Three cases where innocent clients were wrongfully accused

In our line of work, we help people in many different circumstances. Sometimes they are guilty, and sometimes they are innocent. Our job is to represent them the best we can either way. Some of our most interesting cases have been when someone is wrongfully charged with a crime and it is our job to prove their innocence. Here are three recent cases where we have won on behalf of our client who was innocent and at risk of a wrongful conviction. 

Case 1: Compelling but not true 

In a recent case our client, a father, was accused of sexual abuse. This was a compelling, but false, accusation. 

The mother alleged the father had sexually abused their child. This allegation was made at a time when the mother was losing the family law custody battle. The child had no injury consistent with the allegations, made no disclosures when spoken to by police, and the mother ultimately admitted she made it up. If he had been convicted, he would have been an innocent person, who was “proven guilty according to law”, and would then be a convicted child sex offender.

In Queensland, the default position is a lengthy term of imprisonment, as well as being registered as a sex offender. Thankfully, we were able to expose the wrongful accusation and save our client from being punished for a crime they did not commit.

Case 2: Crime not committed

Recently we were involved in a case where the police misunderstood the law and wrongfully thought a crime had been committed. The situation involved a woman who they caught “red-handed” in possession of syringes. The police charged her when they located the syringes during a search.  Whilst it “looked like a crime”, the law says you may possess a syringe provided it is in an approved container and are at no risk to the safety of others.

It was clear that these syringes were in an approved container and capped. In this circumstance the officer simply misunderstood the law around possession of syringes.

Case 3: A crime committed, but there was a legal defence 

Sometimes a crime is committed, but there is a reasonable defence recognised by the law. 

One such case involved a matter where a man had been punched by the defendant causing pain and discomfort. 

When police arrived the “victim” was on the ground holding his face. All the witnesses said that the victim aggressively approached the defendant in a fighting stance and the defendant took one step back and in a “swatting” like motion, struck the “victim” in the face.  The jury accepted that the defendant was acting in self-defence as:

  • it was only one punch
  • the “victim” closed the gap between himself and the offender
  • the defendant was “retreating” at the time he threw the strike
  • the “victim” was observed to be belligerent and aggressive for minutes leading up to the alleged “assault”.

Thankfully, the criminal law does not only punish; it protects as well. It does not expect Queensland citizens to be unnaturally passive, especially when their safety is threatened by someone else. Sometimes an attacker may come off second best, but it does not follow that the one who wins the struggle has committed a crime. The law does not punish someone for reasonably defending himself or herself.  In this case, a single punch did not equal a guilty crime.

If you need a defence lawyer to stand by you and fight for justice in your situation, then we’d love to help. Find out more about RK Law’s legal services or contact the team today.

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