Defending an Apprehended Violence Order
A final Apprehended Violence Order cannot be made against you if the Magistrate is satisfied of any one or more of the following matters:
- That the ‘person in need of protection’ (PINOP) does not fear that you will intimidate, stalk or commit an offence of violence against them, or
- That the PINOP’s fears are not reasonable, or
- That although the PINOP has a reasonable fear, the conduct that is feared is not serious enough for the court to make an AVO against you.
It is always a very good idea to prepare a written statement of your side of the events.
In fact, in ‘stand-alone AVO cases’ you will be required to prepare and serve a written statement on the other side.
Stand-alone AVO cases are those where you are not also charged with a criminal offence such as common assault or assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
The first thing to ask yourself is, ‘What evidence do I have that the PINOP does not fear me?’
That evidence may come in the form of your written statement – especially if the incident occurred in a totally different way than alleged by the PINOP, or not at all!
You should include a detailed account of the incident in your statement.
If you have a lawyer, your lawyer can prepare the statement for you focusing on the most relevant aspects of your case.
You may also have evidence of continuing calls, test messages, emails, visits etc from the PINOP.
Your lawyer can request evidence from your network service provider (Telstra, Optus etc).
You should also download and print anything that supports your case.
If there is a witness to the events, you or your lawyer should obtain a statement from that person.
If you didn’t commit the alleged act and can show that you were at another place, that evidence may be highly relevant to your case.
Another question to keep in mind is, ‘Are the PINOP’s fears reasonable?’
The PINOP’s fear may be less reasonable if:
- a lot of time has passed since the alleged incident,
- if there has been little or no contact for a long time,
- if there has been no further incident, and/or
- if the complaint arose from a physical altercation and you now live far away.
These are matters that you may wish to include in your written statement and / or obtain further evidence about.
The next question to think about is, ‘Is the alleged conduct serious enough to justify granting an AVO against me?’.
This is something that you can speak with your lawyer about.
A well-prepared AVO case will give you the best chance of winning in court.