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."
Honest And Reasonable Mistake
The defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact applies only to strict liability offences. Strict liability offences do not require the prosecution to prove that the accused intended to commit the crime in order to find them guilty. They only require the court to be satisfied that the accused committed the act. A person charged with a strict liability offence can raise the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact. It is the only defence available to them.
The defence of honest and reasonable mistake will succeed if the accused can demonstrate that they held a positive belief in a state of affairs that, had it existed, would render the defendant’s act innocent.
Onus of proof
If an accused seeks to rely on the defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact, the defence must raise this as a defence. However, once the defence has been raised, the onus lies on the prosecution to prove that no such belief was held by the defendant.
When may the defence of honest and reasonable mistake succeed?
The defence of honest and reasonable mistake may be successfully argued in the following situations:
- Where a person charged with having sex with a child under the age of 16 had an honest and reasonable but mistaken belief that the child was 16 or older;
- Where a person charged with tax fraud can show that they honestly and reasonably believed that the incorrect information they provided to the tax office was correct;
- Where a person is charged with speeding but can show that the speedometer in their car was faulty and they honestly and reasonably believed they were travelling below the speed limit.
Thomas v The King
In the 1937 High Court decision of Thomas v The King, the court held that it was a defence to a charge of bigamy that the accused had believed “bona fide and on reasonable grounds” that he was not married and therefore was single and entitled to marry. The basis of the belief of the accused was that his marriage to his “former wife” was not valid because her decree of divorce had not been made absolute so that she was still a married woman when he married her.
In upholding the defence of honest and reasonable mistake, Latham CJ said:
“The belief was that a decree absolute had not been made by the Supreme Court of Victoria. Whether or not such a decree had been made was a question of fact. If no decree absolute had been made, the marriage of the accused’s former wife would not have been dissolved and therefore, she would still have been a married woman when she married the accused. Thus, her marriage to the accused would have been invalid, and he would not have been a married person when he went through the ceremony of marriage with Miss Deed. Thus, if his belief as to the matter of fact mentioned had been true, he would not have been guilty of the offence charged.”
Mistake of fact vs mistake of law
It is important to note that a person who commits an offence because of a mistake of law does not have a defence. The defence of honest and reasonable mistake is arguable only in relation to mistakes of fact. If a person commits an act thinking (mistakenly) that it is not a criminal offence, they are guilty of the offence regardless of the mistake. Thus the common saying ‘Ignorance of the law is no defence.’
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.
WHY CHOOSE ARMSTRONG LEGAL?
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Canberra ACT 2601
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Perth WA 6000