find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Self representation gone wrong

Self representation gone wrong

Two rather foolish defendants, accused of scamming homeowners for over $3 million, insisted on representing themselves at their trial, despite the judge "practically begging" them to get a…

Two rather foolish defendants, accused of scamming homeowners for over $3 million, insisted on representing themselves at their trial, despite the judge "practically begging" them to get a lawyer.

According to Lowering the Bar, the two refused to get a lawyer because they "had a plan", but unfortunately for the pair, their plan was to sabotage their own case, filing "meaningless and nonsensical documents" and making bizarre comments.

To get out of their mess, the pair advanced a number of peculiar theories, including the argument that they were "sentient human beings" as distinct from the abstract titles of "defendants".

Although questions of the pair's sanity immediately come to mind, the trial judge had the defendants evaluated by a doctor who found that neither of them, surprisingly, was suffering from a mental disorder.

After an expected conviction, on appeal the pair argued that the court should not have let them represent themselves because "their own courtroom behaviours rendered their trial unfair".

In response to this ridiculous argument, the court said: "The record clearly shows that the defendants are fools, but that is not the same as being incompetent ... They had the right to represent themselves and go down in flames if they wished, a right the district court was required to respect.

"The two sentient human beings will now have their personal sovereignty infringed for the next 21 and 25 years respectively."

Ouch.

Folklaw gives the defendants points for trying - and for originality - but is fairly sure they will realise the joke is on them, after say, 25 years in jail.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Self representation gone wrong
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
07:05
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
07:00
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
07:00
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...