Sharon Graham, aged 63, has been found guilty of orchestrating a murder plot involving the death of Bruce James Saunders, as he was fed into an industrial woodchipper. The incident occurred on 12 November 2017, at a property near Gympie. Graham, who pleaded not guilty, was accused of enlisting her then partners Greg Roser and Peter Koenig to murder Saunders with the motive of claiming insurance money.

According to the prosecution’s case presented at the Brisbane Supreme Court, Saunders, 53, was struck on the head with an iron bar while the trio was clearing vegetation on a friend’s rural property in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. The plan involved disposing of his body by feeding it into an industrial woodchipper to simulate an accidental death.

Saunders and Graham had an “on and off” relationship, complicating the motives behind the murder plot. Koenig, a key witness, testified that he witnessed Roser repeatedly striking Saunders on the head with the iron bar. Subsequently, he assisted in moving the lifeless body to the woodchipper, where he placed Saunders on the tray and used a stick to push the body in.

The court further heard that the day after the murder, Graham, over coffee, discussed Saunders’ will before spending the night in his bed with another man.

With the guilty verdict reached by the jury on Friday afternoon, Sharon Graham is now awaiting sentencing for her role in the disturbing murder plot.

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 a shocking case on the Gold Coast, two teenage girls, aged 16 at the time, have been sentenced to probation for their involvement in the torture and tragic death of Irish teen Cian English. The incident occurred on 23 May 2019 at the View Pacific apartments, where English fell to his death while attempting to escape a group accusing him and a friend of drug theft.

The Brisbane Supreme Court revealed that the unnamed girls filmed and posted a series of horrifying videos on social media, capturing the larger group torturing English and his friend over a 27-minute period. The footage portrayed the victim being stabbed, bruised, and threatened with violence.

Crown prosecutor Caroline Marco highlighted the girls’ callous remarks during the ordeal, quoting one as saying, “This is why you don’t steal shit from the boys,” and another cruelly stating, “The bad bitch I am, making this sad * clean his own blood up.” After English’s fatal fall, the girls fled the scene along with three male co-accused, all previously sentenced for manslaughter.

While Justice Peter Applegarth condemned the girls’ reprehensible actions, he acknowledged their age at the time and the challenges they faced in their upbringing. Despite having rehabilitated from drug use and being employed, the girls were sentenced to two years’ probation with no recorded conviction for one count of torture and two counts of armed robbery.

The lenient sentence has sparked a public debate given the gravity of the case and the emotional impact statements delivered by the victims’ families. English’s mother, Siobhan, expressed ongoing pain and loss, underscoring the challenges in finding justice for such acts.

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.


The Queensland Courts acknowledge several Domestic Violence prevention programs, one of which is the Men’s Domestic Violence Education and Intervention Program. This collaborative initiative involves a partnership with the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast and Queensland Corrective Services, often with a representative situated at the Southport Magistrate Court on the same floor as the Domestic Violence Court.

Primarily designed for men, this program extends its commitment by offering referrals to the female partners of participating men when deemed necessary.

Who Can Attend?

This program is tailored for men who are respondents to Domestic Violence Orders or those who have breached such orders. As of July 2022, eligibility has expanded to include a broader range of referrals, including self-referrals. Previously, attendance required a court order. To commence the program, individuals may approach a representative at the Magistrates Court Southport or contact the program office at (07) 5591 4222, where they will guide participants through the necessary steps.

Program Duration

The program spans 27 weeks, with sessions held for 1½ hours once per week. Conducted in rolling sessions over 50 weeks, participants can join at the commencement of any of the 9 topics covered, to then go on and complete their 27 weeks. Each topic is explored over a 3-week period.

Program Content

Throughout the 27-week duration, participants engage with 9 diverse topics centered around domestic violence. The program intentionally fosters an environment where men can comfortably articulate and reflect on their beliefs and underlying values contributing to harm in their relationships. This is achieved through open conversations and exploratory discussions into participants’ emotions.

Who Qualifies?

To enroll in the program, participants must meet specific criteria:

  • Reside in the Gold Coast area.
  • Be no younger than 18 years of age.
  • Have exhibited harmful behavior in a relationship.
  • Must have been referred to the program or self-referred through direct contact with the program.

This program underscores a commitment to fostering positive change and personal growth for individuals seeking to address and rectify issues related to domestic violence within their lives.


Our team specialises 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.

With the advent of new laws on October 3, 2023, allowing for the public identification of individuals charged with offenses such as rape, sexual assault, attempted rape, and assault with intent to commit rape prior to trial, a significant paradigm shift in legal protocols has arisen.

