Friday, 9 May 2014

You Made Your Bed, Lie In It

Friday 4 March 2011
Late Friday afternoon Toussaint Wilberforce, Solicitor, telephoned Daniel Soames, Barrister, “Soames, Do you want to go to Court on Monday?  Something has come in that might interest you.  It is the Brisbane Magistrates Court and the Accused, Mr Trent Calvin, is a convicted sex offender who failed to report a change of address to police.  He looks like he is a real risk of going to jail.  This is not the first time he has perpetrated.  He has twice been before the Court for this offence and has been given a significant fine on each occasion.”

“Well Mr Wilberforce I am both interested and available.”

“I should tell you this is a Legal Aid matter, so we will be doing this for little more than the love of it.”

“No problems.  Have you got any material you can send me?”
“Just the QP9 police summary document.”
“That will be fine.  I will use it to prepare a draft statement for our challenging little treasure., Mr Calvin”
“I will fax it to you shortly.”

“I will see you in my Chambers at 8:30 am Monday with Mr Calvin.”

Within twenty (20) minutes of the telephone call ending the facsimile from Toussaint Wilberforce arrived.  Daniel read it immediately and then set about preparing a draft statement he could provide to Mr Calvin on Monday morning.

It took Daniel just over an hour to read the material and finalise his draft statement, but it was an hour well spent he thought.  He went home satisfied that he was as familiar as he could be the case of Mr Calvin and similarly he was prepared as he could be for Monday morning.

Monday 7 March 2011
8:30 am Monday 7 March 2011 arrived and so did Toussaint Wilberforce at the Chambers of Daniel Soames.  However he was without the accused, Mr Trent Calvin.

“I am without a dance partner Soames”, he said.

“Wilberforce, today is not a day for dancing with yourself.  Billy Idol is for another day.”

“Yes Soames, Billy Idol will have to wait. Perhaps we should proceed to court and see if Mr Calvin turns up there.”

“Good idea. I have got all the material I need, so we can leave immediately.”

Daniel and Toussaint then walked to the Brisbane Magistrates Court, talking about the case along the way. It was generally agreed that without a good explanation, Mr Calvin was definitely at risk of going to jail for what appeared to be persistent offending, with little or no regard to the law.

Once they arrived at the Magistrates Court, Daniel said to Toussaint, “ I will go and see the prosecutor to tell him that we are here and to try to get a copy of the criminal history of our client.”

Toussaint replied, “ I will have a look round the area outside the courtrooms to see if Mr Calvin has arrived.”

Daniel and Toussaint met up again about five (5) minutes later.  “I have a copy of the criminal history of our client”, Daniel said to Toussaint.

“Well that is some good news, I still have no client” Toussaint replied.

“Good news may be a premature assessment of the situation, Toussaint. Reading this criminal history has provided me with anything but good news.”  Daniel said.

“Him being charged with breaching bail is only going to make matters worse and will almost guarantee a jail sentence for our client.”  Toussaint suggested.

“Quite so, Mr Wilberforce.  Perhaps we should try to keep a low profile until absolutely necessary, to try to save our client from aggravating his situation.

“Soames,  I will try to telephone our client and see if there is any reason for this delay.”

“Soames, apparently our client has had some trouble getting to court this morning and is running late. Interestingly my records indicate that he lives at Spring Hill and he could have walked here by now, but he has not managed to do so. It looks like we may be in for a truckload of good explanations this morning.”

“Yes Wilberforce and I wonder how many of them we will be able to provide to the court without making the situation worse for our client.  Whilst we wait for Mr Calvin, you might care to amuse and entertain yourself by reading his criminal history that the police have provided to me.”

“I doubt the court will be amused or entertained when it realises that our client committed this offence whilst on bail for the offences for which he was sentenced on Wednesday, 22 September 2010.  They are essentially the same offences as this one. I am glad you are advocating for this man and not me. I am struggling to find much good to say about him,” Wilberforce said to Soames.

At just after 10:10 am Toussaint said to Daniel, “It seems my dance partner has arrived and only an hour and a half late.”

Soames replied, “Tempted as I am to see a little Double Dutch, it will have to wait.  Let us all go to an interview room and have a chat about this case.”

With that the three men adjourned to an interview room at the Court and after brief introductions, Daniel Soames said to Trent Calvin, “Mr Calvin you are presently charged with the following offence in breach of s.50(1) of the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004:
That on Friday 8 October 2010 at Morningside in the Central Division of the Brisbane Magistrates Court District in the State of Queensland, you, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with your reporting obligation pursuant to the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004, namely by not reporting a change of address.

“Your criminal history suggests you are familiar with that offence.  The Crown Case in respect of that offence is as follows:

Wednesday 5 July 2006
“On Wednesday 5 July 2006 you became a registered offender under the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act.

