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Not Guilty

Have you considered what it would take to fight and succeed at trial?

In Australia, an accused is deemed to be innocent until proven guilty. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and they must prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that all the elements of a charge has been satisfied.

Conventionally, lawyers would devise a defence based on their client’s instruction. In entering a plea of not guilty, it usually means that you do not agree with the charge. It may also mean that there is a technical “glitch” in your case that may just give you the edge at trial.

Sometimes, it may also mean that you do not recall what had happened, or that the case by the State or Police is not strong enough to convict you.

Generally, it is not advisable to plead not guilty merely to test the case of the prosecution. In doing so, you will not only lose the 25% discount that you are entitled to by law. If convicted at trial, your plea of not guilty may suggest that you have not shown “remorse” to your alleged conduct. The Court does not look highly towards an accused who wastes the resources of the State in order to gather “evidence” for trial. That being said, there are instances where you should receive disclosure materials before deciding your plea. You should speak to a lawyer before making the decision to ask for evidence beyond what is deemed as “confessional materials”.

In order to defend your case, your lawyer must be able to step into your shoes and give you impartial legal advice on your prospects of acquittal.

It is also important that you consider your lawyer’s legal advice on what the case is against you. Your lawyer does not necessarily need to agree with everything you say. However, it is important that they place great weight on your version of events in considering whether your defence is tenable.

Often, the way you wish to fight your charge has been used by many other accused. The Court may have heard many reasons why an accused wish to plead not guilty to a charge or a specific set of charges. To succeed in defending a charge, your lawyer should consider the issues that are in dispute in your case. More importantly, whether these issues are relevant to secure an acquittal. They should also consider case laws, defences under the Criminal Code, and the time, place and circumstances of the alleged offence. The general rule of thumb is that the simpler your case theory is, the easier it is for the presiding judge, magistrate or juries to digest what you are trying to say.  

It may also be the case that you wish to bring up matters that you believe is pertinent to your defence. You should discuss this with your lawyer. Sometimes, these issues may not be relevant to the defence of your case. At worst, it can even jeopardise your case at trial.  

If you have corroborating evidence or witnesses to support your case, you must ensure that these witnesses are readily available to attend Court to give evidence on your behalf.  If you have an alibi, you must notify your lawyer as there are separate rules and procedures to deal with alibi evidence.

Sometimes your case may be conceptually simple. However, there are times when your defence may involve a multitude of complicated factors. The Perth criminal lawyers at WN Legal have extensive knowledge in providing legal representation for criminal matters. If you need assistance and legal advice, you can contact us on 08 9349 2196, or e-mail us at admin@wnlegal.com.au.

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