Question 1 (25 Marks)
Ms Beatrice Messina is a prosecutor with the Victorian Office of Public Prosecutions. She is currently prosecuting a known criminal, who has previously been prosecuted for, and found guilty of, distributing narcotics, Romeo Montague. Mr Montague is being defended by Mr Benedick Padua. It is alleged that Romeo had attempted to smuggle drugs and weapons interstate. He has instructed Mr Padua that he will plead ‘not guilty’. The weapons and drugs were found in a crypt under the Cathedral where Romeo had been working as a cleaner. While there is some circumstantial evidence, the only direct evidence tying him to the drugs and weapons is the testimony of arresting officer Detective Sergeant Juliette Capulet. Two days before the trial Detective Sergeant Capulet disappeared. The day before her disappearance Detective Sergeant Capulet informed Ms Messina that there was video footage of Father Laurence, the Cathedral Priest, and another unidentifiable person, removing the weapons and drugs from the back of a van and moving them into the crypt beneath the Cathedral. ‘There’s no way Romeo isn’t responsible,’ said Detective Sergeant Capulet ‘and even if he isn’t involved this time, he’s no saint.’ Ms Messina, not wanting to jeopardise the trial, decided to take the word of Detective Sergeant Capulet and keep this incident to herself. She did not request access to the video footage, nor did she provide it to the defence.
During Romeo’s trial, Mr Padua called on Father Laurence as a witness. During the interview process, Father Laurence mentioned that he had passed the recording from the security camera outside the Cathedral to Detective Sergeant Capulet. During the trial, but outside of the courtroom, Mr Padua raised his concerns with this recording not being on the record with Ms Messina, to which Ms Messina replied:
‘The charges against Romeo are baseless, and you and I both know it, but he is the height of a villain: he used to date my cousin, Hero, and the things she has told me! There was no point in screwing up this case by causing the jury to doubt Capulet’s testimony. There are bad guys out there, and my job is to get them off the streets. It’s lawyers like you who give the profession a bad name by putting criminals and knaves back in society. Go to the judge if you like, but she’s seen him and his kind before. Besides, who is she going to believe: you, or the prosecutor who went through law school with her?’
The conversation was overheard by a security guard, who brought it to the attention of the judge. The judge referred the incident to the VLSC who are now investigating.
Question 2 (25 Marks)
Mr John Falstaff is in the process of contesting an action that has been brought against him by the Victorian Legal Services Commissioner (‘VLSC’). The complaint alleges that he has, over the last year, missed filing deadlines, sent out letters to clients with incorrect information and full of typographical errors, and that he has sent correspondence to opposing parties and clients that contain aggressive language and spurious accusations regarding their conduct. To date Mr Falstaff has been self-represented in addressing these complaints and has sought to suggest that the documents presented in evidence are not indicative of his practice management.
The hearing was taking place via Zoom on 10 August 2022 and during a short recess for morning tea at the preliminary stages, counsel for the VLSC, Ms Alice Ford, began discussing how the trial would proceed with her wife, including detailing the strategy she would take in the matter, without realising that her microphone was still live. Mr Falstaff upon hearing this, without realising that his microphone and camera were both still live, started filming a TikTok for his legal education account (@skillallthelawyers), proclaiming:
“Hello Team! I am in a hearing at the moment, and we are on a break so I thought I’d drop some truth bombs for you all! Not only is my opposing counsel, Ford, a bitch and a raging dyke, she is also incompetent to boot. In this, The Year of Our Lord, 2022, she just left her mic on Zoom and announced her entire case strategy to the room. I am going to walk this one home. This is why women shouldn’t be lawyers.”
Judge Henry Tudor was presiding over the matter, and given the developments in his courtroom, he called an adjournment to the matter at the end of the recess. Mr Falstaff is now concerned that he may have made a mistake and has come to you for advice.Order Now