Murray Torcetti Lawyers

Case Notes - The More You Know, The Better The Result For the Client

R v Smith [2021] QCA 116

Murray Torcetti Lawyers are criminal lawyers in Caboolture. We write our own case notes from recent criminal decisions for internal purposes.


However, unlike your annoying sibling, we don’t mind sharing.

Facts: The Applicant appeals a sentence by the District Court for Fraud and Attempting to pervert the course of justice where a head sentence of 3 years suspended after 9 months.

Fraud: In 2013 the Applicant entered into a car lease agreement with her then employer and Toyota finance for 94k, in 2015 she left the employer but took over the lease for the vehicle. In 2017 the car was sold to another person The applicant made and the buyer had discussion about the car being under finance. The applicant said the loan was paid out and received $46k for the vehicle. The proceeds of the sale were then spent on living expenses.

Attempting to pervert the course of justice: When interviewed about the sale of the vehicle and non-payment to Toyota the applicant produced edited bank statements to the police showing a bank cheque being drawn for the outstanding amount. Records from the bank showed this to be a fiction.

The Applicant had no criminal history and a solid background of employment, after losing her job in 2015 the family fell on hard times and financially struggled. The pressures of the hardships impacted the mental health of the applicant.

The appeal was on the basis of manifest excess, not taking into account the early plea, insufficient weight on the mitigating factors, imprisonment as a last resort was not specifically covered by the judge as well as minor issues with the schedule of agreed facts. Of note, the appellant also raised section 29 of the Human Rights Act Qld “no detention for debts”.

Finding: The sentence was within range.

The sentencing structure and remarks of the sentencing judge noting her background, mitigating factors and prospects of rehabilitation and the reduction of the time spent in custody from the 1/3 mark to 1/4 means that issue was addressed.

Issues with the agreed statement of facts does not have any impact on the core elements of the charge. Section 29 of the Human Rights Act is to guard against imprisonment for civil debts, the section has no application in the Criminal Jurisdiction.

Notes for practice:

  • Read through and have the clients sign the schedule of facts;
  • An example case for fraud of about $50,000 with no like history
  • Interpretation of the Human Rights Act – Detention for debts, relates to contractual debts with no application to the criminal jurisdiction.

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