The amendments to the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act of 1978, as elucidated by Minister Yvette D’Ath, the Minister for Justice and Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, are aimed at reshaping societal attitudes towards cases of sexual offenses. The Palaszczuk government’s commitment to fortifying the justice system, holding offenders accountable, and enhancing transparency in sentencing decisions aligns with community expectations. The overarching goal of the changes to Queensland laws is to ensure fairness uniformly across all states and territories in Australia, with the exception of the Northern Territory, where accused individuals can now be identified prior to the trial commencing.

Nevertheless, this legal framework includes a solitary exception; the accused may not be publicly identified if such identification would reveal the accuser’s identity. Consequently, an influx of Non-Publication Order (NPO) applications has been observed, seeking to shield the identities of the accused from media exposure.

Recent events in Toowoomba exemplify this trend, wherein an application was made to the Supreme Court seeking to suppress the accused’s identity until the matter is fully heard. This injunction, granted five days ago, has generated division within the court system, as the application was made to the higher-ranking Supreme Court, causing disquiet among lower court officials. The absence of a clear procedural pathway for accused individuals and their legal representatives has resulted in potential confusion.

In a related development, Bruce Lehrmann, a “high-profile” individual accused of rape in Toowoomba two years ago, can now be named following the denial of a non-publication order in a judicial review. Lehrmann, charged with two counts of rape, has been navigating early committal proceedings since January. The legal proceedings surrounding Lehrmann gained national attention in February 2021, as he was accused of raping another woman, Brittany Higgins, at Parliament House in Canberra in 2019. Recent changes in Queensland law allowed Lehrmann’s naming before trial, in line with other states and territories.

Despite Lehrmann’s legal team’s efforts to secure a non-publication order, arguing potential jury prejudice and harm to mental health, both claims were dismissed by Magistrate Clare Kelly on October 13 2023, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court on Thursday. Media outlets, including Guardian Australia, ABC, Nine, News Corp publications, Network Ten, and Queensland police, opposed the judicial review and non-publication order.

The ongoing legal complexities surrounding Lehrmann, including his defamation case against Network 10, journalist Lisa Wilkinson, and the ABC, underscore the intricate nature of legal proceedings in cases of sexual offenses. The broader implications of these legislative changes guarantees impact on legal procedures and media involvement warrant continued scrutiny and careful consideration.

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.

Coercive control is poised to be established as a distinct criminal offense in Queensland, as outlined in pioneering legislative proposals unveiled by the Palaszczuk government for implementation by 2024.

Within the framework of these proposed laws, the government endeavours to proscribe the conduct of an adult meeting the following qualifications: the individual is involved in a domestic relationship with another party, and the individual consistently engages in a repeated pattern of behaviour characterized by acts of domestic violence on multiple occasions.

The new maximum penalty under the new provisions would be 14 years Imprisonment.

What is coercive control?

Coercive control, in formal terms, can be defined as a recurrent pattern of conduct encompassing emotional, psychological, and financial abuse, as well as the acts of isolating, intimidating, engaging in sexual coercion, and resorting to cyberstalking.

How can I identify coercive control?

In order to identify coercive control, one should be vigilant for the following signs:

  1. Isolation: An abusive partner may isolate you from your support network, such as friends and family, to undermine your access to the necessary support.
  2. Monitoring: They may engage in constant surveillance, monitoring your activities throughout the day.
  3. Denial of Freedom and Autonomy: Coercive controllers may restrict your freedom and independence, which can manifest as preventing you from attending work or school, limiting transportation options, stalking your movements, taking control of your devices and passwords, and more.
  4. Gaslighting: Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic used by abusers to make you doubt your own reality and sanity by insisting on their version of events, even when evidence contradicts it.
  5. Verbal Abuse: Coercive control may include name-calling, severe criticism, and malicious put-downs, which constitute extreme forms of bullying.
  6. Financial Control: This involves limiting access to money and controlling finances as a means of disempowering you. It can include imposing strict budgets, restricting access to bank accounts, hiding financial resources, preventing you from having a credit card, and closely monitoring your spending.
  7. Domestic Duties: Abusers might coerce you into shouldering all domestic duties, such as cleaning, cooking, and childcare, without sharing responsibilities.
  8. Child Manipulation: If you have children, the abuser may attempt to manipulate them against you by making derogatory comments, belittling you in their presence, or sowing a narrative that portrays you as abnormal.
  9. Health and Body Control: The abuser may exert control over aspects of your health and body, including monitoring and regulating your eating, sleeping, exercise, bathroom usage, medical choices, and medications.
  10. Jealousy: Abusers may exhibit unwarranted jealousy, making accusations about your interactions with family, friends, or online contacts in an effort to isolate you further.
  11. Sexual Control: They might regulate your sexual relationship, imposing demands regarding the frequency and types of sexual activities.
  12. Threats: In extreme cases, coercive controllers may resort to threats against your children or pets, using them as tools of intimidation when other forms of control prove ineffective.

