Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm

Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm by Doyle’s Guide 2016.

Managing director, Rob Franklin is pleased to announce that Potts Lawyers has again been recognised by the prestigious Doyle’s Guide as a “first tier” leading criminal law firm in Queensland.

Director Bill Potts has been named as a leading criminal lawyer whilst director Cameron Browne has been named as a recommended criminal lawyer.

doyles award

It is heartening to see that amongst the total of 26 criminal lawyers listed for Queensland, more than a quarter have spent several years working in our practice.

The Doyle’s Guide recognises top Queensland Criminal Lawyers who have been identified by clients and peers for their expertise and abilities in these areas.

The content within the Doyle’s guide listing of best firms and lawyers is compiled on the back of initial online peer-based surveys as well as extensive telephone and face to face interviews with clients, peers and relevant industry bodies. Continue reading Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm

Locals can get involved with the sentencing process in a Gold Coast event as judge for a day

Locals can get involved with the sentencing process in a Gold Coast event as judge for a day

IT’S time to strap on your wig, pop on your robes and lay down the law — a free event is allowing Gold Coasters to be a judge for a day.

Today’s Judge for Yourself community event will give locals the opportunity to put themselves into the shoes of a judge and decide on a sentence based on real events.

Former Queensland Law Society president and Southport-based criminal lawyer Bill Potts said the event, run by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council, was a great way to demystify the sentencing process.

“The sentencing of criminals is one of the most misunderstood and difficult tasks,” he said.

“(It) often involves complex facts … and complex issues such as drug addiction, mental health, capacity and personal circumstances.”

Sentencing an offender is not as easy as you might think. Picture Mike Batterham

 

The experienced lawyer said people often believed judges handed down “soft sentences”, but once they knew all the facts involved, tended to give more lenient sentences than judges.

He said the event would help to open up the public’s mind about the complex matters judges needed to take into account during the sentencing process.

“It’s hoped that this tool will be looked up and explored by Gold Coasters,” he said.

During the session participants will consider the nature of the offence, how serious it was, how much the offender was to blame, any victim impact and whether the offender entered an early guilty plea.

What sentence will you impose? Photo by Richard Gosling

 

Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council member Dan Rogers said the group was tasked with educating the community about sentencing and encouraged those attending to give feedback about the sentencing process.

He said in a 2011 study it was found that once people had access to the same information judges did, they actually imposed slightly harsher sentences in nearly all categories.

“We hope that this Judge for Yourself community session and videos … encourage a better understanding of what a judge takes into account,” he said.

The event runs from 10am — 11.30am or 1.30pm — 3pm at the Southport Community Centre.

To register head to sentencingcouncil.qld.gov.au.

 

Cancellation of visas for those who commit crimes in Australia

Non-citizens: Can I remain in Australia if I have a criminal conviction?

For non-citizens, including permanent residents and special category visa holders (New Zealanders), having a criminal conviction may lead to deportation or involuntary removal from Australia.

A criminal conviction (even if no conviction is recorded) may also affect those on work or travel visas.

What is the “character test”?

Section 501(3A) of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) states that the Minister must cancel a visa that has been granted to a person if the person does not pass the “character test”.

A person will fail the character test if:

  • the person has a “substantial criminal record” or they have been convicted of a sexually based offence against a child; and
  • the person is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment.

A person has a “substantial criminal record” if, among other things, they have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more.

A term of imprisonment includes a suspended sentence or release on parole after serving a portion of the sentence.  It does not matter if the period of actual custody is less than 12 months.  What is relevant is whether the whole of the term of imprisonment imposed is 12 months or more. If you are sentenced on multiple offences, to be served concurrently, they will be counted cumulatively. For example, if you received a sentence of 6 months imprisonment on two charges, to be served at the same time, they will be counted as 12 months for the purposes of deportation, even though you will be released from prison after 6 months.

Ultimately, this means that, if you are a non-citizen of Australia, and you are serving a term of imprisonment of 12 months or more, the government must cancel your visa or permanent residence.

If you do not pass the character test, you will be placed in immigration detention until a final decision is made about whether or not you can remain in Australia. This generally occurs immediately upon your release from prison.

Can I appeal my visa cancellation?

A person who has had their visa cancelled due to a criminal conviction may seek a “revocation” under section 501CA (4) of the Migration Act.

The grounds for a successful revocation are quite limited.

The Minister must either be satisfied that the person passes the “character test” or “there is another reason why the original decision should be revoked”. Generally, unless a major error has been made, the decision can only be reviewed for reasons other than the “character test”.

In considering whether to revoke the decision, the Minister must consider:

  • the protection of the Australian community from criminal or other serious conduct;
  • the best interests of minor children in Australia; and
  • the expectations of the Australian community (see Ministerial Direction 65).

If the visa cancellation notice was issued by a delegate of the Minister, you may also appeal the decision to the Federal Administrative Appeals Tribunal. If the notice was issued by the Minister of Immigration personally, your appeal rights are only through the Federal Court of Australia, which can be a lengthy process.

Strict time limits apply

You only have 9 days from receiving your visa cancellation notice to appeal the decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. As such, you should seek advice from an immigration lawyer immediately after your sentence if you believe you may fail the “character test”.

If you or someone you know has received written notification of the government’s intention to cancel your visa, you should seek specialist immigration law advice immediately.

There can be long term consequences of a criminal conviction that apply long after your case has finalized.  These can include immigration, employment, occupational regulation, family law and travel consequences.

We often act for clients who are not citizens or may have other circumstances in which convictions can impact their lives beyond the finalisation of the criminal case. We can provide you with confidential advice about the particular facts of your case, and develop a strategy to minimize the long term impact on your life.

