A 34 year old Logan man has been charged with 34 offences by the Crime and Intelligence Command Sexual Crime Unit.

It is alleged that the individual utilised various dating applications and social media platforms to contact women in the Brisbane and Gold Coast areas between 2019 and 2023, reportedly committing offenses against at least nine women.

Operation Whiskey Midfields: Origin and Progress

Launched in December 2023, Operation Whiskey Midfields originated from a police report. After preliminary investigations, a search warrant was executed at a Logan residence in March 2024, resulting in the seizure of several devices for forensic analysis.

The charges include:

  • counts of distributing intimate images;
  • three counts of rape;
  • one of attempted rape;
  • domestic choking;
  • privacy breach recordings;
  • unlawful stalking; and
  • contravention of a domestic violence order. 

The male is to appear before the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 27 May 2024. Such charges will ordinarily proceed through the higher courts such as in the District or Supreme Courts of Brisbane, as proposed by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

We have uncovered multiple intimate images and videos where the identity of the person depicted is unknown and we are urging anyone who had contact with this man to come forward to police,” Detective Senior Constable McDonald said. Members from the Sexual Crime Unit have urged potential additional victims in the community to come forward to assist with the investigation.

Support for Victims

Reporting options are available to increase accessibility and support individuals in coming forward, including Alternative Reporting Options, which provide victim-survivors with an online alternative for reporting sexual assault while allowing them to remain anonymous.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

 

 

NSW director of public prosecutions, Sally Dowling SC, has ordered a comprehensive review of all sexual assault cases listed for trial.

Judicial Concerns

The review stems from remarks made by District Court Judge Peter Whitford SC, who expressed concerns about the prosecution’s approach in sexual assault cases. He said that “time and time again” cases were being prosecuted “without apparent regard to whether there might be reasonable prospects of securing a conviction.” Alleged victims were being put through “anxiety, stress, humiliation and distress” and defendants were subjected to “inappropriate stress and disruption,” he said.

Over the past year, similar concerns have been voiced by members of the judiciary, signalling a growing rift between the legal branches. High-profile cases, such as that of Martinez, where a defendant spent eight months in custody before being acquitted, have fueled debates over prosecutorial discretion and the threshold for initiating cases.

Case Audit

The ODPP (Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions) has staunchly defended its practices who maintain that conviction rates for sexual assault cases have remained consistent, refuting claims of systemic deficiencies. However, the ODPP has initiated a thorough case audit, led by senior crown prosecutors. This comprehensive review aims to ensure compliance with established guidelines and restore confidence in the integrity of the legal process.

While the dispute continues to unfold, Attorney-General Michael Daley has said he wouldn’t intervene, reinforcing the independence of the judiciary: “Are you suggesting I should intervene in a complaint to the judicial commission or wander on down there with my wig on and defend the judge or what?” he said. “It’s not my role.”

Conclusion

Overall, every sexual assault matter set for trial in NSW will be reviewed to ensure prosecuting guidelines have been met, which may give rise to similar reviews in other states and territories throughout Australia. 

Our team specialise in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

 

Criminals have been targeting students, both online and in person, with offers of easy money and recruiting them to serve as money mules, often without their full awareness of what they are involved in. The role of a money mule involves receiving illicit funds into their bank accounts, and then transferring them to other accounts or cryptocurrency exchanges.

Consequences 

The money funneled through these operations often fuels a range of serious crimes, including cybercrime, terrorism, and human trafficking. In response, law enforcement agencies across Australia have intensified their efforts to combat such illicit activities and Universities have been warning their students that this is a form of money laundering for which those involved can be arrested and charged by the police.

Convictions for these crimes can lead to substantial prison sentences, ranging from 12 months to life imprisonment. 

Strategies

Criminals employ various methods to recruit unsuspecting individuals into these schemes. They may reach out through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat, as well as instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Telegram. Fake job offers, often disguised as opportunities to become a ‘money transfer agent,’ are another common tactic. These recruitment efforts can also come through online pop-up ads, direct face-to-face contact, or deceptive emails.

Protective Measures

To safeguard yourself and others from falling victim to money mule scams, it’s essential to adopt a cautious approach:

  • STOP: Pause and consider whether the offer seems too good to be true. Exercise vigilance and skepticism.


  • CHECK: Conduct thorough research before committing to any opportunity. Verify the legitimacy of prospective employers, including checking for an online presence and confirming the validity of contact details. Be particularly wary of offers originating from overseas.


  • REJECT: Refuse to engage with any online posts promising substantial financial rewards. Avoid accepting messages or requests from unknown individuals, and refrain from sharing sensitive personal or financial information, even among acquaintances. Never agree to lend your bank account to anyone.


