If an Apprehended Violence Order has been made against you, you can make an application to have the AVO either varied or revoked. Proceedings for an AVO will be initiated in the Local Court. If the Local Court refuses to vary or revoke the AVO made against you, you can then appeal to the District Court for a review of the Local Court’s decision.
To appeal the decision of the Local Court to refuse to vary or revoke an AVO, a Notice of Appeal form is required to be lodged in the Local Court office. This form needs to be lodged within 28 days from the date of the Local Court’s determination. If you are unable to lodge a Notice of Appeal within 28 days, you can lodge an application for leave to appeal within 3 months from the date of the finalisation of the Local Court proceedings. There is a filing fee for lodging an appeal. Once the appeal is lodged, your application will be listed at the District Court and the other parties to the AVO will be notified.
The AVO will remain in place unless you request the Local Court to ‘stay’ or suspend the AVO until the appeal is heard. If the Local Court refuses to stay the AVO, you must abide by the conditions of the AVO until the appeal is heard. Having an AVO made against you is not a criminal offence and there is no conviction recorded against you if an AVO is made, however if you contravene an AVO, this is a serious criminal offence and you will face a serious penalty including the possibility of imprisonment.
If you lodge an application for leave to appeal, you will have to explain to the court why you were unable to or did not lodge your appeal within 28 days of the Local Court proceedings.
If 3 months has elapsed since the finalisation of the Local Court proceedings, it is not possible for the District Court to hear or determine an appeal, no matter how legitimate the appeal may be. If the 3-month period has elapsed and you wish to still appeal the decision of the Local Court, the final option is to seek a Supreme Court review of the decision. This can be made pursuant to Part 5 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001 (NSW) or through judicial review.
What will happen following an appeal to the District Court?
If you lodge an appeal and your appeal is heard in the District Court, the judge may decide that the AVO either should or should not remain in place. If the judge decides the AVO should remain in place (not be varied or revoked), you cannot do anything that the AVO restricts you from doing for the duration specified in the AVO. If you do anything which you are restricted from doing, the police may arrest you and charge you with a criminal offence under Section 14(1) of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007. Further, if you attempt to do something which would be in contravention of the AVO, you may be charged with a criminal offence under Section 9 of the Act.
For more information on Apprehended Violence Orders or to speak with an expert criminal defence lawyer, contact George Sten & Co on (02) 9261 8640. We are available 24 hours a day and can advise you on your matter. We are located at C4, Ground Floor 185 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW.