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Taking Pride in Our Notable Cases

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NOTABLE CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Private Prosecution - Murder

P V H [2018] 2 QD R 32

Our client (H) was a police officer who used lethal force against a person in the execution of the officer’s duty. We represented our client in a coronial inquest where there was a finding that the use of force was reasonable and lawful as our client had acted in self-defence.

The Director of Public Prosecutions did not bring a prosecution against our client, but by way of a private complaint, the deceased man’s father, P, charged our client with murder and in the alternative manslaughter. We applied under s 102C(1) Justices Act 1886, and a magistrate dismissed P’s complaint on the basis that it was an abuse of process.

P appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal was to be by way of hearing de novo. We applied to the Supreme Court under s 102D(3) for an order for security for costs of the appeal. This was successful and upon the security for costs not being paid the appeal was dismissed.

Permanent Stay of Proceedings

R V WELLINGTON [2018] QDCPR 24

Our client, a serving police officer, was charged with acts intended to cause grievous bodily harm as a result of shooting at a suspect's vehicle after the occupants had engaged in serious offending conduct. The Police Ethical Standards Command compelled our client to answer questions after he had exercised his right to remain silent. The same investigator had carriage of the criminal and discipline investigations.

The matter was committed to the District Court for jury trial. We made an application for a permanent stay of proceedings on the basis the compelled evidence had improperly infiltrated the criminal proceedings. A permanent stay of the proceedings was granted by the court.

It is believed to be the first decision of this kind in Australia.

Computer Hacking

ROV V COMMISSIONER OF POLICE [2017] QDC 324

Our client, was a public official who was charged with computer hacking pursuant to section 408E Criminal Code (Qld). He was suffering significant mental health issues and suicidal tendencies. Appropriate evidence was placed before the Magistrate during the sentencing proceedings in support of the mental health diagnosis. The Magistrate ordered a $4000 fine and no conviction was recorded.

An appeal was filed in the District Court. On appeal it was argued the Magistrate erred by failing to follow the uncontroversial sentencing principles that apply to a defendant suffering mental health issues. We were successful and the District Court set aside the sentence imposed by the Magistrate and ordered a good behaviour bond.

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CORRUPTION CHARGES AND INVESTIGATIONS

Gnech & Associates are the most accomplished and experienced law firm in Queensland when it comes to investigations and charges relating to corruption allegations against public officials.  Gnech & Associates represent clients on corruption related allegations on a daily basis either before the courts on criminal charges or before investigative bodies such as the Queensland Police Service and the Crime and Corruption Commission. 

 

We regularly appear before the Crime and Corruption Commission representing clients in investigative/coercive hearing (Star Chambers). 

NOTABLE STATUTORY LAW CASES

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Statutory Prohibition of Use of Material in Discipline Proceedings

Flori v Commissioner of Police & Another [2014] QSC 284

Mr Flori was a Sergeant of Police accused of unlawfully releasing video footage of police misconduct to a journalist.  The Queensland Police Ethical Standards Command originally decided not to criminally charge Flori and deal with his matter via the police discipline system. 

The Queensland Police then attempted to use evidence obtained under a Police Powers and Responsibility Act search warrant in the discipline proceedings.  The problem was that a search warrant of this nature provides its power for the purpose of investigating criminal offences rather than disciplinary offences.  The Queensland Police Service refused to comply with our requests to exclude the evidence from the proceedings. 

We made an application to the Supreme Court seeking declaratory relief prohibiting the police from using the evidence in Flori's discipline proceeding.  The application was successful and costs awarded against the Queensland Police Service. 

It is believed to be the first case of this nature in the world. 

High Court of Australia

Nugent v Ian Stewart (Commissioner of Police) & Anor HCA Special Leave Application

Our client was a serving police officer under internal investigation for conduct which if proved amounted to a criminal offence.  The right to claim privilege against self incrimination is a fundamental right available to all persons unless that right has been abrogated by legislation either explicitly or by implication. 

The Commissioner of Police directed our client to answer questions about the conduct on the basis that if he did not answer such questions he would be liable for disciplinary action.  

We sought guidance from the court, all the way to the High Court on a special leave application seeking clarification if a police officer could lawfully access the fundamental right of self incrimination privilege. 

The Court found a police officer was required to answer questions when directed by the Commissioner of Police. 

NOTABLE PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT CASES

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