A JOKE EMAIL THAT COST $200,000

Posted on Sep 3, 2014

A man who sent an email from his co-worker’s login saying, ‘Hello people, just a note to say that i am a homosexual and i am looking for like minded people to share time with” will have to pay over $200,000.00 in damages. The plaintiff who was employed by the Department for Correctional Services had been called away from his office and left the computer on which he had been working logged on in his name. The defendant co-worker seized the opportunity to send the offending email to around 2,300 email addresses at various...

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PENALTIES FOR DRIVER’S WORK DIARY (LOGBOOK) OFFENCES

Posted on Sep 1, 2014

The Supreme Court has reviewed the penalties to be imposed on truck drivers who make false or misleading logbook entries when an interstate truck driver avoided serious penalties and received no conviction for making a false record in his work diary (or logbook). The truck driver pleaded guilty to the charge which had been set for trial when the Magistrate intimated he would receive a ‘low’ penalty and no conviction. The Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure appealed the case to the Supreme Court on the basis that...

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CAN YOU RELY ON A PHOTOCOPY OF A WILL? THE DANGERS OF A WILL KIT

Posted on Aug 28, 2014

Many people go to a lot of trouble to prepare their legal will, but then don’t think about the difficulty that might arise in trying to locate the document after their death. In a recent case the Supreme Court had to consider an apparent photocopy of the will when the original couldn’t be located. The deceased’s daughter made a thorough search of the home and all that could be located was a two page photocopied document under the bed in a cupboard with old photos. The deceased had a file in her linen press in which other...

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WHAT CONSTITUTES POSSESSION OF A FIREARM?

Posted on Aug 27, 2014

A number of criminal offences involve possession of an item or substance. Recently the District Court considered the circumstances in which it can be said that a person is in possession of a firearm and the way in which the law has created a broader meaning of that term. The case involved charges under the Firearms Act of possessing a firearm without a licence (section 11(1)) and possessing a firearm with identifying characters removed (section 24A(7)). The issue that had to be decided was that of ‘possession’. Had the...

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WHEN DOES ‘REASONABLE CHASTISEMENT’ BECOME ‘ASSAULT’?

Posted on Aug 26, 2014

A father has been found guilty of assault of his 13 year old son who was refusing to clean his bedroom and ‘testing the limits of his parents’ patience’ after he grabbed the boy by the ear to lead him into the room and gave him a ‘backhander’ to the shoulder when the boy called him a ‘feeler’ and a ‘raper’. The man was charged with an aggravated assault on the basis that the victim was his child, meaning that under the law, because he acted in this manner toward his own son he was liable to...

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WHAT DOES ‘WITHOUT CONVICTION’ MEAN FOR MY EMPLOYMENT?

Posted on Aug 21, 2014

When imposing penalty upon a guilty plea or finding of guilt after trial, a Court has the discretion under certain circumstances to refrain from recording a conviction under the Criminal Law Sentencing Act 1988.* In South Australia a ‘no conviction’ or ‘without conviction’ ruling automatically becomes a ‘Spent Conviction’ under section 4 of the Spent Convictions Act 2009. It is an offence to disclose a Spent Conviction and thus such an offence should not appear on a Criminal History Clearance Check through the South Australian...

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ARE STEP-CHILDREN “MY CHILDREN”? RECTIFYING A WILL.

Posted on Jul 31, 2014

Did you know that an application can be made to the Supreme Court to ‘rectify’ a will if it does not accurately reflect the ‘testamentary intentions’ of the deceased person? The purpose is to effectively amend the wording of the will so as to give proper expression to the intentions of the deceased. An application of this kind must be made within six months of the grant of probate or letters of administration (unless the Court consents to a longer period). Recently, such an application was made when the deceased person – who...

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COURT FINDS UNLAWFUL SEARCH BY POLICE

Posted on Jul 29, 2014

A recent judgment of the District Court concerned a successful application by the accused to exclude the evidence of a police search of a car in which she had been located on the basis that the Court concluded that it was an unlawful search. In August 2012 police searched a car that had apparently been driven by the accused in which they found under the driver’s seat a sunglasses case that allegedly contained methylamphetamine and other drug paraphernalia.  The accused applied to exclude the evidence obtained from the search on the basis...

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LICENCE DISQUALIFIED FOR UNPAID FINES

Posted on Jul 7, 2014

Did you know that you can have your licence disqualified because of a failure to pay fines – even parking fees – on time? Section 70M of the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act, enables disqualification of a debtor’s driver’s licence if the driver has outstanding fines and has not made arrangements to pay for them. It is no longer the case that fines simply accrue like a debt. The consequences are potentially far more serious. If you have outstanding fines and have not paid them or entered into any payment arrangements, your...

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WHEN CAN POLICE TAKE A DNA SAMPLE IN SA?

Posted on Feb 27, 2014

In 1999 South Australia police began to compile a database of DNA profiles which has grown to over 100,000 assisted by the powers created by the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007.  A DNA sample is taken by police by means of a simple procedure known as a ‘buccal swab’ which involves using an implement to essentially scrape skin cells from inside the cheek. Police powers to take DNA Under the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Act 2007 the Police can obtain a DNA sample from a person without their consent under two circumstances,...

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