Woman charged with perjury after giving evidence at trial of man she claimed sexually assaulted her
Justin Sibley of Williamson and Associates Lawyers, assisted Narelle Dawson-Wells, wife of former Attorney General Dean Wells, overcome the DPP’s prosecution of her for perjury, following her evidence in a sexual assault case.
On 20 June 2017, Dawson-Wells was provided the relief of a nolle prosequi at the Brisbane District Court, ending a years long battle in which the Police had elected not to disclose critical material necessary to assist Dawson-Wells defend herself.
The case highlights the disadvantage faced by defendants where police do not disclose material, despite their legal obligation to do so: “if police only disclose material that helps their case there is a real danger people will be tried unfairly and in a vacuum, without access to evidence that may exonerate them”. The danger can be seen where Police have formed a one sided view of a case, and determine not to pursue evidence that is contrary to their case theory. The danger is further exacerbated where police have actually obtained such evidence, and choose not to disclose it to the other side.
Our Criminal Practice Director Justin Sibley had been set to argue a Criminal Code 590AA application to permanently stay the prosecution. This was made unnecessary, as following the filing of an outline of arguments and an application to permanently stay the prosecution due to an abuse of process, the DPP conducted a further full review of the case and determined there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. Mrs Dawson-Wells was therefore discharged.