WHEN CAN A CRIMINAL CHARGE BE FINALISED WITHOUT A CONVICTION?

Posted on Jul 3, 2012

Two recent decisions handed down by the Supreme Court have considered the circumstances under which a criminal conviction should not be recorded against a person found guilty of an offence. In one case, this was despite the fact that the accused person was found guilty of the charge of assault after a six-day trial. Under the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act when a Court finds a person guilty of an offence for which it proposes to impose a fine, community service or both, then the Court may do so without recording a conviction if it is of the...

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NEW LAWS RELATING TO FAMILY VIOLENCE AND CHILD ABUSE

Posted on Jul 3, 2012

Are you affected by Family Violence? On 7th June 2012 changes came into effect in how matters dealing with allegations of child abuse or family violence are now dealt with by the Courts. Family Violence is defined as: violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that causes or coerces a member of the family to be fearful. The following are some illustrations of behaviour that may be considered as family violence: • An assault; • A sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour; • Stalking • Repeated derogatory...

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OVERCOMING SUSPICION ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF YOUR WILL.

Posted on Jul 3, 2012

Are you thinking of writing a Will or updating your existing Will? It is very important to engage a competent and independent legal advisor when writing a will. Your will is not valid unless its contents are known to and approved of by you as the testator. A person claiming on your will must satisfy the Court that this will they are propounding (putting forward for acceptance) is your last Will and you made it as a ‘free and capable’ person. Arguments may arise as to whether or not you were ‘mentally capable’ and whether you ‘read...

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AN EXECUTOR OR BENEFICIARY IS NOT LEGALLY COMPETENT?

Posted on Jul 2, 2012

Often overlooked when we attend to estate planning matters is the appointment of an Attorney by an Enduring Power of Attorney and the appointment of a Guardian by Enduring Power of Guardianship. An Enduring Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Guardianship may only be executed at a time when the donor has legal capacity. The appointments endure beyond the donor’s legal capacity and enable the donee to manage the personal and financial affairs of the donor when they are no longer legally competent to manage their own affairs. In the...

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COMPULSORY VOTING UNDER CHALLENGE.

Posted on Jun 12, 2012

A South Australian man recently challenged a charge under section 245(15) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act for failing to vote. That section makes it an offence to fail to vote at a Federal election without a valid and sufficient reason, and the man’s reason was that the definition of the word ‘vote’ requires an element of choice, and to be forced to make a choice is of itself not a choice at all. It was agreed that the man made a deliberate decision not to attend the polling booth on the 21 August 2010 election and in a trial in the...

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WHAT CONSTITUTES POSSESSION OF A DRUG?

Posted on Jun 12, 2012

Many criminal charges relate to the question of whether a person was in ‘possession’ of an item (such as drug possession or unlawful possession of property) and recently the District Court of South Australia confirmed what is required in order to prove ‘possession’. In this particular case the accused person was alleged to have taken a step in the process of manufacturing a drug by ‘storing’ chemicals used for the production of methylamphetamine. Prosecution relied on an extended definition of ‘manufacture’ in the Controlled...

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COMPENSATION FOR HEARING LOSS AT WORK

Posted on Jun 12, 2012

A worker who suffers hearing loss from exposure to noise in the workplace can claim a lump sum payment of compensation and the Workers Compensations laws help to overcome the difficulty of proving how or when the hearing loss occurred. In a recent case in the Workers Compensation Tribunal a worker claimed a lump sum payment of compensation for hearing loss and tinnitus under section 43 of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. Section 43 entitles a worker who has suffered a permanent physical impairment of 5% or more as a result of...

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YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE EMPLOYED TO HAVE CONTRIBUTED.

Posted on May 17, 2012

When it comes to defacto separation, just because one partner was not earning an income does not mean they didn’t contribute to the relationship. A recent decision of the Court highlights the importance that is given to non-financial contributions made by one of the spouses. On 1 July 2010 financial issues relating to the breakdown of defacto relationships, which were previously handled by the District Court, were referred by South Australia to the Family Court of Australia. Where parties separated before that date both parties must agree...

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IMPRISONED FOR ACCEPTING A GIFT

Posted on May 14, 2012

A man was imprisoned for fourteen days for two charges that included accepting as a gift from a friend a single round of ammunition that he intended to make into a necklace. The man was charged with a number of offences including possession of a slingshot and accepting the ammunition when he did not hold a firearms licence that authorised him to possess a gun designed to fire that type of ammunition. The Court accepted that he did not appreciate it was unlawful to be in possession of a single round and also that he did not believe that the...

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WHAT CAN BE DONE TO AVOID DEMERIT POINTS?

Posted on May 3, 2012

When a police fine for a speeding charge is paid or a conviction is recorded in Court, then demerit points are incurred* unless the Court is satisfied that the offence was ‘trifling’ or any other proper cause exists to reduce the number of demerit points. The Supreme Court recently considered the various grounds upon which a person charged with speeding might not incur demerit points. In the case before the Court, the driver pleading guilty to a speeding charge for which the Magistrate imposed a conviction and fine. He had been detected...

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