  • ACCEPT: Limit your job search to reputable websites and registered businesses with verifiable credentials..

Law enforcement is actively cracking down on these criminals. Stay informed, stay cautious, and stay safe.

Our team specialise in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

 

Less than one-tenth of people account for approximately two-thirds of legal matters in Australia. This suggests a disproportionate amount of people are currently carrying a potential burden of not having access to justice, resulting in a significant financial impact.

Why is Access to Justice Important?

Access to Justice is a fundamental principle of any effective legal system, hoping to ensure that all individuals are able to access equal levels of legal representation in order to best resolve their matters. The justice system seeks to balance both sides of any matter with adequate legal representation. If one party were to have an objective advantage due to legal resources available, the primary principles that our legal system is upheld upon becomes obsolete and ineffective. The ultimate goal is to ensure the discovery of truth and justice for all Australians, regardless of background.

Obstacles in Place

A pressing concern relating to access to justice is the glaringly high costs associated with retaining legal representation. Despite the implementation of legal aid services, these sometime prove to be inadequate in eligibility criteria, denying access to many individuals and resulting in a deprivation in sufficient legal support. A proposed consideration to this problem is to introduce new legal aid benefits that enlarges the group of individuals who can qualify in order to capture a larger proportion of those in need.

Another significant obstacle preventing access to justice for some individuals is the increasing use of technological resources. Disadvantaged groups may experience less quality legal support due to limited internet access or digital literacy skills. This problem is likely to continue throughout the years, as developments in technology have only become further accelerated in recent years. Discussions surrounding the methods of bridging the digital divide are essential in ensuring equal access to justice for all Australians.

Raising Awareness

Whether it’s understanding your legal issue throughout the legal process, or ensuring your voice is heard when laws are made, access to justice is essential in a functioning, democratic society. Ensuring that everyone understands that they have a right to adequate legal assistance will help our justice system produce honest, fair and just outcomes for everyone involved.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article. It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem. 

In Queensland it is an offence to drive a motor vehicle carelessly, also commonly known as driving without due care. 

The Police must prove that you were not driving carefully and in a way that showed reasonable consideration for other road users. It is important to note that you can be charged with careless driving even if you are driving on private property, or if there are no other cars involved.  

You can be charged with the offence of careless driving regardless if you have caused an accident or not. If you have caused an accident as a result of your driving it will be found to be an aggravating factor, making the charge more serious.  

You can be charged with careless driving if you have caused an accident that has resulted in injury to another person or death, however more serious charges such as Dangerous Driving are more common when serious injury or death is caused. 

The Law and Careless Driving

Section 83 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act (Qld) states: 

(1) Any person who drives a motor vehicle on a road or elsewhere without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place is guilty of an offence. 

(2) If the court convicts a person of an offence against subsection (1) in the circumstances mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) of the penalty, the court, whether or not any other sentence is imposed, must disqualify the person from holding or obtaining a Queensland driver licence for a period of at least 6 months.

Elements of the Offence

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence. Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. For the charge of Careless Driving the Prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender; 
  2. Drove; 
  3. A Motor Vehicle; 
  4. On a Road or Road Related Area; 
  5. Without due care and attention; OR 
  6. Without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place.

Maximum Penalty for Careless Driving

The charge of careless driving holds a maximum penalty of 6 months imprisonment or a fine of 40 penalty units.  

If death or grievous bodily harm is caused to another person AND it was an unlicensed driver at the time of committing the offence it holds a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment or 160 penalty units.  

If death or grievous bodily harm is caused to another person it holds a maximum penalty of 1 years imprisonment or 80 penalty units.  

The Court is not required to impose a period of disqualification, however has discretion to impose a period of disqualification if they believe it is warranted. Disqualification can range from 1 month to an absolute disqualification.  

Absolute disqualification means you are disqualified for a minimum of 2 years, after the period of 2 years you can apply to have your licence reinstated.  

Convictions

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Careless Driving, then the court could impose one of the following penalties: 

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time); 
  • Intensive Corrections Order; 
  • Probation; 
  • Community Service Order; 
  • Fines. 

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant.  

Possible Defences for Careless Driving

There are a number of defences available to charges at law. Not every defence is available to every charge. You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge. Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are:

  • Necessity; 
  • Mistake of Fact; 
  • Public Safety; 
  • Self Defence or defence of another person; 
  • Intoxication; 
  • Provocation; 
  • Accident; 
  • Duress; 
  • Compulsion; 
  • Insanity; 
  • Automatism 

Which Court will your matter be heard in?

The charge Careless Driving will be heard in the Magistrates Court in Queensland. The charge will be heard and determined by a Magistrate alone whether you plead guilty or not guilty. There is no jury in the Magistrates Court. 

