The exercise by an accused person of the right to remain silent when interviewed by police should not of itself be the basis for the police to avoid paying legal costs if the charges are dismissed after that person gives evidence in Court.
In a recent case before the Supreme Court a woman who had been charged with theft appealed the decision of a Magistrate to refuse to order that the police pay her legal costs after the charge was dismissed. The woman had been apprehended by a security guard at a Foodland store after she had gone through the...
The recent decision of the Workers Compensation Tribunal in relation to the matter of G v SAFECOM brings to the fore the spectre of the Opinions issued from Medical Panels SA (brought in under legislative changes in recent years).
The crux of the matter considered by the Workers Compensation Tribunal in this case was as to in what circumstances the written Opinion issued by Medical Panels SA should or can be admitted into evidence.
Ordinarily a report or opinion of a specialist (be they a doctor or other expert) needs to be tendered into...
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...
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;
• Repeated derogatory...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...