Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Victim Impact Statements (ACT)
Victim Impact Statements are an important – and increasingly prominent – part of our criminal justice system. The purpose of a Victim Impact Statement (VIS) is to provide the court with the victim’s perspective on the impact of the offending on their life (after the accused has been found guilty or has pleaded guilty). However, while Victim Impact Statements have a significant role to play, care must be taken that the entire proceeding is not subsumed by them. This article deals with Victim Impact Statements in the ACT.
Legislation and victims of crime
ACT legislation recognises that victims are central to the sentencing exercise and provides for their needs to be taken into account in various ways.
Firstly, recognising the harm done to the victim of a crime and to the broader community is one of the enumerated purposes of sentencing contained in section 7 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005. These are the purposes for which sentences may be imposed by judges and magistrates.
Secondly, if the court is considering imposing either an Intensive Corrections Order or an Alcohol and Drug Treatment Order, it must specifically consider the impact of the offence on any victims.
Thirdly, the act also provides that courts can order that reparations be paid by offenders to “a person (the injured person) [who] suffers loss or incurs expense (including any out-of-pocket expense) as a direct result of the commission of the offence (s19(1)(b)).
Certain victims of crime may also claim financial assistance under the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act 2016.
Victims of crime and the sentencing process
Section 33 of the act sets out 27 nominated “relevant considerations” for judicial officers when sentencing. A number of these considerations relate to victims. These include:
- The personal circumstances of any victim of the offence if they were known to the offender when the offence was committed;
- The effect of the offence on the victims of the offence, the victims’ families and anyone else who may make a Victim Impact Statement;
- Whether a victim of the offence was a pregnant woman.
Any contemplated reduction of a defendant’s sentence for a guilty plea (under section 35) or for assistance to law-enforcement authorities (under section 36) must be considered only if appropriate in light of “the effect of the offence on the victims of the offence, the victims’ families and anyone else who may make a Victim Impact Statement”.
Persons who are preparing Pre-Sentence Reports for the court about possible sentencing outcomes can consult with victims before making their recommendations.
Who is a victim?
Section 47) defines “a victim of an offence” as:
(a) a person (a primary victim) who suffers harm because of the offence; or
(b) if a primary victim dies because of the offence — a person who was financially or psychologically dependent on the primary victim immediately before the primary victim’s death.
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
A Victim Impact Statement is a statement made by or for a victim of an offence that contains details of any harm suffered by the victim because of the offence.
Under section 49, any of the following persons may make a VIS:
- a victim of the offence;
- a person who has parental responsibility for a victim of the offence;
- a close family member of a victim of the offence;
- a carer for a victim of the offence; and
- a person with an intimate personal relationship with a victim of the offence.
Victim Impact Statements can be written or oral (s50) and can contain photographs, drawings or other images, but must not include anything that is offensive, threatening, intimidating or harassing (s51).
The court must allow the Victim Impact Statement to be read out in court if the maker of the statement wishes the statement to be given to the court in that way (s52).
The act describes in detail the “effect” of a VIS. The court “must” consider any such statement and must not draw any inference about the harm suffered by a victim from the fact that a Victim Impact Statement is not given. The defence may cross-examine a person who makes a Victim Impact Statement on the contents of the statement, but this can be a risky course, and one undertaken only very cautiously, and certainly only under instructions.
Case law on Victim Impact Statements
Any material in Victim Impact Statements that does not relate directly to the offences charged can cause significant distress to offenders, who can sometimes feel that they are being blamed for everything that ever went wrong in the victim’s life. However, courts – and defence counsel, – are loath to take issue with Victim Impact Statements, as to do so can cause further upset to victims.
In the 2020 case of R v DQ  ACTSC 352, Justice David Mossop noted the issues that often arise with Victim Impact Statements, saying:
“The Victim Impact Statement also included other material not directly relevant to the impact of the offending upon the victim or the children which I have not referred to. It is not uncommon for Victim Impact Statements to go beyond the matters which will be of direct relevance to the sentencing exercise.”
Justice Mossop then referred to the 2007 Victorian Court of Appeal case of The Queen v Swift  15 VR 497, which itself quotes the earlier matter of R v Dowlan  1 VR 123, in which Charles JA said (at 140): “The reception of Victim Impact Statements must, it seems to be, be approached by sentencing judges with a degree of flexibility; subject, of course, to the overriding concern that, in justice to the offender, the judge must be alert to avoid placing reliance on inadmissible matter.”
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.
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WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.
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