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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."
Pleading Guilty and Representing Yourself
Defendants in criminal matters often represent themselves in court. This is particularly the case when a person is pleading guilty to minor offences such as traffic offences or minor summary offences like disorderly behaviour in public. If you are considering representing yourself in court in a criminal matter and pleading guilty, it is important that take into account the below considerations.
Pleading guilty: Are you actually guilty?
This may seem like a straightforward question, but there may be more to it than you realise. Many criminal offences are made up of a physical act (the actus reus) and a mental element (the mens rea). You should not plead guilty without making sure that you fulfil both the physical and the mental elements of the offence.
When a person is charged with offences, they are provided with a charge sheet which is accompanied by a summary of the facts. This is what the police alleged occurred. You should check this carefully and make sure that it accurately reflects what happened. If there are statements in the summary that you think are incorrect, but you still want to plead guilty to the offence, you should contact the prosecution and ask them to amend the facts so that you can plead guilty.
If you have been charged with multiple offences and you are guilty of all of them, there may still be unfair duplication between charges. It is common for the police to lay two or more alternate charges arising from the same facts. Where a person is willing to plead guilty, the prosecution will often accept a plea to only one of these charges and agree to withdraw the others. Some examples of this include where a person is charged with assault police and resist police, or possess cannabis and supply cannabis, arising out of the same incident. While the police are not always agreeable to withdrawing charges in this situation, it is always worth talking to them about the possibility or getting a lawyer to do so on your behalf.
Pleading guilty: Can the prosecution prove it?
If you are guilty, you should still ask yourself whether the prosecution can prove you guilty. In some cases, this may mean adjourning the matter to obtain the brief of evidence. The brief of evidence is a copy of all the evidence the prosecution is relying on against you.
If the brief of evidence shows weaknesses in the prosecution case, it may be advisable not to plead guilty. Alternately, you may be able to use the weakness of the case to negotiate for some or all of the charges to be withdrawn.
Are there any defences available?
Even if you committed the physical act that makes up the offence, you may have a defence available. This may be that what happened was an accident, or that you were acting in self-defence. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice to make absolutely sure that there is no defence available to you before you plead guilty.
If you decide to go ahead and represent yourself when pleadign guilty, you will have to present a plea in mitigation in court. This is where you tell the court about your circumstances and the circumstances of the offence. This may include your employment history, academic record, character references from people who know you (such as former employers or business associates) and can attest that the offending was out of character, that you have a prior good record (if it was your first criminal offence) and any particularly difficult circumstances that contributed to the offence.
If the offence arose because of a drug or alcohol problem, evidence that you have taken steps to address the problem, such as undertaking a rehab program, will be relevant to the court when deciding on your sentence. If you have apologised to the victim or tried to make amends – for example, by paying for damage caused – this is also a relevant mitigating factor that the court needs to know. If you are experiencing financial hardship, make sure the court knows your situation and how much income and expenses you have in case it is considering imposing a fine.
Court etiquette when pleading guilty
When you go to court, you should dress neatly and conservatively and arrive on time. Court can often take all day as the list may be busy and your matter may not be called on first. If you are facing a period of license suspension, do not drive to court. When you arrive, find out which courtroom your matter is in and let the court staff know that you are there and that you are pleading guilty.
When your matter is called on, each charge will be read out and you will be asked how you plead. You will need to say ‘guilty’ to each charge you are pleading guilty to. You will then be asked to tell the court anything you have to say about the offence and your background. If you need more time to prepare, you can advise the court that you are pleading guilty and ask for an adjournment to another date that suits you.
If you would like to speak to a lawyer prior to representing yourself in a criminal matter or in any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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