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a Careless Driving allegation or if I am charged with Careless Driving?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over-the-phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. We can make recommendations, such as defensive driving courses

Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

Queensland is enacting new legislation aimed at criminalising coercive control to combat domestic and family violence within the state. The forthcoming legislation seeks to fortify the existing legal framework addressing the systematic nature of coercive control. Queensland has demonstrated a proactive stance with the recent passage of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2023.

The forthcoming amendments to the legislation will:

  • Enhance the offence of unlawful stalking in the Queensland Criminal Code to comprehensively address the diverse range of tactics employed by perpetrators.
  • Expand the definition of domestic and family violence to encompass behavior that unfolds over time, emphasizing that acts of domestic violence must be considered in the context of the whole relationship.
  • Reinforce the judiciary’s response regarding cross-applications of Domestic Violence Orders, prioritizing the protection of the most in need.
  • Widen the court’s authority to award costs in civil domestic violence cases to deter the misuse of the legal process for further victimization.
  • Consider previous domestic violence or criminal history when determining the necessity for a domestic violence order.
  • Extend protection to domestic violence complainants and other witnesses under the protected witness scheme.
  • Facilitate the provision of jury directions and expert evidence on domestic violence in criminal law trials.

These amendments will significantly benefit individuals experiencing Domestic and Family violence situations.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

An Australian Solicitor was charged by the Legal Services Commissioner with engaging in conduct to a material degree to bring the legal profession into disrepute over the posts he made in April 2021. 

Understanding the Law 

The Legal Services Commissioner stated that the comments contravened Rule 5.1.2 of the Australian Solicitor Conduct Rules 2012, resulting in unsatisfactory professional conduct. The posts included commenting on a client’s Facebook post such as “not going to jail on my watch”, “too pretty for jail”, and “In the hoods where I’ve run people know…. keeps all the boys out of jail”. 

The Australian Solicitor Conduct is an ethical code applying to all lawyers in the legal profession. It sets out guidelines and a comprehensive framework for how lawyers are to act after being admitted into practice. These rules are in place to ensure that lawyers comply with and adhere to ethical obligations that demonstrate professionalism and respect for the legal system. 

A Reasonable, Competent Legal Practitioner 

The Legal Services Commissioner reasoned that an individual of competent and reasonable authority would not publicly name clients on social media websites, demonstrating a lack of respect and understanding for principles of confidentiality. Further, he reasoned that discussing specific details in relation to a client’s criminal law matter on social media showcases a lack of appreciation for the stringent rules in place intentioned to maintain respect the justice system. 

When you retain a lawyer, you expect a high level of professionalism and conduct. 

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

 

Effective from 1 July 2024, traffic fines will change across all categories in Queensland.

Deterrent

We need to ensure the deterrent effect of penalties and fines remains current, and people who break the law do not get a free ride.” Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said.

Motorists exceeding the speed limit by less than 11 kilometres will now face a fine of $322. Those caught using their phones while driving, or simply placing it on their laps, will incur a minimum fine of $1200. Speeding over 40km/h will result in a hefty fine of $1900.

Despite concerns raised regarding the potential impact on individuals facing financial strain, Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey remained resolute. He cited the sobering statistic of 138 lives lost on the state’s roads so far this year, 17 more than last year. “Increasing these penalties will deliver a stronger message to people who are endangering other people’s lives on our roads” he said.

Revenue

Jarrod Bleijie, the state’s deputy opposition, echoed public sentiment, “Queenslanders seek assurance that these fees and charges are directed towards initiatives promoting road safety and the maintenance of road infrastructure”.

The Queensland Treasury anticipates revenue exceeding $850 million in the upcoming financial year.

Our team specialise in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

In January 2024, we introduced the topic of AI integration into Australian courtrooms, and today we take a more comprehensive look at this issue.

Background

Last year, we saw a law firm representing an airline employ ChatGPT to craft a legal argument, citing six fictitious cases. Amongst the court responses, “A submission filed by plaintiff’s counsel in opposition to a motion to dismiss is replete with citations to non-existent cases.” To comment that this law firm was reprimanded by the court would be an understatement. This event served as the first important lesson for the legal community regarding the risks of Generative AI.

A Repeated Pattern

Fast forward to February 2024, further issues surfaced in the US Court of Appeal where a self-represented litigant resorted to citing fake legal cases in their court filing generated by AI. The court remarked, “Particularly concerning to this Court is that Appellant submitted an Appellate Brief in which the overwhelming majority of the citations are not only inaccurate but entirely fictitious.” The repercussions were severe; the appeal was dismissed, and the appellant was ordered to indemnify (pay) the opponent’s legal expenses.

