LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

QLD Application for Costs Possible in Criminal Law Case?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Mackaygirl33, 9 June 2016.

  1. Mackaygirl33

    Mackaygirl33 Active Member

    Joined:
    9 June 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi everyone,

    First-time poster here. I am wondering if making an application for costs is possible in a criminal case? Here is the situation.

    My partner was involved in a street scuffle whilst out drinking one night in March. Basically, he and all the males in a club were thrown out because someone (not associated with him or his mates) started a fight in there. My partner tried to get back in (which was stupid to do, he should have just left) but was refused entry and the police attended on the street. He was arrested for creating a disturbance, but one of the officers alleged that my partner punched him during the arrest, an allegation he outright refuted. He was formally charged with serious assault of a police officer under the Criminal Code.

    We tried to get the CCTV from the camera on the street but was refused as we were told it would be in the QP9.

    Fast forward a few weeks after securing (expensive) legal representation and the QP9, and the footage is not there. Instead, they had footage from the other officer's vest, which shows not only no contact between the (alleged) victim and my partner but a recording of the officer saying "I think he elbowed me... I don't know. I think i'll get him for assault. Take him down to the watchhouse".

    We asked again for the CCTV from the street and were told it was no longer available.

    It took two court appearances/adjournments for the police to accept our solicitor's submission that their evidence proved nothing for their case, and they offered to drop the charge to obstruction of police. Our solicitor has suggested we accept this result.

    I am just baffled that we have had to pay thousands of dollars for a lawyer to review footage that the police themselves included in their brief to point out that essentially their allegations were false and their evidence very weak.

    I am 5 months pregnant and this whole process has been extremely distressing for us emotionally and financially. This is money that could have been spent for our baby and has been wasted because the police were so lazy in their investigation but still bothered to pursue my partner.

    Would we be entitled to any compensation for our legal fees? Even part of? And how can this happen so easily without the police being held accountable?
     
  2. Mackaygirl33

    Mackaygirl33 Active Member

    Joined:
    9 June 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    If anyone can offer help at all it would be much appreciated. Our solicitor is great but he is aware that we don't want to waste a heap of money on cleaning up the mess they have left, so contact is limited and brief.

    Thanks in advance
     
  3. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 February 2016
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    11
    Hi mackaygirl33,

    Sorry to hear about your troubles.

    I'm not a solicitor.

    OK, so your husband was arrested and charged on a police officer's word, which turned out to be wrong (or a lie). They initiated and maintained a prosecution with no likely prospect of conviction. They wanted a plea deal to a lesser charge, despite no evidence for that charge either. The QP9 was lots of lies too?

    Yeah, you've experienced police misconduct.

    Your question, about compensation... his solicitor ought to have been able to ask for costs to be awarded...but this ought to have happened when the charges were dropped. Police almost never offer to just drop the charges...they say "we'll drop the charges if you don't ask for costs to be awarded".

    (Given the stress of this garbage being dragged out, lots of people agree. Besides the alternative is that you go to trial against cops who lie. No CCTV footage? Why do you think that was? If it showed evidence in the cops favour do you think it would be lost? It showed your hubby didn't assault anyone...so...Wanna go to trial against cops like that?)

    Cops like to drag out the legal fees on cases they won't win. That way you pay a fine and the police don't even have to prove you guilty.

    You could try to litigate. Malicious prosecution...good luck.

    QPS has deep pockets, deeper than yours. Eventually, the judge would call an end to their delaying, but your savings might run out before then.

    Look how long they're dragging out the Rick Fiori matter. You could try Renee Eaves on Facebook. She is an advocate for police accountability.

    Steven Protheroe tried to start a private prosecution.

    Bruce Rowe succeeded in a private prosecution for assault against Constable Arndt. Had a pro bono lawyer. So didn't cost him much.

    I made a formal complaint. Detailed with all the supporting evidence. Lots of time and work. The cops kept trying to sink it/ignore it. If you decide to complain (it's free to complain) do it direct to the CCC. Put as much detail and evidence as you can into it.

    Legislation requires police to keep records about complaints. It becomes a permanent blot on their record. So do a good job, support all assertions with evidence. Given how political police promotions are, you can limit their careers with a good complaint. Don't expect a police complaint to find in your favour.

    Your question about 'how can this happen so easily without the police being held accountable?'

    Yeah, we don't have an independent body to investigate police complaints. So a police complaint is investigated and decided, usually by cops in the same station as the cop who is complained against. His buddies. And they don't think he did anything wrong.

    I reckon your hubby got off pretty lightly. Noah Begic got beaten senseless by cops and then got charged with assaulting them. He'd have been found guilty without the video Fiori leaked.

    You're having a baby? I know you lost a chunk of money, but you might be better off just writing it off. I recommend you make a complaint, but it won't pay any cash.

    I hope this helps. I know it's not the news you wanted.

    Someone famous (I can't remember who) once said "the cost of a failed prosecution of an innocent person is the price we pay for justice". Yeah, it didn't really make me feel better either.

    Regards,
     
  4. Mackaygirl33

    Mackaygirl33 Active Member

    Joined:
    9 June 2016
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. Yes I knew that this was probably our best outcome in the circumstances especially financially. I would not want to pay any more money to fight them and our solicitor is very understanding of this.

    Before this happened, I had no idea how common this sort of thing was. One theory explained to me was that if he was found guilty, the cop would then be able to make a claim for workers comp. Makes sense why he would try and have a crack at what he thought was just a pathetic drunk guy who would plead guilty because he wouldn't want to pay for decent legal advice to fight it. Little did he know, we were willing to pay to fight a very serious charge and my years of working as a legal secretary meant I had contacts and knew exactly who to go to. Even on the morning of the mention when they were calling all the other drunken misdemeanors from the weekend and my partner was called up, dressed impeccably, with a very well known and respected lawyer appeaing for us, to adjourn the matter because they had next to no evidence. The magistrate certainly took up and took notice. And the police prosecutor was very unprepared.

    This may all be irrelevant as to the outcome but to me it just shows their attitude, and it is sad that for those who may not be able to afford legal representation or know how the system works, would be forced to just plead guilty. We certainly didnt have the money spare but the charge was so serious; and all for nothing at all.
     
  5. Gorodetsky

    Gorodetsky Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    21 February 2016
    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    11
    Hi Mackaygirl33,

    Yeah, I agree, plenty of people who can't afford it must get done over...I guess it's even worse if you have brown skin. It's misconduct to initiate or maintain a charge with no reasonable prospect of conviction. Seems to happen every day.

    I never realised either. I'd say it's more than widespread, I'd say it's commonplace or standard operating procedure.

    For anyone facing a charge and reading this, in QLD, I'd suggest waiting till after you are holding the QP9 in your hand before seeing a solicitor.

    See ya
     

Share This Page

Loading...