Should I consent to an AVO?
If you consent to an AVO being made against you, it can have serious consequences and prevent you from working with children, working in the security industry and holding a firearms licence.
What does consenting to an AVO without admissions mean?
One way of responding to an AVO is to consent to the making of the order ‘without admissions.’ This simply means that you are agreeing to the AVO being made but you do not agree with what is being alleged against you in the application, also known as the ‘grounds’
There are a number of reasons why you may choose to take this option including:
- Quicker outcome – you will not have to attend a hearing in relation to the AVO
- Save money – an AVO hearing can be a costly experience. By consenting to the AVO you will save money on legal costs.
- You and any of your family members subject of the AVO will not have to give evidence at court.
Even if you consent to an AVO being made without admissions, the making of the order can still place certain restrictions and prohibitions on a number of areas of employment such as working with children, the security industry and even the ability to carry out agriculture and farming duties.
Will an consenting to an AVO prevent me from working with children?
If your current employment involves working with children, or if you intend to engage in employment that may put you in contact with children (‘child-related work’), the making of an AVO can have serious consequences and can result in the termination of that employment.
In addition to this applying for jobs that require you to come into contact with children, will mean your potential employer will conduct a ‘working with children’ background check. This check will show to your prospective employer, any final AVOs made against you that include the making of orders for the protection of children. This includes your own children. This applies even when you agree to the making of a final AVO without admissions.
Will consenting to an AVO affect my ability to hold a firearms licence?
If you are the holder of a firearms licence, or intend to apply for a firearms licence in the future, being the subject of an AVO can cause your licence to be cancelled or will prevent you from being given a firearms licence. This is so even if you consent to the AVO being made without admissions.
Section 24 of the Firearms Act 1996 states that a person’s firearms licence is automatically revoked if the licensee becomes the subject of an AVO. It is also important to remember that your firearms licence will be suspended immediately once an interim AVO is made against you.
Further, section 25 of the Firearms Act 1996 states that if your firearms licence is revoked or even suspended due to the making of an interim AVO, you must immediately surrender any firearms you own to the police.
After the making of a final AVO, you will not be able to hold a firearms licence for 10 years from the date that the order is made. That is why it is extremely important to obtain the advice of a solicitor prior to appearing at court in relation to an AVO application.
Will an AVO affect my employment in the security industry?
The making of a final AVO does not mean you will have a criminal record however, it may affect you if you hold or are planning on holding a security licence.
For example, if you become the subject of an AVO The Commissioner of Police has the power to cancel your security licence or reject your security licence application, if they believe you are not a ’fit and proper person’ to hold a security licence.
If you are the holder of a Class 1F or P1F security licence and an AVO is made against you, you may be prevented from working under your licence. This could have a devastating effect on your ability to earn an income, so ensuring you have competent legal representation in any AVO matter is essential.
What happens if I breach an AVO?
Breaching an AVO is a serious criminal offence and carries fines of up to $5,500 and a term of imprisonment of up to 2 years. It is extremely important to remember this before you consent to the making of a final AVO against you.
If you breach an AVO and the breach involves violence against another person, under s14(4) of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 the Court must sentence you to a term of imprisonment unless the court gives a reason for not doing so.
If you agree to an AVO being made then the potential to breach the order is present for as long as the order remains in force.
Having an AVO involving a family member also has the potential to cause difficulty in your family relationships, particularly if the protected person named in the AVO also lives with you. An AVO can also prevent you from living with your family and having access to your children.
Should I obtain legal advice in my AVO matter?
If you find yourself having to attend court where you are the defendant in an AVO application, make sure you seek professional and expert legal advice immediately. At Marsh Blom Lawyers we have years of experience appearing in AVO applications as both prosecutors and defence lawyers. It is because of this experience that we are able to quickly find any weaknesses in AVO applications.