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My legal matter concerning an application for a Domestic Violence Order was managed by Mr Thomas Allen. I am grateful for the outcome he obtained. Without Mr Allen and his ongoing support, I would be certain of a different result. It has been an extremely stressful period. Mr Allen’s astute ability to liaise on my behalf and his expertise was invaluable and for which I am grateful as I am now able to move forward. Thanking you
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
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."
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Orders (ACT)
Sentencing for criminal offences is a difficult exercise, but drug and alcohol dependency add even more layers of complexity. In recent times, the ACT has followed other jurisdictions by introducing a drug court, with a separate arm of the Supreme Court dealing with particular offenders by imposing Drug and Alcohol Treatment Orders that divert them from what would otherwise have been a sentence of full-time imprisonment.
What are Drug and Alcohol Treatment Orders?
Section 80O of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 spells out the objects of drug and alcohol treatment orders. This is to:
(a) facilitate the rehabilitation of the offender by providing a judicially supervised, therapeutically oriented and integrated treatment regime; and
(b) reduce the offender’s dependency on alcohol or a controlled drug; and
(c) reduce the health risks associated with the offender’s dependency on alcohol or controlled drugs; and
(d) assist with the offender’s integration into the community; and
(e) promote community safety by reducing the level of criminal activity.
Why Drug and Alcohol Treatment Orders matter
Views vary markedly on the way drug- or alcohol-dependent people should be sentenced. At one end of the spectrum are those who see no reason to treat them any differently to anyone else who offends; at the other, there is considerable sympathy for the plight of people for whom addiction has become overwhelming.
There is a further, important aspect: the protection of the community. Some say that only incarceration can protect the community. Others argue that helping offenders to rehabilitate often means that they will not re-offend.
There is case law that suggests that successful rehabilitation is the community’s best protection (eg Yardley v Betts 1 A Crim R 329 (CCA) at 112). Statistics also support this. The second evaluation of the New South Wales Drug Court in 2008 by the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research concluded that those who successfully completed the drug court program were 37 per cent less likely than other offenders to be convicted of any offence at any point. Offenders who had participated in the drug court program (whether ultimately successful on the program or not) were 17 per cent less likely to be reconvicted.
When former ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay introduced the new scheme, he said it would provide “an alternative sentencing option that aims to rehabilitate certain offenders while also protecting the community as a whole”.
Who is eligible for a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Order?
To be eligible for a drug and alcohol treatment order, an offender must plead guilty to an eligible offence and be convicted in the Supreme Court and sentenced to imprisonment for at least 1 year but not more than 4 years (s12A of the Sentencing Act). That sentence can then be fully suspended on condition that the offender agrees to complete a treatment program, but only if the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the offender is dependent on alcohol or a controlled drug; and the dependence substantially contributed to the commission of the offence. Any concerns from a victim about his or her safety or welfare must be taken into account.
Importantly, subsection (5) provides: “The court must not impose a lesser sentence of imprisonment on the offender than the circumstances of the offence would ordinarily require only to allow the court to make a treatment order.”
An “eligible offence” is any offence that is not a sexual offence or murder, manslaughter or the infliction of grievous bodily harm.
A different approach
Unusually for criminal legislation, the new laws about drug and alcohol treatment orders talk of “rewarding” offenders. Section 80Q of the Sentencing Act talks of rewarding offenders for compliance by:
(i) decreasing how often the offender must undergo counselling, treatment or other supervision under the treatment order; or
(ii) decreasing how often the offender must be tested for alcohol or drugs under the treatment order.
However, sanctions can also be imposed by increasing the above if the offender does not comply with the terms of the order.
In deciding whether to make a treatment order for the offender, the court must consider any recommendations in the mandatory drug and alcohol treatment assessment, any medical report about the offender given to the court, any evidence given by an assessor who prepared the drug and alcohol treatment assessment, and any evidence given, or submission made, by a member of the treatment order team about the offender.
A Pre-Sentence Report by ACT Corrections must also be prepared ahead of the court’s decision.
Offenders must commit to the order’s core conditions, meaning they:
(a) must not commit another offence.
(b) if charged with another offence, must tell the responsible director‑general as soon as possible, but within 2 days.
(c) must report to a member of the treatment and supervision team where and when directed.
(d) must receive visits from a team member at the times directed.
(e) must advise of any change of his or her details.
Offenders must not leave or stay outside the ACT without permission for a continuous period of more than 24 hours and must not, if the court grants permission to leave or stay outside the ACT, fail to comply with any condition of that permission.
On top of the core conditions, there are treatment program conditions, including that the offender:
(a) must complete a program of treatment in relation to alcohol or drug dependency; and
(b) must comply with any other condition imposed by the court as necessary to achieve the purpose of the treatment program.
Conditions that the court may impose include:
- submit to medical, psychiatric or psychological treatment.
(b) submit to detoxification at a stated facility.
(c) participate in counselling or programs for treatment relevant to dependency or offending behaviour.
(d) attend meetings with a stated person or class of person.
(e) participate in vocational, educational or employment programs or courses.
(f) submit to alcohol and drug testing.
(g) not return a positive test sample under alcohol and drug testing.
(h) wear a device that detects alcohol or drug usage by the offender.
(i) install a device or equipment at the offender’s home address.
(j) live at a stated place for a stated period.
The conditions are onerous because these orders are replacing full-time imprisonment of at least a year, meaning that the offending and offending history is very serious.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.
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