Steven Mercael obtains no conviction for nurse charged with Negligent driving occasioning bodily harm
A Sydney nurse received no conviction for a charge of Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm when she appeared at court this month following a collision in which she hit and injured a cyclist with her vehicle. The cyclist suffered really serious injuries including leg fractures and a broken hip.
This was a huge win for the defendant and her Defence team led by Steven Mercael. Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm carries a maximum penalty of immediate license disqualification of 3 years and 12 months imprisonment. Avoiding a criminal record and imprisonment, the defendant will continue her career as a nurse and be able to continue to provide her sick mother with adequate care.
About the incident
The Sydney nurse was charged with two offences, one of which was Negligent driving occasioning grievous bodily harm after she failed to stop at a main road and see an approaching cyclist, resulting in her colliding her vehicle with the man. The cyclist sustained injuries including leg fractures and one which required a rod be placed in his hip which was reported to be as a result of the incident. However, it was later found that some of the man’s injuries aggravated by a prior incident not relating to the collision in question.
Criminal lawyer Steven Mercael of Australian Criminal Law Group represented the woman, appearing in Manly Court earlier this month where he presented evidence that convinced the court to impose a Conditional Release Order with no conviction (section 10). This included documents relating to the medical history of the defendant’s mother who was in the nurse’s care at the time as well as the impact a conviction would have on the defendants nursing career, including her ability to continue to adequately care for her sick mother.
It also included strong subjective material showing the court that the defendant was of good character and the importance of her role caring for the most vulnerable in her community. Mr Mercael went further and called direct evidence from his client under oath in court. This a practice normally seen in higher courts, however, Steven made a decision to take this same approach in the local court.
Furthermore, Mr Mercael was able to present to the court that some of the injuries sustained by the cyclist were impacted by a prior incident. He was able to have one charge withdrawn. Mr Mercael spoke with the man’s surgeon, whom he contacted on behalf of the defendant prior to the court appearance, where the surgeon confirmed that some of the injuries sustained during the accident were in fact impacted by a previous cycling injury. As such, Mr Mercael was able to narrow down the facts to ensure the defendant was only punished for injuries consistent with what was caused by the incident for which she was being charged.
As a result of the evidence and strong defence, Mr Mercael was able to convince the court to impose a Conditional Release Order with no conviction (section 10). Avoiding a criminal record, this means that the defendant can continue her career as a nurse as well as continue to provide adequate care for her mother. This is a very difficult result to achieve for this offence.
Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm
Negligent Driving Occasioning Grievous Bodily Harm is dealt with under Section 117 of the Road Transport Act. It is a serious offence carrying a maximum sentence of up to 12 months imprisonment.
‘Grievous bodily harm’ is defined as
“(a) the destruction (other than in the course of a medical procedure or a termination of a pregnancy in accordance with the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019) of the foetus of a pregnant woman, whether or not the woman suffers any other harm, and
(b) any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person, and
(c) any grievous bodily disease (in which case a reference to the infliction of grievous bodily harm includes a reference to causing a person to contract a grievous bodily disease).”
Source: The Crimes Act 1900, Part 1 Preliminary and Interpretation, Section 4. Definitions, accessed 21 July 2021 at 16:53
The courts also consider broken bones requiring surgery to be grievous bodily harm.
Conditional Release Orders and No Conviction Bonds
A conditional release order is a sentence that requires you to not commit any further offences for a period of time or you can be resentenced for the offence subject to the order. Conditional Release Orders can be imposed for a period of up to two years.
Courts can make a Conditional Release Order with or without a conviction (known as a section 10). Getting a Section 10 no conviction is sometimes the best result possible. That’s because a criminal record is avoided. You can read more about having no conviction recorded here.
About Steven Mercael
Steven Mercael is one of the star solicitors at Australian Criminal Law Group. He is regarded in the industry as being among the best criminal lawyers under 30 years of age.
Steven’s cases often receive national and international press coverage. His unrelenting work ethic means he not only represents clients charged with serious crimes, such a murder and other violent crimes, but also regularly appears in the Local Court to help clients charged with less serious crimes, such as domestic violence, drug, and driving offences.
Steven Mercael operates out of our Parramatta office but represents clients in all courts across the greater Sydney area.
If you would like Steven Mercael to represent your case, contact us here at Australian Criminal Law Group or call us on (02) 8815 8167.
About Australian Criminal Law Group
Our criminal lawyers are experts at obtaining the best outcome possible for Dangerous driving offences, including no convictions. We fight for you if you are charged with Dangerous driving because we know how unfair it is losing your employment when the court takes your licence away. For these offences, a good lawyer can be the difference between a conviction and no criminal record, losing your licence or keeping it, and freedom or gaol.