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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."
Infanticide general refers to the killing of a child. The offence has its origins in 17th century England. Infanticide was common in Australia in the early 1900s because an illegitimate birth and lack of child care would lead to dire social and economic consequences for a woman. The danger and cost of illegal abortion added weight to the mother’s decision. Today, the offence is viewed through the lens of post-natal mental illness, recognising that a new mother who kills their child while in this state is less culpable than someone who kills in other circumstances.
The offence of infanticide in Victoria involves the killing of a child aged under 2, and is found in section 6(1) of the Crimes Act 1958. The Act states that a woman will be guilty of infanticide, and not murder, if at the time she caused the death of the child she had a mental disturbance due to:
- not fully recovering from the birth or;
- a disorder as a consequence of giving birth.
The mother will be liable to a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 5 years. Courts rarely impose prison terms for the offence, however, opting for less severe penalties such as a Community Corrections Order.
For a woman to be found guilty of the offence, it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- she was the natural mother of the child;
- she carried out the conduct that caused the death of the child;
- the child was aged under 2;
- her mind was disturbed due to not fully recovering from the child’s birth or due to a disorder as a consequence of giving birth.
What actions could constitute infanticide?
Examples of when a woman may be charged with infanticide include where:
- she has been unable to sleep for weeks and is mentally unwell as a result, and gives the child a lethal dose of sleeping medication;
- she is suffering from post-natal depression and smothers her child because the child won’t stop crying;
- she fails to seek medical help for her seriously ill child because she is too depressed to leave her home.
The Queen v Guode
In 2015, Akon Guode deliberately drove her car into a lake in Melbourne. Four of her children were in the car. Her 4-year-old twins and 16-month-old child drowned. Guode and her 5-year-old child survived. Guode pleaded guilty to the infanticide of the youngest child, the murders of the twins and the attempted murder of the oldest child. She was sentenced to 26 years and 6 months imprisonment with a non-parole period of 20 years. The sentencing judge described Guode, a Sudanese refugee, as having had “an extraordinarily difficult life – a life that most of us can hardly imagine”. A forensic psychiatrist gave evidence of Guode suffering a major depressive disorder, which had developed after the birth of the youngest child, at the time of the offending. On appeal in 2020, the sentence was deemed to have been “manifestly excessive” and was reduced to 18 years with non-parole period of 14 years.
The Queen v Nikat
In 2015, Sofina Nikat suffocated her 14-month old daughter and left the child’s body in a creek. Nikat pleaded guilty to infanticide. A forensic psychiatrist gave evidence that Nikat was suffering a recurrent depressive disorder, as a consequence of the child’s birth, at the time of the offending. Having served 529 days of pre-sentence detention, Nikat was sentenced to a 12-month Community Corrections Order.
The Queen v ZZMM
In 2014, ZZMM gave birth to a daughter, not being aware of the pregnancy until labour began. ZZMM placed her hand over the baby’s mouth for 30 to 60 seconds so as not to wake her family. When ZZMM realised the baby had died, she placed the body in a bag, cleaned the room and went to bed. Two days later, she hid the bag under a tree. A week later, she collected the bag and attended a police station. ZZMM pleaded guilty to infanticide. Psychiatric reports tendered to the court stated ZZMM had suffered from a rare mental state called “pregnancy denial”, which had led to “disassociation” and an inability “to think rationally and exercise appropriate judgement”. She was sentenced to a 1-year Community Corrections Order.
R v Azzopardi
In 2003, Leanne Azzopardi placed her 5-week-old daughter face-down in the bath, where the child drowned. Azzopardi pleaded guilty to infanticide. Medical experts gave evidence Azzopardi was suffering severe post-natal depression at the time of her offending. She was placed on an 18-month community-based order with a condition that she continue to receive psychiatric treatment.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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