These behaviours collectively constitute the manifestations of coercive control, which is a serious issue that warrants attention and intervention.


The proposed legislation represents a significant response to the findings of the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, which has recommended its implementation in order to address the profound distress experienced by victims of abuse. This distress stems not only from their perpetrators but also from the involvement of the perpetrator’s family and acquaintances, as well as individuals hired to survey and monitor them. The envisaged measures include the introduction of community education campaigns and training initiatives focused on the recognition and understanding of coercive control dynamics.

Additionally, these proposed laws aim to establish a court-based perpetrator diversion scheme, thereby enhancing the legal framework’s capacity to address and prevent such abusive behaviours. Moreover, the legislation advances the adoption of an affirmative consent model akin to those in New South Wales and Victoria, reflecting a commitment to providing robust protections for victims of coercive control.


The primary objective underlying the proposed legislative measures is to mitigate the pervasive issue of domestic violence in Queensland. Recent statistics, as of August 2023, have revealed a disturbing surge in domestic violence incidents, with the state recording an alarming daily average of nearly 500 such cases. This sharp increase, exceeding 40 percent, has been observed since the tragic murders of Hannah Clarke and her children. These disconcerting figures have deeply unsettled law enforcement officials, including Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll, who, despite her extensive career, found these statistics unprecedented.

The state reported a distressing total of 171,750 domestic violence incidents during the 2022-23 financial year, translating to approximately 470.5 cases daily. This stark contrast from the figures in prior years, such as 138,928 incidents in 2020-21 and 90,000 in 2017-18, underscores the pressing need for effective legal measures.

In alignment with New South Wales and Victoria, Queensland is poised to adopt an affirmative consent model. In addition to these significant legislative changes, community education campaigns and training programs focusing on coercive control are being introduced.

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.

What is Attempting to Pervert Justice?

Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice in Queensland is an offence where a person tries to stop justice from being served on themselves or another person by their actions.  It can include a person doing things such as telling a complainant to withdraw charges against them, asking someone to provide a fake alibi, asking a medical practitioner to give you a fake medical certificate etc  

The Law:

Section 140 of the Criminal Code (Qld) 1899 states; 

(1) A person who attempts to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice is guilty of a crime. 

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 Attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice the Prosecution must prove; 

  1. Defendant The Prosecutor has to prove the identification of the offender; 
  2. The defendant did an act intentionally  
  3. The act was intended to pervert justice  
  4. That justice was or was attempted to be perverted  

Maximum Penalty for Attempting to Pervert Justice:

The maximum penalty for this offence is seven years imprisonment.


In Queensland, if a person is convicted of Attempting to Pervert Justice, then the court could impose one of the following penalties: 

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

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 Attempting To Pervert Justice:

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?

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 an Attempting to Pervert Justice allegation or if I am charged with Attempting to Pervert Justice?

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.

On the 21st of October 2023 new laws were introduced in Victoria to ban the Nazi salute. There were already laws in place preventing the use of the Hakenkreuz (hooked cross Nazi symbol) these new laws now expand that to cover all symbols and gestures related to the Nazi group.

A Melbourne man is the first to have been reported breaching these laws, since they were put in place. He was walking out of the Victoria County Court when he said in front of cameras “heil Hitler” whilst raising his right arm. He then makes a further comment whilst walking away calling out “Australia for the white man, heil Hitler.”

What constitutes an offence?

You will commit an offence under these laws, if you intentionally display or perform a symbol or gesture used by the Nazi Party in a public place or within the view of the public. It will also need to be proved that you ought to have reasonably known, that the symbol or gesture is a Nazi symbol or gesture.

What is the penalty for committing an offence?

A person who commits an offence could face fines of $23,000.00 or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

What are the exceptions?

A person is not committing an offence if they display or perform a Nazi symbol or gesture reasonably and in good faith. This includes for genuine academic, artistic, educational, or scientific purpose, or in making or publishing a fair accurate report of any event or matter of public interest. Further exceptions include, if a person display’s a Nazi symbol for genuine cultural or religious purposes. This ensures certain religions can continue to use the sacred swastika. Or the use of a Nazi symbol or gesture in opposition to Nazism or related ideology. Tattoos of Nazi symbols or gestures are also an exception to this ban.

What will happen if you are caught breaching these laws?

Police have the power to arrest and charge you if you’re in breach. Police can also direct you to remove the symbol from public view. If you are asked to remove the symbol and do not follow those instructions, you could be charged and receive a fine of approximately $1,900.00 or 10 penalty units.

