Police v Christian Petrella

Police v Christian Petrella

In this matter, Greg Walsh acted for Christian Petrella.

On 10 March 2020, Christian Petrella was acquitted of each of the charges:

  • Intention to Choke Person with Recklessness on 21 April 2019
  • Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm on 2 June 2019
  • Destroy or Damage Property in April 2019.

The conclusion of the Hearing Application was made by Greg Walsh, on behalf of Mr Petrella for costs.

The Application was made under Section 214(l)(a) — (d), which requires that a party showed that their case falls within exceptions to the General Rule in Section 214(1) that “professional costs are not to be awarded in favour of an accused person in summary proceedings”

Magistrate Baptie had the benefit of Written Submissions. The Prosecutor contended that Constable Swain, in interviewing repeatedly the Complainant in the DEVEC interview, was seeking to clarify the separate incidents.

Greg Walsh had contended that the Complainant’s history was utterly unreliable and inconsistent and that the Police were readily on notice of such features in the Complainant’s case.

The Learned Magistrate noted the Complainant’s medical history, including Cluster B behavioural traits, which involved acts of self-strangulation. Her Honour referred to Kanan v Australian Postal and Telecommunications Union [1992/ FCA 539, in which His Honour Justice Wilcox said: “but where it appears that, on the Applicant’s own version of the facts, it ‘s clear the proceedings must fail, it may probably be said that proceedings makes a reasonable cause”.

Her Honour noted that the medical issues were not the only feature relied upon by Mr Walsh, but also the obvious concerns of the Police, in respect of the Complainant’s credit and reliability. In addition to that feature, the very significant injuries that the Complainant had inflicted upon the Accused.

Her Honour also made reference to J v The DPP [2000/ NSW SC 1092, in which Justice Hidden said: “An investigation which fails to meet optimum standards is not necessarily unreasonable. Equally, it might fairly be classed as unreasonable, even though it does not fall grossly below those standards … to find that the conduct of the investigation in this particular case was unreasonable, does not necessarily impugn the general competence, far less the integrity, of those responsible for it”.

Her Honour was satisfied t at the Defence had established the exceptions, pursuant to Section 214(1)(a) – (c). An order or costs was made in favour of the Accused.


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