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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."
Committal Hearings (Vic)
When a person is charged with a serious indictable offence, the accused must first be ‘committed’ to the Supreme Court or County Court by a magistrate. This occurs by way of a committal hearing, which is a proceeding that takes place in the Magistrates Court for an adult or in the Children’s Court for a person under 18. At a committal hearing, a magistrate considers the evidence against the accused and makes an assessment as to whether there is enough evidence to support a finding of guilt against them. If there is not enough evidence for a jury to find them guilty, the magistrate will dismiss the charge. If there is enough evidence to support a conviction, the matter will be committed to a higher court, where it will be finalised via a plea or a trial.
Why do we have committal hearings?
Committal hearings exist so that serious criminal prosecutions do not occur indiscriminately. Where the prosecution lacks sufficient evidence to find a defendant guilty in a higher court, the accused should not be subjected to the stress and expense involved in a trial. Committals also serve to expedite the running of the higher courts and make sure that their time is not wasted hearing matters that do not have reasonable prospects of success.
The defence can also use a committal hearing to test the strength of the prosecution case, to cross-examine prosecution witnesses and find out how they are likely to perform at trial. It enables the defence to prepare and present a case and for the issues in dispute to be clearly defined.
In Victoria, the process for committal proceedings is set out in the Criminal Procedure Act. Section 96 of that Act provides that a committal hearing must be held when an accused is charged with an indictable offence, unless the charge is being heard in the Magistrates Court (summarily) or where a direct indictment has been filed.
An indictable offence matter will go through a number of administrative court mentions in the Magistrates Court prior to the committal hearing. Where the matter is a sexual offence where the victim was a child or a person with a cognitive impairment, the court must expedite the matter to the committal hearing stage. This process should usually be completed within two months. The accused must attend all court mentions relating to the committal unless they have been excused from attending by the court (Section 100).
What happens at a committal hearing?
How a committal proceeds depends on whether the defence chooses to test the prosecution case. If the defence indicates to the court that it wants to test the evidence, the matter will proceed to an oral committal. If the defence concedes that there is sufficient evidence for the matter to be committed to a higher court, this can occur by way of a hand up committal.
At an oral committal, the prosecutor will call each witness to provide evidence-in-chief. This is usually done by the witness taking an oath or affirmation and adopting their written statement and attesting to its truth and accuracy. The defence may then cross-examine each witness. However, the defence does not have to put the defence case to the prosecution witnesses and allow them to comment on it as it must during a trial.
The defence commonly uses an oral committal haring as an opportunity to establish facts. The prosecution must lead all the evidence it plans to rely on at the committal. It is unusual for the defence to call evidence at a committal hearing.
After hearing the evidence at committal, a magistrate may dismiss the charge or commit it to a higher court. If the magistrate chooses to dismiss the charge, this lets the prosecution know that the charge ought not to be proceeded with and the proceeding comes to an end. In rare cases, the prosecution may decide to commence the prosecution by way of a direct indictment. This means that the charge is laid again and taken directly to the higher court. A direct indictment can only be filed by the Director of Public Prosecutions on the advice of a director’s committee.
Hand up committals
If the defence agrees that there is sufficient evidence for an indictable offence charge to be committed to a higher court, it can waive its right to a Committal Hearing and opt for a hand up committal. In a hand-up committal, the brief of evidence will be handed up to the magistrate and the matter will be committed to a higher court. No witnesses will be called as parties are agreed that the matter should be committed to the higher court and the evidence is not being tested. Hand up committals generally occur where the accused is planning to plead guilty.
If you would like legal advice about a criminal matter or any other legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.
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