Are you facing police investigation in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

Are you facing a police investigation in Queensland?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

How this firm can protect your interests

How this firm can protect your interests

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer who is independently recommended as being among the leading criminal defence lawyers in Queensland (Doyles Guide, 2021).
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex homicide trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about police investigations

1. What many police suspects don’t know, but should

Police investigations are often confronting, can seemingly arise out of nowhere, and cause suspects and their families confusion and doubt. It is the reason why getting legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer can be crucial to protecting your rights and advancing your interests.

Cooperating with Police: Benefits & Risks

Cooperation with law enforcement agencies can take many forms. For example, it may involve a person supplying information confidentiality. Or it could involve ‘doing a deal’ to get a lighter sentence. For suspects or people charged with a criminal offence, there are both risks and benefits to cooperating with the police. The possible adverse consequences means people should always seek advice from an experienced lawyer before making any decision.

Charge Negotiations in Criminal Cases

While many people are familiar with the term ‘plea bargaining’, in Queensland the practice of a defendant ‘cutting a deal’ about a charge or allegations with police or prosecutors is more commonly referred to as ‘charge negotitions’.

Charge negotiations are extremely common between criminal defence lawyers and police or prosecutors. It can see charges downgraded or discontinued, which often means there is no need for a criminal trial to resolve the issues. Charge negotiations in Queensland differ to plea bargaining arrangements whereby courts may be bound to impose a particular penalty. Courts are not so bound in Queensland.

In Queensland, grievous bodily harm is made an offence by section 320 of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld). It often arises when a person suffers a life threatening injury or what is, or could have been, a permanent injury.

Grievous bodily harm is a serious criminal offence, often punishable by actual imprisonment. As the charge does not include ‘assault’ as an element, a defence of provocation does not apply in Queensland. If you or a family member are facing a grievous bodily harm charge and seek authoritative legal advice and representation, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion today.

The Right to Silence in Queensland

In Queensland, the right to silence is not an absolute right. It is qualified by certain laws that can mean people can commit an offence by refusing to answer questions in some cases, or unfavourable inferences may be drawn by a police officer, judge or jury.

In Queensland, it is necessary for police, prior to seeking to ask suspects questions about serious offences (indictable offences), for cautions to be given about the right to silence. While such obligations on police signal the importance of the right to silence, there are many instances where suspects may be compelled to give information to law enforcement agencies, such as mobile phone or computer passwords in some situations.

Unlawful or Unfair Police Conduct

In Queensland, unlawful or unfair police conduct can have significant consequences on what evidence may be admitted and what may be excluded. Police illegality in obtaining evidence can see courts deem it ‘tainted’ and inadmissible in criminal proceedings.

There are numerous examples of police acting unlawfully or unfairly in seeking to solve an alleged crime. In some cases, it can see individuals wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. Courts seek to guard against such abuses and have the power to exclude evidence – even evidence that points to the guilt of a person – when police have acted unlawfully or unfairly. The exclusion of unfairly obtained police evidence can be critical to the outcome.

2. Police investigations in Queensland

If you are facing a police investigation in Queensland, it can be helpful to get informed about specific issues to better understand your rights, responsibilities and legal options. While viewing general information may help people seeking to learn more about specific issues with respect to police investigations, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about a police investigation you may face, contact Anderson Legal.

Common Steps in a Police Investigation

The starting point for any police investigation is to determine if any offence has been committed, potential witnesses and suspects, as well as to identify and safeguard relevant evidence. There are a number of other steps in many police investigations.

In Queensland, what steps police take in a particular investigation will differ according to the circumstances, but it can be useful for potential victims of crime, witnesses and suspects to understand common steps that may be taken by police. Whereas the police may sometimes immediately move to arrest a person who poses a risk of harm to others, other investigations can take days, weeks, months, or even years to conclude.

Alternatives to Arrest

In Queensland, instead of arresting a person, police have the power to start a court proceeding against a person without the need for arrest. A ‘notice to appear’ may be issued requiring a person to appear in court in relation to an offence on a specified date.

A ‘notice to appear’ may be issued by police officers who reasonably suspect a person has committed an offence but do not consider an arrest necessary. This alternative allows a person to remain in the community until they are required to appear in a court. A ‘notice to appear’ will generally only state the substance of what is alleged, such as the type of offence (eg, public nuisance) and when and where it is alleged to have been committed.

Arrest Procedures in Queensland

In Queensland, the Police Powers and Responsibiliites Act 2000 (Qld) sets out certain arrest procedures that police officers ought to follow when arresting a suspect. Following arrest, there are also procedures for evidence seized and bail considerations.

Grievous bodily harm is a serious criminal offence, often punishable by actual imprisonment. As the charge does not include ‘assault’ as an element, a defence of provocation does not apply in Queensland. If you or a family member are facing a grievous bodily harm charge and seek authoritative legal advice and representation, contact Anderson Legal for a confidential discussion today.

Expert Witnesses & Police Investigations

Some investigations require police to obtain expert evidence about certain issues. In some cases, expert evidence can be critical to the decision to charge by police. Expert reports can cause significant delays to an investigation or prosecution.

There are many types of experts that may be relevant in a police investigation. For example, police officers may engage experts in DNA, fingerprints, or computer forensics, just to name a few. The role of expert witnesses is often misunderstood and the options to challenge expert evidence under-appreciated. Understanding the role, purpose and limitations of expert evidence to an investigation is critical for any police suspect or defendant.

