real quick and adjourn it. And I don’t want to fly all the way from Brisbane to Rockhampton only to be forced to adjourn a matter when I knew very well that they’re going to most likely want to do it as a lengthy plea.
Anyway, I did up written submissions prior to today. I normally do written submissions in certain circumstances, but when it’s a lengthy plea, I always do it. Summaries of case law, summaries of what’s happened, and summaries of who the client is and what I think the outcome should be because, I guess, ideally, if the magistrate has read everything you’re going to say before a lengthy plea date, it’s ideal. You don’t want magistrates to be hearing things for the first time if it’s specifically been set down for a lengthy plea.
So I did up written submissions of what I wanted to say, got my client to complete the reformatory course we always get all of our driving offenders to complete. He was already getting help for his drug issues, but we got him to get proof of that. Letters from the relevant persons and providers. Got him to get references based on a template we provide everyone. Again, I did all my written submissions up about a week ago, forwarded everything to court well in advance, so they had the chance to review it and the prosecution’s. A, my job was to make sure we got him to go home and B, was to get the disqualifications down as low as possible.
The short version is he didn’t go to jail. I was able to persuade the magistrate to give him 12 months of probation, which isn’t a punishment. They can’t give that unless you consent to it. But probation means he can get the help that he needs with his drug offending or not so much his offending, but the underlying issues that cause it. With regard to the licence disqualification, basically, if you’ve got two offences and they’re dealt with at the same time, technically, they’re concurrent and there’s technically no second in time, for example. So if you’ve got an offence in January and another one in February but they both got dealt with on the same date in March, technically, the convictions happened at the same moment in time. So the conviction for the first one doesn’t pre-date the conviction for the second one, if that makes sense. Meaning you’ve got no previous in the last five years, even though the one in January happened only a month before the one in February.
I’m prattling on a bit now, but I wanted to convince the magistrate that the two drug driving charges should be treated as if they were first offences, given the moment in time that the conviction was being handed down was at the same instance. And I was ultimately able to persuade the magistrate to do that. Worst case is nine months for each charge, minimum for a first offence is one month. And then minimum is three months for a second offence but that’s based on conviction date. So if you haven’t been convicted previously in the last five years, which he hadn’t up until the moment of today’s concurrent conviction for both offences, it’s a minimum one month, depending on how you look at the law, for each offence.
I was able to convince the magistrate to look at each offence as having no previous in the last five years, given the convictions occurred at the same moment in time. And I was successful in doing that. So he got one month for the first drug driving and one month for the second drug driving, but they have to be cumulative. One plus one equals two. He got a two month disqualification, 12 months’ probation, he got modest fines for the other offences. I was also able to persuade the magistrate to give no conviction recorded for the drug and weapons offending. Client’s obviously very happy.
I’m Andrew Wiseman at Rockhampton Magistrates Court. Thanks for watching.