In a case before the Local Court of New South Wales we successfully applied to the court for the dismissal of an application for an Apprehended Violence Order being litigated by NSW Police Prosecutors on behalf of an officer who had applied for the AVO.

We acted for a step-father who the Police had taken an AVO against purportedly on behalf of two very-young children. The basis of the AVO were allegations made to the Police by the maternal grandmother of the children who. This triggered an investigation that went on for a number of weeks, during which time the children’s parents not only did not know where their children were, they had to make an urgent application to the Court for orders to have the children returned.

Despite an apparently exhaustive investigation by Police (including interviewing the children without their parents consent) nothing further came of the matter. No criminal charges were bought against the parents and no evidence was provided supporting the original AVO or the subsequent conduct by Police of the matter.

On the final time the matter was before the court, Police Prosecutors said that they had no instructions from the Police Officer in Charge of the investigation (commonly referred to as an “OIC”) yet they sought to have the matter set down for a hearing.

We successfully petitioned on behalf of our client that the AVO should be dismissed for want of prosecution by the NSW Police. We made submissions to the court that the conduct of Police in failing to properly prosecute the matter combined with their lack of instructions and their stated desire to see the matter proceed to a hearing nonetheless amounted to misconduct or was at the very least improper use of court process.

The court noting the history of the matter and a previous Magistrates order that there be no further adjournments, dismissed the application on the spot.

Aaron Kernaghan.