Our team specialize 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.

Between 2022 and 2023 there has been a 12.7% increase in motorcycle/moped fatalities, and a 25.0% increase in bicycle rider fatalities. There has been a decrease in fatalities in car accidents when it comes to drivers and passengers, however, the overall number of deaths is still extremely high, sitting at a total of 1,119 deaths on the road for 2023. Compliance with speed zones within Queensland has dropped to 72%, excessive speeding of more than 20km/h over the limit has increased overall. The attitude towards speeding within the state is relaxed with 38% of respondents believing that low level speeding is acceptable. As a driver it is so important to learn how to drive to the conditions of the roads and be aware of your surroundings. RATE program is a program available for those that have been convicted of a traffic offence and is recognised in court.

What is RATE Program?

RATE Program is the Road and Traffic Education Program, it is available online for traffic offenders to complete and is looked highly upon by the court system. By completing this course, it shows the court that you acknowledge what you did was wrong, and you are doing your best to better educate yourself on the rules of driving in Queensland. This program is available for anyone facing penalties for traffic offences, or any individual wishing to get more guidance on road safety. The course only takes 5 hours to complete and can be completed at a pace that works for you.

How do I Register?

Registering for the RATE program is easy. Simply look up RATE driving program on your search browser and follow the prompts on the website. The course costs $225 and you will be provided a certificate to present to the court upon completion.

 Our team specialize 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.

Queensland has recently released their new digital licence app. This now means that you can have your identification on your phone through the app and do not need to carry physical ID. Queensland will continue to distribute physical identification as usual.

Do I have to use a digital ID?

No, the Queensland government has made it clear that it is not a requirement to use digital licence. The app is simply there for those who wish to use it.

Is the digital ID accepted throughout Australia and overseas?

When traveling it is best to still bring your physical ID. Not all venues that require identification will accept digital ID. So, it is best to be prepared with your physical ID. This is similar when travelling overseas. It is recommended that you check local authority websites if you are unsure about using your digital identification outside of Queensland.

Who can use the digital licence?

To be eligible for the Digital Licence app, you must have one or more of the following. A driver licence of any class, a marine licence or photo identification card/Adult Proof of age card. You will also need to have a smart phone that is compatible with the app. Currently there is also a restriction on eligibility if you only have one name. The Queensland Government is working on allowing individuals with only one name to benefit from the app.

Is my privacy protected if I use the app?

The Queensland Government has made it clear that the privacy of everyone’s personal information is a top priority for them. Through the development of the app it has undergone thorough cybersecurity testing and testing will continue as the app runs throughout Queensland. None of your personal information is ever shared, unless you give permission. No person verifying your identity ever needs to touch your device, they can look at your screen or scan a QR code to do so. To ensure the app meets privacy standards, the government completed a privacy impact assessment which can be found on the Queensland Government website.

Is this form of identification legal?

In 2020 legislation was passed regarding digital authorities such as the digital licence as well as concepts of digital evidence of age and digital evidence of identity. Therefore, under Queensland legislation a digital licence can be used legally.

Our team specialize 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.

The State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) is a body that is responsible for the collection and enforcement of unpaid fines and penalties. If fines and penalties are not paid, they are referred to SPER. Or sometimes they are referred to SPER to allow payment plans.

SPER Debt can start as any of the following:

  • An unpaid infringement notice (speeding or parking ticket).
  • A court ordered penalty.
  • An offender levy.
  • An offender debt recovery notice.

 How Do I Know If I have SPER Debt?

If you have received a court ordered fine the magistrate will explicitly state if the infringement was referred to SPER. If you are unaware if other fines and penalties have been referred to SPER due to no payment or any other reason you can find this information out on the Queensland Government State Penalties Enforcement Registry. Simply go onto the website and click “Pay and Manage Your SPER Debt.” Then provide your unique SPER number and you can view all your relevant information. You can also access this information via the SPER App.

 Is It Beneficial To have Fines and Penalties Referred To SPER?

In instances where you cannot afford to pay a fine or penalty, SPER can be beneficial. It may mean that you are be able to set up a payment plan for the amount owing. To be eligible for a payment plan there are certain elements to be satisfied, however, these elements are very broad and cover a large range of people.

Like any other enforcement agency if the amount has not completely been paid by the date outlined enforcement actions will take place.

This can look like any of the following:

  • Enforcement fee of $131.05.
  • Suspension of driver’s licence.
  • Clamp, sell or seize your vehicle.

With any fine or penalty it is always beneficial to pay the amount upfront. However, if this is not an option for you SPER can help.

Brooke Winter Solicitors
Brooke Winter Solicitor

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