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Private prosecution succeeds in case barrister says "should deeply embarrass police"

I loved this comment from Carolyn.....

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...and from James of Coffs who asked me:

When does the private prosecution of Gillard and Co begin? Or does she get a free pass like the rest of the corrupt politicians we elect to parliaments in this country?

My answer

Mate she doesn't get a free pass from me.

I put this story up because I sympathised so strongly with the woman who brought her own private prosecution - particularly in her comments about how long it takes and how expensive it is.

I've had doors smashed shut on me countless times, each time it's just a matter of getting the specifics of why a particular knockback's been given and then working to fix it.

I have not yet reached a final knockback, that would only come as a result of several levels of judicial appeal and we are a long way from that.

I expect to have something more concrete than this comment to make in the next few weeks.

Thanks for asking,


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(Barrister and former NSW policeman Clem van der Weegen who successfully brought the private prosecution)

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A Queensland man has admitted to splashing petrol on his former partner and threatening to burn their house down, in a court case successfully prosecuted by the victim because the state’s police refused to bring domestic violence charges.

In 2017 police told the victim, Dani*, that there was a prima facie case against her former partner for threatening violence, but because there was “a low level of public interest” they would not bring a charge.

Dani then took the rare step of hiring a barrister and prosecuting the criminal case herself.

Her barrister, Clem van der Weegen, said the private prosecution and guilty plea should “deeply embarrass” the Queensland police.

At a hearing last year, a Queensland magistrate’s court was told that officers had refused to cooperate with the case and had declined to make written witness statements. They eventually supplied statements after Dani’s legal team complained directly to the police commissioner, Katarina Carroll.

Dani said she was warned the process would be costly and time-consuming but that she “could not allow [his] actions to define the rest of my life”.

“It has been over four years since I believed I was going to die at the hands of my partner,” she said.

“Every day I am faced with the challenge of living with post-traumatic stress disorder, the loss of who I was, how I was able to function in life and what I was able to achieve. [His] threat to set me alight has had a profound and irreversible effect on my life and the lives of my children.

“No woman, no victim should ever have to go to these lengths to seek justice.

“But I had heard so many harrowing accounts from DV survivors and so many instances of the Queensland police failing to take DV victims seriously, failing to bring criminal charges to make perpetrators accountable, and failing to keep women and children safe that I felt I really had no choice but to carry on.”

On 31 January the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to threatening violence. In doing so, the man admitted to details including that he splashed petrol on Dani and threatened to burn down the house. She was inside the house at the time. The man was sentenced to 130 hours community service and had no conviction recorded.

Dani says her story highlights how women can be failed in domestic violence cases where the victim and offender give radically different versions of events.