Sexual Assault Charges – Criminal Defence Lawyers Sydney

Sexual Assault Charges – Criminal Defence Lawyers Sydney

Sexual Assault Charges

1.  Introduction

Sexual Assault Offenders may face lengthy terms of imprisonment. The calibre of legal representation can greatly influence a jury’s verdict or the impact of a guilty finding. This may be examined by observing the charges against Griffith Mayor Mike Neville and NSW School Principal Michael Philpot.

Sexual Assault Offenders are taken very seriously by the courts. Severe penalties can apply, including imprisonment. If you are charged with any sexual offence, including sexual assault (commonly referred to as rape), indecent assault, it is strongly advised to obtain legal advice. George Sten & Co lawyers have over 30 years experience in providing the highest quality defence available. Contact our sex offence lawyers sydney  on 9261 8640 or visit our Sydney CBD offices. We are also available 24 hours a day on 0412 423 569.

2. Griffith Mayor Mike Neville

2.1. The Allegation

Mike Neville worked as a Parole Officer before becoming Griffith Mayor. As a Parole Officer he was accused of sexual offences against two women. The allegation is that Mr Neville used his power as the women’s Parole Officer to coerce them to perform sexual acts.

2.2. The plea and legal strategy

Mr Neville pleaded not guilty to all charges. His legal representation told the jury the case came down to whether the jury believed the women or Mr Neville. They emphasised the women were not reliable witnesses as they have criminal convictions. This was compared to the good standing of the current Mayor of Griffith.

Skilful questioning also assisted Mr Neville’s claim. Questioning revealed evidence that as Mr Neville was wheelchair bound certain acts he was accused of were impossible. Inconsistencies in the accuser’s behaviour during the alleged incidents were also identified such as failing to leave a car during an alleged incident when given the opportunity. During questioning the accuser also excessively claimed she did not remember certain events. All these issues raised doubts as to the women’s credibility.

2.3. The Outcome

The matter proceeded to two trials where a jury was to find whether Mr Neville was guilty. After the first trial the jury was unable to reach a guilty or not guilty verdict on all eight charges. At the conclusion of the second trial the jury found Mr Neville not guilty of five charges and unable to reach a verdict on the remaining three. The Department of Public Prosecutions then announced it would drop the matter. Mr Neville did not receive any criminal sanction.

Mr Neville maintained his innocence throughout the legal proceedings. Despite this it seems evident his skilful legal representation successfully attacked the credibility of the accusers. This improved his claim whilst minimising any damage to his public image.

Information regarding these proceedings have been taken from the following newspaper articles:

  • Daily Telegraph Article “Sex claim mayor Mike Neville still in charge in Griffith” dated 21 May 2010;
  • The Area News Article “Memory fails sex accuser” dated 22 March 2012;
  • The Area News Article “Shower scene shown in Neville trial” dated 29 March 2012;
  • ABC News Article “Griffith Mayor gives evidence in sex charges trial” dated 4 April 2012;
  • Sydney Morning Herald Article “Parole officer used position to molest women, court told” dated 10 October 2012; and
  • The Area News Article “Dropped: no third trial for Neville” dated 7 December 2012.

3. Former NSW School Principal Michael Philpot

3.1. The charge

Michael Philpot was a school principal in Young. During this time he was using the gay dating app “Grindr”. On this app he met a boy aged around 13 or 14. They then exchanged numbers and swapped pictures of their genitals. Mr Philpot pleaded guilty to using a carriage service to access child pornography pursuant to sections 91H and 308F of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

3.2. The sentence

Mr Philpot was sentenced to 19 months imprisonment. Despite this he was released on a two and a half year good behaviour order including requirements for supervision and counselling.

By lowering the sentence to the two and a half year order the presiding judge considered:

  • Mr Philpot was remorseful;
  • He cannot believe what he had done;
  • He sought counselling to understand his actions;
  • There are requirements that you are required to inform “Grindr” you are over 18;
  • Mr Philpot’s wife gave evidence stating he is a “good husband” who has already suffered; and
  • Mr Philpot’s career as a teacher was ruined.

By portraying Mr Philpot in the best possible light he was able to receive a reduced sentence. Obtaining the optimal criminal law representation allows you to be viewed in the best possible light. This may lead to less severe criminal sanctions to improve your quality of life.

Mr Philpot’s proceedings were published in ABC News’ article titled “Former NSW school principal receives good behaviour sentence over child pornography” on 16 April 2015.

4. Conclusion

Both cases show that a properly presented sexual assault case may lead to a not guilty finding or less severe criminal sanction. At George Sten and Co we exclusively practice criminal law to provide high quality legal representation. We are therefore able to provide you with optimal advice to improve your prospects of success.

If you are charged with any sexual offence, including sexual assault (commonly referred to as rape), indecent assault, it is strongly advised to obtain legal advice. George Sten & Co lawyers have over 50 years experience in providing the highest quality defence available. Contact our criminal law experts on 9261 8640 or visit our Sydney CBD offices. We are also available 24 hours a day on 0412 423 569.