Admitted to Bar: 2011
Practice AreasCriminal Law
NSW Police again went home empty handed today in their expensive and elusive quest to secure a scarce evidence based conviction.The charges, relating to the The Officer Loone led NSW raids on Occupy Sydney on February 2nd and 3rd were 2 of Staying Overnight , and a further charge of intimidating police (at the Rocks Police Station). In a relatively short hearing an impeccably mannered and dressed pro bono lawyer, Louie Kristoff dispensed with theatrics preferring minimal but targeted questioning of prosecution witnesses.
On the intimidate police charges police alleged that the defendants statement "I'm going to fuck you up..." amounted to intimidation. The defence contention that in fact he said "I'm going to fuck you up in court was supported by statements from police witnesses that the defendant repeatedly made crude references to taking the officer concerned before the courts for harassment. The judge preferred the defences evidence on the key initial statement because other police witnesses went some way to corroborating the defences assertion, while the complainants version was uncorroborated.
The two staying overnight charges were heard together. In the earlier case police had video evidence of the entire evening on video-well almost-with a period of 1am to 2 am said to be unrecorded.The judge accepted the defence contention that the police did not prove the defendant to be present overnight.
In the latter police presented photo evidence of the defendant asleep on Channel 7's private property -an area not covered by City Council regulations. Although the defences assertion that the property is not council property was uncorroborated (a simple council document would have assisted.) and unable to meet the test of the evidence Act , the judge took the view that on the balance of probability her honor could not be sure that it was not in fact private property.
In summary her honor was particularly troubled by the ambiguity of the regulations as shown on the sign.She said that despite its apparent proximity there was no clear indication of the area the Council regulation sign applied to. The key question was what precisely do the words "Stay Overnight" mean?Her honor was led by the prosecutor to the "common usage comparison" being to staying overnight in an hotel (where guests come and go) and by the defence to the dictionary definition of Stay (as in leave negates stay).Her honor ruled that as there was sufficient ambiguity she must side with the defence. The charges were dismissed.
The defendant would like to acknowledge the preparation and background work was done by our small but committed and overworked legal Group. Full credit to Wennie Rami and team and appreciations to our representative of the day Louie Kristoff whom I have no hesitation in commending for paid cases. He is good. On this note there is a whisper in the wind that Wennie would like to pull back from the legal group and perhaps become involved in the areas of Occupy which drew her to the movement. The legal group would especially welcome support from qualified legal practitioners EMAIL THEM . Oh and shes looking for a job in the legal world and deserves to be inundated with offers...according to the whispers :)
Look for @occupySydney on Twitter Follow the #osyd hashtag