Write a Character Reference to the Court

January 11, 2024by Naomi Cramer


Sydney man Matthew Laba pleaded responsible to offences regarding impersonating a lawyer in courts throughout the higher Sydney area on 6 November 2023.

The 29-year-old defendant didn’t seem in Downing Centre Native Court to enter his plea although, somewhat his prison defence lawyer submitted it on his behalf.

Mr Laba was accused final January of being unlicensed to observe regulation in relation to representing a Bondi café proprietor. And while this matter was dropped, the Legislation Society of NSW investigated Laba, who’d represented 4 folks in court, solely to search out he’s not a lawyer, and he’d by no means been admitted.

The person falsely presenting himself as a lawyer pleaded responsible to 4 counts of entity partaking in authorized observe when not certified, together with two counts of unqualified entity promoting authorized providers, that are opposite to part 11 of the Authorized Career Uniform Legislation (NSW) and each carry a most tremendous of $25,250.

Mr Laba’s lawyer who entered his responsible plea would have additionally supplied New South Auckland Native Court Justice of the Peace Clare Farnan with not less than one character reference relating to his client and, as is good generally the place an individual is admitting their responsible, the authorized skilled is more likely to have handed over three references.

Certainly, character references for court serve to supply the presiding Justice of the Peace or choose with background element regarding the accused’s life and the way this displays on the incident earlier than the court, and a nicely written reference, or a number of such paperwork, may end up in a extra lenient penalty.

Conveying good character

A personality reference is a press release from an individual who is aware of the defendant personally. And the person writing the reference ought to present particulars relating to the individual’s character, their fame locally and their basic behaviour.

What the author must convey to the presiding judicial officer is proof that establishes good character in relation to the accused, in addition to any steps they could have taken that may be anticipated to scale back the probability of any future offending.

The trick to a superb character reference is outlining how a defendant has proven their good character or that they’re unlikely to reoffend with out merely stating that. This may be performed by way of descriptions of concrete examples of how the accused has acted in a good method up to now.

An instance of how one can convey prior good behaviour is an outline of the defendant having intervened in a dispute, while when it comes to considerations round recidivism, an instance can be the place an individual who had offended whereas intoxicated, then having been attending Alcoholics Nameless.

An skilled prison defence lawyer will even stress that it’s necessary to not exaggerate when writing a reference, that the author ought to use their common language, however not be too vibrant in doing so, and it’s necessary to not try to instruct the presiding officer on how one can proceed.

Particulars to incorporate in a personality reference

A reference ought to clarify that the author is conscious of what’s transpiring in court. The referee ought to state the offence/s concerned within the matter and they need to define their consciousness of the character of the offence or the “seriousness” of the cost.

A referee must level to the accused having dedicated the offences as being “out of character”, or in the event that they do have priors, these must be cited, in addition to any regret they could have expressed, equivalent to “John instructed me he regrets having perpetrated such a critical offence”.

If the crime concerned a sufferer, the referee ought to define that the defendant is conscious of how their crime has impacted them they usually’re remorse for having brought on this, whereas if the offence might end in a lack of licence in circumstances the place it’s very important, say, for employment, this must also be famous.

Different key info to be included in a reference are particulars relating to who the author is. What the referee does for a residing, in addition to any revered positions they could maintain locally, in addition to any constructive contribution they make to it.

The referee additionally must element the character of their relationships to the accused, and categorical how they know them, as an example, in the event that they’re a brother or a piece colleague, the size of the relationship must be famous, in addition to observations about their character and the way typically they see one another.

The format of a personality reference

A reference must be typed, if potential, with a letterhead, or in any other case checklist the author’s particulars, equivalent to identify, tackle and telephone quantity. Then it must be dated, adopted by a line addressing the presiding Justice of the Peace or choose, the court must be named subsequent after which a “Your Honour” to open.

The statment must be concise. Judicial officers have a plethora of paperwork submitted to them every day, so a long-winded piece might end in annoyance somewhat than a beneficial mindset in regard to the topic of the reference. And a one-and-a-half-page restrict is often really useful.

The opening should be adopted by traces introducing the referee, how they know the accused, the character of the offence and any beneficial observations in regards to the behaviour of the defendant at instances once they haven’t been the topic of arrest.

Any particulars of regret proven, advised examples that convey little probability of reoffending, in addition to any circumstances within the topic’s background that will have influenced their offending may be defined to the presiding officer.

And the character reference for court ought to finish with a concluding line, equivalent to “yours faithfully” or “yours sincerely”, adopted by the signature of the referee, which is then adopted by their identify typed or printed according to how the remainder of the doc is written.

The impact of a reference on sentencing

Mr Laba falsely introduced himself as a lawyer as a result of he had by no means been within the possession of a practising certificates in his life.

He was as a consequence sentenced by Justice of the Peace Farnan in mid-December 2023 to a 9 month intensive correction order, to be served concurrently alongside two 18 month group correction orders and fined $16,000.

After all, how one reference, or ideally three printed and signed references, with three copies of every then introduced to the court, displays on a sentence is unimaginable to judge, as many points of a case are taken into consideration when the method of sentencing is undertaken.

However one factor that may definitely be mentioned for Laba is that if his lawyer hadn’t insisted upon high quality references to mitigate the severity of his punishment, then the Justice of the Peace’s already liberal utility of noncustodial sentences, or good behaviour bonds, might have been extra extreme.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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