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The offence of contravening an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in NSW – Criminal Law

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The offence of contravening an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in NSW


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The former deputy mayor of Auburn, Salim Majer, has found
himself in hot water again, this time accused of contravening an
Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) taken out for the protection of
his former-partner.

Police applied for the AVO last year, after Melissa Tysoe
complained of being assaulted and threatened by “a man who was
known to her.”

The matter continues to be under investigation, while Mr Mehajer
serves time behind bars for unrelated matters.

Mr Mehajer’s bail application was refused in early December
202, ahead of his sentencing hearing for those matters in February
2021.

Last year, Mr Mehajer was found guilty of two counts of perverting the
course of justice
 and one of making a false statement on
oath amounting to perjury, which related to a car crash that
occurred three years ago.

He is now accused of contravening the AVO ordered against him,
by allegedly getting his sister to contact his former partner and
asking her to “drop” the AVO proceedings.

The AVO against Mr Mehajer explicitly states that  is not
to contact Ms Tysoe under any circumstances, unless contact is made
through a lawyer.

Police papers allege Mr Mehajer asked his sister to make
contact during a recorded phone call from Silverwater
Correctional Centre
, thereby breaching the conditions of the
AVO.


The offence of contravening an AVO

Contravening an apprehended violence
order
 is an offence under section 14 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal
Violence) Act 2007
 which carries a maximum penalty of two
years in prison and/or a fine of $5,500.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond
reasonable doubt that not only did you breach a condition or
restriction contained in an apprehended violence order (whether
that be an interim, provisional or final AVO), but also that you
did so knowingly.

In addition to this, you must be found not guilty of
contravening an AVO if:

  • You were not validly served with the AVO or were not in court
    when the AVO was made,

  • You contravened the AVO to attend mediation or comply with a
    property recovery order,

  • You contravened the AVO to protect yourself, another person
    (such as your children), or your property (self-defence)

  • You committed the contravention under duress, or

  • You had to breach the AVO in order to prevent serious injury or
    danger (necessity).

Section 14 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act
2007 also provides that:

  • A person who is convicted of contravening an AVO through an act
    of violence must be given a prison sentence, unless the court
    orders otherwise and records its reasons for not imposing a prison
    sentence,

  • A person who is protected under an AVO cannot be guilty of
    aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring a contravention of the
    AVO, and

  • A police officer must make a written record of the reasons for
    not initiating criminal proceedings for a contravention of an AVO
    if the officer suspects on reasonable grounds that a contravention
    has occurred.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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