Identifying Particulars & Body Samples

Police in Queensland have the power to require a person who is charged with an offence to submit their identifying particulars to police, or provide body samples. If not taken following arrest, it is often required to be provided wtihin a specified timeframe.

In Queensland, for people who are arrested or served with a notice to appear, it is common for police to require the person have their ‘identifying particulars’ recorded. This may include photographs of the person and specific identifying features such as tattoos or scars, as well as fingerprints, and voiceprints. Failure to comply with a requirement to provide identifying particulars, DNA or other samples is an offence.

3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of an offence, there can be consequences beyond what occurs within the criminal justice system. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects from a charge or conviction for an offence can come as a shock, which underscores why early advice from an experienced criminal lawyer can be crucial to the outcomes that eventuate.

Adverse Publicity

For many people accused of a criminal offence, inaccurate or sensationalist reporting of the allegations is deeply troubling. Steps can be taken to mitigate the prejudice that can arise from adverse publicity to ensure a fair hearing.

While many journalists seek to adhere to high standards when reporting on criminal allegations, it can be important for anybody accused or convicted of a criminal offence to understand their legal options if their case is unfairly or improperly jeopardised by adverse publicity. Adverse media publicity can prejudice the fairness of a criminal trial, so it is important that people facing criminal allegations understand their rights when dealing with adverse publicity.

Character, Safety & Security Clearances

There are many occupations, jobs or roles that require character, safety and security clearances. A criminal history, and, in some instances, mere criminal allegations, can adversely affect assessments for character, safety and security clearances.

In Queensland, certain occupations are regulated by professional or trade bodies that can take disciplinary action following a criminal allegation or conviction arising. It is important to understand how a criminal law issue may affect other areas of life, such as employment prospects, recreational activities, insurance claims and other issues. This firm provides advice to its clients about the possible steps that can be taken to mitigate issues of this kind.

Character Tests – Citizenship / Visa Issues

The Australian Citizenship Act (Cth) and Migration Act (Cth) both contain character tests that can affect the eligibility for a person to become or remain a citizen or visa holder in Australia. Having a criminal history can be a decisive factor.

For citizens of another country who seek citizenship in Australia, a good character test can apply to the assessment of a citizenship application. Outstanding or finalised criminal charges (and even allegations falling short of criminal charges) can impact the assessment of the ‘good character’ test. The Migration Act (Cth) sets out the way a criminal history can lead to the refusal or cancellation of visas.

Compensation Claims

People convicted of criminal offences can face compensation claims from victims of crime. In Queensland, victims of crime have the ability to pursue compensation or restitution in a number of ways.

While the Victims of Crime Assistance Act (Qld) sets up a statutory scheme for victims of crime to pursue compensation, it represents just one way redress may be pursued against someone convicted of committing an offence against another person. Experienced criminal defence lawyers understand how issues associated with compensation can impact on the outcomes for victims and defendants inside and outside the criminal justice system.

Domestic Violence Orders

In Queensland, being convicted of a ‘domestic violence offence’ can trigger consideration of the need to make or amend a domestic violence order. A breach of a domestic violence order is a criminal offence in Queensland.

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act (Qld) allows courts to make domestic violence orders. The existence of a criminal record, particularly in relation to violent, abusive or controlling behaviours, can increase the likelihood of a court regarding it as necessary or desirable for a domestic violence order to be made. If it is alleged that a crime is also a ‘domestic violence offence’, it is essential to consider the issue of domestic violence orders.

Employment Issues

Many people do not realise that employers can take action – such as suspension or dismissal – against an employee accused of a criminal offence. In some cases, such disciplinary action may be taken even if the conduct occurred outside of work.

Being accused of a criminal offence of itself is confronting enough for most people, however losing your career and livelihood even before the offence is proved can create additional burdens. Anderson Legal has the expertise to guide its clients through the employment law issues that can arise from criminal allegations, including what steps may be taken to ensure employment is not unnecessarily ended by an employer.

Recording of Convictions

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a discretion to not record a conviction, despite the person being found guilty or having pleaded guilty to an offence. The recording of a conviction can have significant consequences.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a general discretion to record or not record a conviction. Courts are required to take account of all relevant circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s character and age, as well as the impact the recording of a conviction will have on them. For some sentences, such as those involving imprisonment or a breach of court orders, a court may be required to record a conviction.

Sentencing for Assaults & Violent Offences

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) requires courts to consider specific issues for adults being sentenced for assaults and violent offences. Importantly, the principle that imprisonment is imposed as a last resort does not apply.

Courts imposing sentences for violent offences must have primary regard to a range of considerations relating to the impact an offence has had on any victim, the risk of harm created by the offender, as well as the need to protect the community from that risk (among other things). Understanding the issues that a court must consider is critical for anybody seeking to obtain the best outcome from the criminal justice system.

Serious Violent Offence Declarations

The ‘serious violent offence’ regime can have a significant impact to a sentence. The effect of an offence being declared a ‘serious violent offence’ is the offender must serve at least 80% of their term of imprisonment before they are eligible for release.

In Queensland, a person may have their offence declared a ‘serious violent offence’ under Part 9A of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld). There are many offences under Queensland law that may have such declarations made, including most serious violent offences, a number of sexual offences, as well as other crimes such as trafficking in a dangerous drug. Depending on the length of the sentence, a declaration may be imposed automatically or by discretion.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about a police investigation in Queensalnd?

If you are a suspect in a police investigation or believe you may be treated as a suspect by police, obtaining early and authoritative advice is essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully preparing and conducting trials, sentences and appeals for serious and complex cases before all courts in Queensland.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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