Please note that this advice is for general background information only and is not intended as a legal advice you can rely on. To obtain legal advice you can rely on you must contact a lawyer who on engagement can advise you on the basis of your personal circumstances.

Written by Rebecca Fogerty (Criminal Lawyer) and Aadil Master (Law Clerk).

 

 

QLS President Message

Our profession has much of which to be proud as I come to end of my year as your 2016 president.

I said at the beginning of the year that I am a proud to be a Queensland solicitor and after a year in the role as the QLS’s most privileged elected position it has given me a great amount of respect and pride in the more than 13,000 solicitors across the state.

I have long believed that advocacy for good law and educating the public as to what we do as lawyers is integral to enhancing and fortifying the reputation of Queensland solicitors. Advocacy is key to this process and I am honoured the profession has provided me the opportunity to make a difference.

Our profession continues to face unprecedented challenges. Economic and global competitive risks, technological change, regulatory compliance, higher rates of mental distress and graduate oversupply, are forces with which all Queensland solicitors contend.

However, over the past year your QLS has taken enormous strides to ensure the profession is stronger as we head into 2017.

During 2016, your Society’s policy committees made 105 advocacy submissions, attended 14 Parliamentary hearings and had 85 successes from advocacy work.

Among those highlights were:

  • 17-year-olds being moved out of adult prisons
  • Limitation periods being removed for child sex abuse cases
  • A class actions regime introduced into Queensland
  • Catastrophically injured people retained their common law rights in the NIIS
  • Our Federal Call to Parties was approved and released with an ALP commitment to more CLC funding and more family law judges in Brisbane
  • Law firm prescribed accounts were abolished from 1 January this year, which is of course a red tape reduction for members
  • Government is considering the position of administration of funds for orphans following the Maggs v RACQ decision
  • The reversal of the onus of proof proposed in Vegetation Management Bill was defeated
  • VLAD laws were replaced the by the Serious and Organised Crime Bill.

Leading on from our advocacy work, QLS maintained a highly visible presence in the media and was an active member in thought leadership in the profession with more than 4000 media mentions across all platforms such as newspapers, television, radio, online and via social media.

QLS also had a very busy year assisting our profession.

Our QLS Ethics Centre presented 50 Bespoke Ethics Sessions, opened 3569 ethical and practice support guidance matters and attended 31 Practice Support Consultancy Service visits.

We released Guidance Statement No.6 – Form of Delivery for Client Documents.

We were also pleased to launch our Domestic and Family Violence Best Practice Guidelines for members as a result of the Not Now, Not Ever report.

This past year has placed great challenges in our way, but as a membership-driven Society we have made a great contribution to the legal profession.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as your president throughout 2016. I look forward to continuing to serve the Society throughout 2017 as your immediate past president.

I also look forward to assisting the incoming president Christine Smyth and supporting her in continuing her vision for the continued good work of good lawyers in Queensland.

 

Bill Potts

President, Queensland Law Society

Putting Human Rights on the Table

Story by : Stefanie Garber  31 May 2016  Lawyers Weekly

The proposal to introduce a human rights act in Queensland has thrown a spotlight on the importance of human rights protections, write Bill Potts and Rebecca Fogerty.

In December 2013, Sally Kuether, a library assistant and mother of three, was arrested and charged with offences under the newly-enacted Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) Act 2013.

Her alleged crime: meeting over a beer at the local pub with her boyfriend and a friend of his while wearing a leather jacket emblazoned ‘Property of Crow’ (a reference to her boyfriend and his membership of the outlawed Life and Death Motorcycle Club). Continue reading Putting Human Rights on the Table

Inflammatory Social Media Posts Could Influence Jurors

Bill Potts said the use of social media to express opinions on cases currently before the courts had to be carefully considered to ensure that justice was not impeded.

“I understand that the public uses social media as a safety valve during highly emotional circumstances,” he said.

“However, there is real danger that words spoken out of anger may influence potential jurors.” Continue reading Inflammatory Social Media Posts Could Influence Jurors

Gold Coast Prisoners Treated Like Animals at Southport Watchhouse

IT’S been labelled the Southport “zoo” — where people are kept in “inhumane” conditions with no natural light, beds or privacy for weeks at a time.

The Queensland Law Society and the state’s top civil libertarian have slammed conditions at the Southport Watchhouse which they say has become “a de facto prison” not fit for a dog.

“Everyone in the watch-house is presumed to be innocent awaiting trial and to keep them for 10 days in a place designed to hold people for a few days is one of the greatest scandals across Queensland,” said Queensland Law Society president, Bill Potts. Continue reading Gold Coast Prisoners Treated Like Animals at Southport Watchhouse

Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm 2015

Managing director, Rob Franklin is pleased to announce that Potts Lawyers have been recognised by the prestigious Doyle’s Guide as a “first tier” leading criminal law firm in Queensland.

Director Bill Potts has been named as a leading criminal lawyer whilst director Cameron Browne has been named as a recommended criminal lawyer.

It is heartening to see that amongst the total of 26 criminal lawyers listed for Queensland, more than a quarter have spent several years working in our practice. We extend our congratulations to those colleagues: Continue reading Potts Lawyers Awarded as a Leading Criminal Law Firm 2015

Bill Potts Elected President Of Queensland Law Society For 2016

Bill Potts

All the team at Potts Lawyers are very proud of their foundation director Bill Potts, who has been elected by the solicitors of Queensland to represent their interests as President of the Queensland Law Society.

Bill’s term will commence in January 2016 and he’ll be working with lawyers throughout the State.

Bill will be advocating for good law and supporting lawyers to achieve the delivery of quality legal services to Queenslanders.