“At the time of your registration you were made aware of your obligation to report changes to your personal details, including any changes to your residential address. The time frame for this change is Fourteen (14) days from the date you left the address, plus an additional Fourteen (14) days to have a change recorded. This equates to twenty-eight (28) days in total.

Tuesday 27 February 2007
“On Tuesday 27 February 2007 you appeared in the District Court Brisbane to be re-sentenced for the original offences, as your personal circumstances changed since you were originally sentenced and you were no longer in a position to fulfil your obligations as part of that sentence.  Accordingly the court sentenced you to Probation for a period of 2 Years 4 Months, with a special condition that you receive Psychiatric Counselling.

Tuesday 1 September 2009
“On Tuesday, 1 September 2009 you Failed to Report in accordance with your obligations under the aforementioned legislation and were charged with an offence for failing to so do.

Tuesday 19 January 2010
“On Tuesday, 19 January 2010 you were charged with four (4) further offences of Failing to Report for similar reporting failures on your part.

Wednesday 12 May 2010
“On Wednesday, 12 May 2010 you appeared in the Magistrates Court Brisbane for the aforementioned offences of Tuesday 1 September 2009 & Tuesday 19 January 2010.  On the application the court imposed upon you a sentence of a $1,500.00 fine.

Tuesday 8 June 2010
“Almost 4 weeks after that court appearance of Wednesday, 12 May 2010 you again offended against the legislation that caused you to be sentenced on that occasion and for which you are in court today, namely you provided the police with False Information as to your personal circumstances.  Once again you were charged with an offence for so doing.  Having charged you with that offence, the police granted you bail and allowed you to return to the community.

Wednesday 23 June 2010
“Not content with your Tuesday, 8 June 2010 re-offending and apparently not chastened by your court appearances, including the most recent court appearance of Wednesday, 12 May 2010, and your bail obligations from Tuesday 8 June 2010, you again failed to report a relevant change to your personal circumstances to the police.  Upon being apprised of that situation, the police charged you with another offence. The police again released you on bail on your own undertaking, with no special or reporting conditions.

Friday 30 July 2010
“Given your recent behaviour, you were almost out of character when on Friday 30 July 2010 you provided the following as your residential address to the police:
Unit 1, Mount Gravatt Check Mate Motel, 1750 Logan Road, Mount Gravatt.
“That address was recorded by the police on their relevant computer.

Thursday 9 September 2010
“On Thursday 9 September 2010 you left the Mount Gravatt Motel address.  At that time you were on bail for the offences which were allegedly committed on Tuesday 8 June 2010 and Wednesday 23 June 2010.  You were due to be sentenced for those offences on Wednesday, 22 September 2010.

“Despite all of the incentives in your life to do so, you failed to immediately report your leaving that motel address to the police.

Wednesday 22 September 2010
“On Wednesday, 22 September 2010 you appeared in the Magistrates Court Brisbane in relation to the offences of Tuesday 8 June 2010 & Wednesday 23 June 2010.  On that occasion the court sentenced you by imposing upon you are fine of $900.00.

“As you stood in court on that occasion being sentenced for similar offences to those that bring you before the court today, apparently it did not occur to you to report your change of residential address to the police.  The fact that you had twice received court imposed criminal sanctions for your failure to report the relevant changes to your personal circumstances and were looking down the barrel of a third such prosecution, suggests that your behaviour is more in line with disregard and defiance, rather than any oversight on your part. Any court sentencing you for the third time behaviour is unlikely to have anything resembling a sympathetic approach to you.

Thursday 7 October 2010
“You had until Thursday 7 October 2010 to notify the police of the change to your address, that being the last of the aforementioned 28 days time frame. However you did not advise police of your change of address within the required time frame and have subsequently failed to comply with your reporting obligations.

Wednesday 13 October 2010
“On Wednesday 13 October 2010 police received information that you were residing at an address in Greenslopes.

Tuesday 26 October 2010
“On Tuesday 26 October 2010 enquiries with the manager of the Mount Gravatt Motel, Ms Trixie-Belle Gandofini, identified that on Thursday 9 September 2010 you left the Mount Gravatt Motel address.  No forwarding address was given.

Thursday 11 November 2010
“On Thursday 11 November 2010 you attended Morningside Police Station, as a result of prior arrangement.

“You were warned and then formally interviewed in relation to your failure to comply with your reporting obligations by not notifying police of your change of address. That interview was electronically recorded.

“During that formal interview you:

  • Acknowledged that you had failed to comply with your obligations by not notifying police of your change of address within fourteen (14) days;
  • Indicated that you had a lot going on in your life at the time and did not actually have an address to go to at the time;
  • Thought that your situation may change in the fourteen (14) days you had to notify your change of address, but it did not.
  • Did not have a permanent address until early November 2010.
  • Acknowledged that you should have contacted police and explained your situation, but you did not.

