Spent conviction granted in serious assault case

We recently acted in a matter where the client, who had no record, was charged with a serious assault occasioning bodily harm offence (‘AOBH’) relating to an assault on a former friend. The original charge and facts alleged a sustained assault in which the complainant suffered injury including clumps of hair being pulled out. The client initially wished to take the matter to trial. On reviewing the disclosure evidence and the client’s police interview, it was apparent that there was minimal prospects of successfully defending the matter at trial. We advised the client to enter into a plea negotiation with a view to achieving the best possible sentence.

After protracted negotiations and several adjournments, we managed to secure a guilty plea to common assault in lieu of the AOBH charge. This included far more favourable facts than had originally been alleged. At the sentencing hearing, we presented a persuasive plea in mitigation in which we argued for a fine and a spent conviction order to be imposed. The Magistrate was persuaded to impose a fine and a spent conviction. This fantastic outcome had the effect that our client’s future employment prospects were not affected by this unfortunate, one-off event which occurred in the context of the acrimonious breakdown of a long-standing friendship.

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