What is the strength of the prosecution’s case?
When you seek advice from a criminal defence lawyer, you obtain the benefit of their consideration and objective view of all of the evidence (considered together with your instructions as to what you say has (or hasn’t) occurred). When a criminal defence lawyer does this, they ordinarily give an opinion on two things: (1) the evidence; and (2) the prospects of success following a trial.
This advice is important for an accused person so that they can make an informed decision about whether to plea not guilty or guilty to their charges. It is important, when giving this advice, that clients are able to assist by providing as much information as possible to allow the criminal defence lawyer to understand the context of what their client says occurred (or didn’t occur) and likewise, so that they can better understand all of the evidence.
What should you do to assist with your criminal defence lawyer’s consideration of the case
In a general sense, the following things are important, and will often be of great assistance to your criminal defence lawyer (and your case):
Read the brief and make notes of any important aspects of the evidence (for instance, are some things untrue or can some things be contradicted by other evidence);
Prepare your written instructions so that he can understand the background of what you say has (or has not) occurred;
If you are firmly intending to plea not guilty, consider whether there are any potential witnesses, who could be called by the defence on your behalf at trial, who may be able to provide information in support of your defence;
Consider whether you have any further evidence (for example, emails, text messages, phone records, CCTV footage) that may be able to cast a positive light on your defence. If you do, you should make sure that your criminal defence lawyer is aware of it and is shown it so that it can factor into his advice.
Why it’s important for you to be involved in your own case
At the end of the day, your criminal defence lawyer, for the most part, can only be as good as the instructions they receive. Whilst a criminal defence lawyer can consider the evidence and form an objective view, that view can sometimes change dramatically with the benefit of further information. That information can only come, in the general sense, from you as a client.
A practical example of positive client involvement
A common scenario faced by lawyers is when client’s have been charged with, by way of example, possession of methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply. Those items are commonly found inside a house where the accused person resides. The strength of such a case against an accused will often come down to:
Where the drugs are found inside the house;
Whether there is any DNA evidence on the drugs packaging;
Whether there was any evidence that would otherwise tend to suggest that the accused person was the possessor of the drugs (i.e - whether they have previous convictions for similar offending, whether there are text messages or intercepted calls that would indicate that the accused was engaged in drug dealing etc.)
Whether the accused has made any admissions to the possession of the drugs.
When an accused person’s position is along the lines of “The drugs weren’t mine” or “I knew the drugs were inside the house but they’re not mine”, it will be important that your criminal defence lawyer is fully appraised of information such as:
Were there any other occupants of the residence;
Do those other occupants have prior convictions for drug dealing and were they drug dealing at the time;
How long had you been living at that address as opposed to the other occupants;
Had you previously consumed those drugs with the permission of the true possessor (that is, had access to briefly but not been the ultimate possessor of the drugs);
Whether there are any witnesses who can speak to the fact that the drugs belonged to another person.
All of this information will undoubtedly be of utility to your criminal defence lawyer when it comes to their assessment of the case against you and the prospects of you successfully disputing such charges.
If you have been charged with a serious offence and require advice from a criminal defence lawyer as to the strength of the case against you, please feel free urgently call me on 0431 454 908 or alternatively, fill out the form below and I will get back to you within the hour.