Court: Rockhampton Magistrates Court
Lawyer: Erin Mitchell
Charges: 5 x wilful damage
Sentence: 150 hours of community service; restitution in the sum of $10.788.44 and no convictions recorded
Our client came to us in circumstances where he had decided to plead guilty at the first mention of his charges self-represented and the Magistrate had instead adjourned the matter and suggested he obtain legal advice and representation given the seriousness of the allegations. Our client was charged with 5 offences of wilful damage after causing significant damage to 5 shopfronts, kicking in windows and doors and using a metal bar to break numerous glass panes. He had been drinking that night and whilst he had no recollection of the offending, police had CCTV footage confirming he had caused damage to shopfront glass of 5 different businesses, the damage totalling almost $11,000. He had a single, minor and unrelated entry on his criminal history from some years ago and was worried about the impact this matter would have on his future, particularly if he got a criminal record. We assisted him in preparing for court and appeared as his advocates at his sentence hearing. We tendered a letter of apology from our client as well as some character references and made submissions on his behalf as to the appropriate penalty. Ultimately the Court decided our client should give back to the community and so he was ordered to perform 150 hours of community service as well as being ordered to pay restitution for the damage caused. Importantly we were able to convince the court to order no convictions be recorded on his criminal history for these offences. As long as our client completes his community service without incident, he won’t have a criminal record.
Offence: Wilful Damage and Public Nuisance
Solicitor: Erin Mitchell
Court: Southport Magistrates Court
Date: March 2018
Our client was charged with wilful damage and public nuisance (in the vicinity of a licensed premise) after visiting a tavern in Surfers Paradise with some friends to celebrate his bachelor party.
Our client attempted to leave the tavern with a schooner of beer. When security approached him, he threw his half-full glass over his shoulder which resulted in the beer spilling on staff and the glass smashing on the stairs. He then descended the stairs to leave the tavern, pushing past security and knocking the identification scanner at the bottom of the stairs over. It was alleged that there was $700 worth of damage to the identification scanner as a result of it falling over.
Police, who were at the bottom of the stairs, then arrested our client for wilful damage and public nuisance.
Our client pleaded guilty to the two charges on his first court date. He had no previous criminal history of any sorts. His job required him to disclose criminal convictions, so it was important for him to not have the conviction recorded.
Given that he lived interstate, we were also mindful that a community-based order (i.e. probation or community service) would not be appropriate in circumstances where a person cannot leave Queensland without the permission of Corrective Services.
Ms Warren tendered four character references to the court, all of which spoke of our client in the highest regard. Our client also drafted a letter of apology to the court, which expressed his remorse and his acceptance of responsibility for the offending. Ms Warren also expressed our client’s willingness and ability to pay the $700 restitution for the damage on the same day as his sentence.
Our client was convicted and fines in the amount of $1,000 for both charges. No conviction was recorded on his criminal history. He was also ordered to pay $700 in restitution for the damage.
The Court ordered that our client be banned from the Surfers Paradise Safe Night Out Precinct between the hours of 8:00pm to 5:00am for a period of 12 months.
Section 469 – Wilful Damage (Criminal Code Queensland)
The maximum penalty for wilful damage is 5 years imprisonment
Section 6 – Public Nuisance (Summary Offences Act Queensland)
(a) if the person commits a public nuisance offence within licensed premises, or in the vicinity of licensed premises (this was the case in this matter) — 25 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment; or
(b) otherwise — 10 penalty units or 6 months imprisonment.
This is a summary of an actual case. Details have been omitted to protect the privacy of our client. We select cases which are informative and no guarantee is provided that similar results are achievable in all cases. Every case is different and you should obtain legal advice specific to your matter and circumstances.