Case study: Bryce
The LGBTI Legal Service recently advocated on behalf of Bryce*, who was the Respondent in an Application for a Protection Order submitted by the Queensland Police Service (QPS). Bryce’s ex-partner, Michael*, was included as the Aggrieved (the person deemed to be in need of protection) in the Police Application.
The Police Application against Bryce was the result of Michael attending a Police station claiming to have been injured by Bryce. That evening two Police Officers attended Bryce and Michael’s home to serve Bryce the Application they had made against him. Bryce was confused about why the two Police Officers were there as Bryce, that morning, was the victim of both verbal and physical violence at the hands of Michael. Bryce was told that he had to attend Court in a week and decide whether to agree to an order being made against him or to contest the application.
Bryce was understandably distressed at the prospect of having to go to Court given he was the victim of a domestic violence incident.
Our Service, together with one of our pro bono barristers, made submissions both verbally, and in writing, to the Police Prosecutor outlining that it was not necessary nor desirable for a Protection Order to be made against Bryce. The submissions were ultimately accepted by the Prosecutor who, less than 3 days prior to the Trial, withdrew the application for a protection order. The Magistrate then dismissed the application and the Temporary Protection Order against Bryce which ‘protected’ Michael. Further, a Final Protection Order was made against Michael protecting Bryce for a period of 5 years. From the date the Police Application was made naming Bryce as the Respondent, to the date it was dismissed by the Court, was more than 7 months of emotional and financial stress and anxiety for Bryce.
This is not the first time that our Service has been involved in a matter where at the 11th hour Police Prosecutions have indicated that they will either withdraw an application or offer no evidence at the Trial.
Such circumstances are very stressful for the person and their close supports in the period leading up to the Trial, only to be informed that there is ‘no case to answer’ in the days prior.
The Service continues to work closely with organisations including QPS to ensure that their officers have a thorough and informed understanding of issues faced by the LGBTI community. Such work by our Service strives to ensure that each organisation’s understanding of the community’s needs is ever evolving and continually improves.
*Not the client’s or his ex-partner’s real name