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SA Police Dropped Charges - Recover Legal Fees?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by Ange, 13 March 2015.

  1. Ange

    Ange Member

    13 March 2015
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    I recently had to pay a criminal law lawyer almost $1500 to defend me for charges I was innocent of. Now the day before the trial was meant to begin, the police have dropped the charges (further proof of my innocence) having to pay all this money has left me in great financial difficulty, ie I'm behind in my mortgage, electricity, water & gas bills. Is there anyway I can recover the money I have spent? Seems to be wrong that I've had to pay all this money to defend myself when all along I was innocent.
  2. Tracy B

    Tracy B Well-Known Member

    24 December 2014
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    Hi Ange,

    Unfortunately, there is no compensation system in Australia (that I know of) for costs incurred when police incorrectly charges someone. You may find some solace in knowing that your situation is still more fortunate than others (see: this article by ABC).

    It may not be the case that you incurred the fees in vain. The work done by your criminal lawyer may have contributed toward the charges being dropped (or dropped earlier).

    If you are experiencing difficulties paying service bills because of this case, you should inform your service providers ASAP and arrange some sort of payment arrangement. Most service providers (telecommunications, energy and water) are willing to negotiate payment arrangements for changes in financial circumstances.
    Sophea likes this.
  3. hlly

    hlly Well-Known Member

    12 August 2014
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    There are in fact some avenues by which to recover these costs. A court can make a costs order and there is a tort of malicious prosecution. However these avenues are, in practical terms, very unlikely to succeed. It is best just to write this off as an unfortunate expense.

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