Recently, Associate Maxine Malaney appeared for a client in the Local Court who had been charged with his first offence of driving whilst suspended. The client pleaded guilty to the charge and a strong subjective case was presented on sentence. Maxine asked the Court to sentence the client to a Conditional Release Order without recording a criminal conviction.
Although the client had no prior criminal offences, the Local Court Magistrate was of the view that due to the client’s poor traffic record, it was not appropriate to deal with the client “without conviction”. The client was convicted and fined. He was also ordered to complete the minimum driving disqualification period of 3 months.
All defendants have an automatic right of appeal from the Local Court to the District Court of New South Wales against any sentence or conviction. Maxine advised the client to consider an appeal to the District Court.
An appeal to the District Court will “stay” (or pause) the decision of the Local Court, which meant in this case that the client could keep driving until his District Court date.
On appeal, the Judge accepted Maxine’s arguments and quashed the decision of the Local Court. The client was sentenced to a Conditional Release Order without conviction for a period of 12 months.
This means that the client did not receive a criminal record and did not have to spend any time off the road.
Photo by Peter Fazekas