Notice To Appear
“You were issued with a Notice to Appear for the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday 15 December 2010.

Wednesday 15 December 2010
“On Wednesday 15 December 2010 the charge that is before the court today was mentioned for the first time in the Magistrates Court, Brisbane.

Monday 7 March 2011
“You had no contact with your current legal representatives until Monday, 7 March 2011 when you saw us at the Magistrates Court, Brisbane and we appeared for you on a mention of this matter.

Monday 30 March 2011
“Despite your assurances that you would do so, you had no contact with your legal representatives between Monday 7 March 2011 and the subsequent mention in the Magistrates Court Brisbane on Monday 30 March 2011. The claims you made on that earlier occasion that you had considerable material you wish to put before the court to explain your situation have proven to be empty claims, because none of that material has been forthcoming from you.

“You have provided us with no instructions or material with which we might minimise or explain away your involvement in this most recent offence. Nor have you provided us with anything with which we might usefully counter the allegations of the Crown that your recalcitrance speaks of a disregard of and thumbing your nose at the law on your part, rather than perhaps it being an episode of another unfortunate oversight on your part or even evidence of your inherent stupidity.

“I expect the Magistrate will be able to find a plausible retort to everything I might submit to him as to why you ought not going to jail for this offence.  Were he to conclude that jail is the only appropriate sentence for you, so long as it is a reasonable jail sentence, it would not be found by the Court of Appeal to be manifestly excessive. The end result of all that is, thanks to your own behaviour, you are now very seriously looking at a jail sentence and one that means you might spend up to 6 months in actual custody.

“Welcome to the real world Mr Calvin.”

“So Mr Calvin, is there anything sensible you can tell us, that I can in turn tell the Magistrate, as to why you ought not be sent to prison for this most recent offending behaviour on your part?  Mr Wilberforce will take notes of what you tell us, so our instructions are accurate.”

“Just as I thought. Your silence is deafening Mr Calvin.  It is very difficult to help someone, will not help themselves.  All that remains now is for Mr Wilberforce to take your formal plea of guilty instructions, which I see he has prepared in anticipation of this eventuality today.  Once that document is signed, we can proceed to court and await your matter to be called on. In the meantime you might endeavour to think of something worthwhile that might be said about you to the Magistrate. You can provide that information to Mr Wilberforce and he will in turn provide it to me.”

With the instructions signed, the three men proceeded to the back of the magistrates court and waited for the prosecutor to call their matter.  Less than 15 minutes passed before it was time to deal with the matter of Mr Calvin.  The prosecutor read the facts to the court in a very evenhanded way. Nevertheless the magistrate was taking particular note of the chronology and how all of the events related to each other.  Daniel opined to himself, any magistrate taking this much time the over the chronology of events cannot possibly bode well for the accused being sentenced.  From time to time the Magistrate even seemed to be suggesting that the matter now before the court was more serious than the prosecutor was submitting.  If there was any doubt in my mind before the prosecutor started his submissions, Daniel thought, there is no doubt in my mind now he has finished, keeping Mr Calvin out of prison will be a monumentally difficult exercise.

Daniel thought he might have been able to start his submissions before the Magistrate shared his thoughts on the matter, but this magistrate was having none of that approach.  The Magistrate ran through the chronology very deliberately and at each turn indicated the level of criminality perpetrated by Mr Calvin.  It was abundantly clear that the Magistrate fully understood all of the facts and he was not about to let Mr Calvin escape without what he considered to be appropriate punishment.

“Have I misunderstood any of the facts Mr Soames?”
“No, Your Honour.”
“Is the view I have taken of the facts not open to that interpretation, Mr Soames?”
“No, Your Honour.”
“Is there any evidence you can put before me that might convince me to take a more lenient view of this matter, Mr Soames?”
“No, Your Honour.”
“Then I propose to reward your client for the hard work he has undertaken. Thank you Mr. Soames.”

Daniel knew the time for him to make submissions was over the and it was time for him to sit down.

Just as it had been during the exchange between Daniel and the Magistrate, the Court room was deathly silent.  Absolutely no one else was speaking, not even in a whisper.

The Magistrate then addressed Trent Calvin.

“On Wednesday 22 September 2010 as you stood in Court being sentenced for similar offences to the one before the Court today and were ultimately fined $900.00 for those offences, that was not sufficient motivation to notify police of your change of address from the Mount Gravatt Motel.”

“You have continually thumbed your nose at the law.  In the circumstances the only appropriate sentence is one of imprisonment and it will be imprisonment of the actual variety.  The maximum jail sentence for this offence is six (6) months.  You will be sentenced to six (6) weeks jail.  I decline to make a recommendation for early release on parole.”

“You made your bed, Lie in It.”