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Pettersson v Queensland Police Service[2016] QDC 145

Pettersson v Queensland Police Service[2016] QDC 145

DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

CITATION:

Pettersson v Queensland Police Service  [2016] QDC 145

PARTIES:

STEVE ERIK PETTERRSON

(appellant)

And

QUEENSLAND POLICE SERVICE

(respondent)

FILE NO/S:

103/15

DIVISION:

Criminal

PROCEEDING:

Appeal

ORIGINATING COURT:

District Court, Ipswich

DELIVERED ON:

16  May 2016

DELIVERED AT:

Ipswich

HEARING DATE:

16 May 2016

JUDGE:

Horneman-Wren SC DCJ

ORDER:

  1. The appeal is dismissed.

CATCHWORDS:

CRIMINAL LAW – APPEAL – APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE – APPEAL AGAINST CONVICTION RECORDED ON GUILTY PLEA – where appeal against sentence – where discretion to record conviction – whether or not a conviction should be recorded – where opportunity to place material before court relevant to discretion – where opportunity refused – where no error in exercise of power – where appeal dismissed 

COUNSEL

M Le Grand for the Respondent

Self-Represented Appellant

SOLICITORS:

Office of the Department of Public Prosecutions for the Respondent

Self-Represented for the Appellant

HIS HONOUR: On 3 November 2015, the appellant, Mr Pettersson, was convicted in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on one charge of publishing or possessing instructions for producing dangerous drugs, one charge of fraud, dishonestly obtaining property from another and two charges of contravening a direction or requirement of police.

HIS HONOUR: Mr Pettersson was convicted of each of those charges on his own plea of guilty.  He was, on that occasion, represented by a solicitor who, I understand from the submissions which he has made to this court on the appeal, to have been a duty lawyer on that occasion.

On the 26th of November 2015, Mr Pettersson filed a notice of appeal, seeking to appeal the orders of the Magistrates Court pursuant to section 222 of the Justices Act 1886.  On 29 February 2016, he filed a letter in the court which effectively has constituted the submissions which he wishes to make on the appeal.

It is apparent from the matters which he has raised in that document, that he sought, at least initially, to appeal against his conviction in the Magistrates Court, particularly in relation to the charge of fraud.  In the letter which serves as his submissions, he makes submissions about the factual circumstances in which that offence was committed and in which he came to plead guilty, having received advice.

In the outline of submissions filed on behalf of the respondent, the difficulty posed to Mr Pettersson by operation of section 222(2)(c) of the Justices Act has been raised.  By section 222(2)(c), an exception to the general right of appeal created by section 222(1) is created in circumstances in which a defendant has pleaded guilty or admitted the truth of a complaint, that person is restricted in any appeal under section 222 to:

...the sole ground that a fine, penalty, forfeiture or punishment was excessive or inadequate.

Effectively, that provision creates a bar to a conviction against – against conviction when the conviction was on the defendant’s own plea of guilty, as was the case here.

Perhaps in light of those submissions filed on behalf of the respondent, Mr Pettersson’s submissions before the court orally today have concentrated not upon the conviction itself, but rather the exercise of the learned magistrate’s discretion to record a conviction.  In that regard, Mr Pettersson seems to be resolved to the fact that his appeal as against the conviction itself is prohibited.

In the proceedings before the learned magistrate, the issue as to whether or not a conviction was to be recorded was canvassed at the conclusion of her Honour’s sentencing remarks.  After her Honour had imposed a fine of $800, in default seven days’ imprisonment in respect of all the charges, an inquiry was made by somebody who appears as “Unidentified Speaker” in the transcript as to whether there was a conviction.

In context, it would appear that that unidentified speaker was the solicitor who appeared for Mr Pettersson on that occasion, because Mr Pettersson’s own voice is identified earlier and later in the transcript as being “Defendant”.

Her Honour replied that a conviction was recorded, at which stage Mr Pettersson himself made some inquiries about that fact, including “Is there any way around that?”  Her Honour responded by stating that unless Mr Pettersson wanted to withdraw his pleas and wanted to get an adjournment to get information before the court, there would be a recorded conviction.  But she indicated that she was not prepared to do that at that stage.  Mr Pettersson observed that he was on Newstart and it was not going to do his job prospects any good, that is, to have a conviction recorded against him.

Her Honour then inquired what he wanted to do and whether he wanted to withdraw his pleas of guilty.  Mr Pettersson observed that he believed that he really couldn’t do that “because I am liable,” acknowledging that he did sign the papers stating that  the goods were his, even though they were not.  That obviously related to the fraud conviction.  He said that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and that he had been going to the particular pawn shop for eight years prior to the occasion relating to the fraud charge.

Her Honour then said:

Well, that’s not relevant to whether or not a conviction should be recorded.  I need to have some evidence before me as to how it’s going to affect your employability or how it’s going to affect your social wellbeing.  If you want to reinstruct your solicitor to withdraw the plea, I will withdraw the plea and you can get that information together.

Mr Pettersson then said “It means I will have to come back, though, doesn’t it?  Yeah,” to which her Honour replied that, indeed, it did.  Her Honour observed that it was entirely his choice.  If he thought that he could mount an argument to not have the conviction recorded, then he was entitled to get an adjournment to produce the material.  At that point, Mr Pettersson stated “No, I don’t think I would have a case to stand on, your Honour.”  And that is where the matter concluded.

Whilst her Honour seemed to link in some way the issue of Mr Pettersson putting evidence before the court on the exercise of the discretion to record or not record a conviction with the withdrawal of a plea leading to that conclusion, I am of the view that her Honour clearly offered Mr Pettersson the opportunity to place material before the court at an adjourned hearing which may be relevant to the exercise of her Honour’s discretion under section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992.  Any apparent confusion or link between that course being taken and a withdrawal of the pleas of guilty, in my view, does not demonstrate any error on her Honour’s part in the conduct of that part of the proceedings which considered whether or not to exercise the discretion to record or not record a conviction.

In the end, her Honour offered Mr Pettersson the opportunity to have the proceedings adjourned to produce material specifically relevant to whether or not a conviction should be recorded.  Indeed, her Honour stated it as highly as saying that he was entitled to get an adjournment for that purpose and offered a choice to him in that regard.  It was, in those circumstances and in the circumstances that he would have to return on another date and that he did not believe that he had a case to stand on, that Mr Pettersson himself chose not to avail himself of that opportunity.

In all the circumstances, no error in the exercise of her Honour’s power has been demonstrated.  The appeal must be dismissed.

Is there anything further?

MR LE GRAND:   No, your Honour.  Thank you.

APPELLANT:   No.  Thank you.

MR LE GRAND:   Your Honour, that’s my final matter, if I might be excused.

HIS HONOUR:   Yes.  Thanks, Mr Le Grand.

MR LE GRAND:   Thank you, your Honour.

______________________

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Pettersson v Queensland Police Service

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Pettersson v Queensland Police Service

  • MNC:

    [2016] QDC 145

  • Court:

    QDC

  • Judge(s):

    Horneman-Wren DCJ

  • Date:

    16 May 2016

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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