Again, at the beginning of 2024, a lawyer submitted a memorandum filled with fake citations. When pressed by the court for an explanation, the lawyer said he had “no idea” where the cases came from. Further investigation revealed that the lawyer had delegated the task of sourcing relevant precedents to colleagues who relied on AI. The lawyer apologised to the judge for the fake citations and expressed regret for failing to “exercise due diligence in verifying the authenticity of all caselaw references provided by the [AI] system”.

Broader Lesson

In an era of rapid technological advancement, lawyers should keep their finger on the pulse. The onus lies on lawyers to exercise due diligence, particularly when submitting documents to courts. Blind faith in AI not only invites judicial punishment as provided above, but also jeopardises the fidelity owed to clients.

As the legal landscape continues to evolve, embracing technology is inevitable. However, it is important that the integrity of the legal process remains untouched.

Our team are experts in criminal law. Our role is to sit down with you and work out the strategy that will get you the best possible result. If you have any questions about this article or any other topic of law, please call our team of experts on 1300 066 669.

This article is for general information only and should not be relied on for specific legal advice.  The author will not be held responsible for any action that a person takes as a result of interpretation of the contents of this article.  It is important to seek specific advice from a qualified and experienced lawyer for any legal problem. 

Bribery is the act of dishonestly persuading someone (person or company) to act in one’s favour or provide an improper advantage by offering a gift of benefit or other improper inducement. Bribery of a Member of Parliament includes offering such a bribe (gift of benefit or improper inducement) to a government official. This can include offering money, service, property, access to goods or services etc to government officials in order to gain an unfair advantage from them.   

The Law Surrounding Bribery of Member of Parliament

Section 60 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states; 

(1) Any person who— 

(a) in order to influence a member of the Legislative Assembly in the member’s vote, opinion, judgement, or action, upon any question or matter arising in the Legislative Assembly or in any committee thereof or in order to induce the member to absent himself or herself from the Assembly or from any such committee, gives, confers, or procures, or promises or offers to give or confer, or to procure or attempt to procure, any property or benefit of any kind to, upon, or for, such member, or to, upon, or for, any other person; or 

(b) attempts, directly or indirectly, by fraud, or by threats or intimidation of any kind, to influence a member of the Legislative Assembly in the member’s vote, opinion, judgement, or action, upon any such question or matter, or to induce the member to so absent himself or herself; 

is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 7 years.

Elements of the Offence

It is the duty of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant has committed the offence.  Every charge has a number of elements that the Prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  For the charge of Bribery of a Member of Parliament the Prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant – The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender; 
  2. Intended; or  
  3. Attempted to Influence or Induce; or 
  4. Threatened or Intimidated; 
  5. A Member of the Legislative Assembly; 
  6. In the Members Vote, Opinion, Judgement or Action.

Maximum Penalty for Bribery of Member of Parliament:

The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment. 

Convictions

In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Bribery of a Member of Parliament, then the court could impose one of the following penalties: 

  • Jail (suspended, parole or actual time); 
  • Intensive Corrections Order; 
  • Probation; 
  • Community Service Order; 
  • Fines. 

The actual penalty will depend on the circumstances of the matter including the seriousness of the offence and the individual circumstances and background of the Defendant. 

Possible Defences For Bribery of Member of Parliament

There are a number of defences available to charge at law. Not every defence is available to every charge. You will need to seek specific legal advice to see if you have a defence available to you for this charge. 

Some of the common defences available in criminal charges are:

  • Necessity; 
  • Mistake of Fact; 
  • Public Safety; 
  • Self Defence or defence of another person; 
  • Intoxication; 
  • Provocation; 
  • Accident; 
  • Duress; 
  • Compulsion; 
  • Insanity; 
  • Automatism

Which Court will your matter be heard in?

The charge of Bribery of Member of Parliament needs to be heard in the higher court and cannot be dealt with by a Magistrate. In that event, a committal hearing will have to be conducted and then the matter will proceed to the District Court.  If you enter a plea of guilty then the charge will be determined by a Judge.  If you enter a plea of Not Guilty then the trial will be before a Judge and Jury.  If you are found guilty then you will be sentenced by the Judge.

What should I do if the police want to speak to me about a Bribery of Member of Parliament allegation or if I am charged with Bribery of Member of Parliament?

You have the right to remain silent. You DO have to provide police with your name, date of birth and contact details. You should NOT answer any questions, make any statement or participate in any interview with the police. You should be polite to the officer but insist that you want to talk to your lawyer. You have the right to telephone a friend, relative or lawyer.

Call an Expert

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is very important that you seek immediate legal advice. Our team at Brooke Winter Solicitors can give you over-the-phone advice. We have a solid reputation as expert Criminal Lawyers and can represent you in court. Call us on 1300 066 669 if you have any questions. We can assist you no matter where you are located and can appear in every court.

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