These days a significant aspect of her practice is appearing before Queensland’s first specialised domestic violence court in Southport – both in defending applications and related criminal charges such as strangulation. Erin understands that having a DVO made against you (even a temporary protection order) can involve significant consequences – damaging your position in family law proceedings or seeing you lose your weapons licence or impacting your career. The police and Courts have significant powers which can involve removal from your own home (ouster orders) or preventing you from contacting your children – all before you are even told about the application for a protection order. Criminal charges that occur in a domestic setting are now recorded on your history as a ‘domestic violence offence’ and for offences like assault occasioning bodily harm, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle or choking/strangulation, the Court will start from the position that you should not be released on bail when charged. With these new laws, it is vital to have a lawyer experienced in both criminal and domestic violence law to advocate for you – whether it be to get bail, fight for your rights to contact your children or avoid a conviction being recorded on your criminal history.
She has also taken a particular interest in working with clients facing criminal confiscations proceedings, fighting to protect their property. Whilst many firms practice in criminal law, few practice in the specialised area of criminal confiscations law. The Criminal Proceeds Confiscations Act has some devastating consequences. Simply being charged with a ‘serious criminal offence’ (for example, possession of a dangerous drug) is sufficient for the State of Queensland to freeze your bank accounts and apply to have your property forfeited (be it your family home, your motor vehicle or any other significant asset). Unfortunately, unlike criminal matters, the onus rests on you to prove that you legitimately own the property and that it is not the proceeds of any crime. Depending on your charges, the State may apply to have your property automatically forfeited if you are found guilty. Erin has years’ of experience dealing with the DPP and reaching settlement agreements where our clients have received their property back, without the need to proceed to a hearing.
She is heavily involved in the Gold Coast legal community and believes in access to justice. She currently sits on the Gold Coast District Law Association Management Committee and has volunteered at the Robina Community Legal Centre since it opened its doors in 2014.
Erin was the sixth generation to grow up on her family property in a rural area south-west of Brisbane and is not afraid of hard work. As an adult, she relocated to the Gold Coast where she graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts majoring in Japanese language. During her final years of study, she participated in Griffith University’s Innocence Project, a pro-bono project that aims to free the wrongfully convicted. That opportunity provided Erin with an early insight into the flaws of our criminal justice system and which prepared her well for her career in criminal defence.