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The Queen v. Neil S. (Milton)

The Charges: 18 Counts of Domestic Assault, Threats, Criminal Harassment, Weapons, and Forcible Confinement.

The Result: Not Guilty on 17 of 18 counts.

The Facts: The client was married to his third wife Jill for three years. They had met while he was on parole for killing his second wife; she was his counselor. He had a lengthy record for domestic assault against his first and second wives, and had pled guilty to assaulting Jill shortly after their wedding. Neil had a tragic upbringing and was an abused child of alcoholic foster parents. He had serious problems controlling his anger and emotions, and suffered from strong feelings of insecurity. Neil and Jill had a very rocky relationship. They moved frequently so that he could find work; she blamed him for all of the disappointments in her life. She hated moving, but refused to work; he refused to raise children in such an unstable household and both of them had problems with alcohol. Eventually she had an affair, and they got into a big fight when he found out. She went to the police and claimed that he had assaulted her, threatened her, confined her and stalked her for most of their marriage.

The Defence Strategy: This was a very tricky case. Neil had a criminal record for domestic violence, including a previous assault against Jill. But he swore that he was innocent and had not assaulted her. Jill had a history of telling lies and seeking attention; we decided to test her credibility at a preliminary inquiry. She was caught in a number of lies and inconsistencies. At trial, we chose to present the case to a jury, even though Neil’s criminal past would be revealed to them (because it formed an inextricable part of their relationship). A very skillful approach was required to earn the jury’ sympathy for Neil and portray him as the victim in the relationship and Jill as the one who manipulated and controlled the relationship. Neil testified after we fully prepared him, and the jury accepted his evidence.

The Result: The jury disbelieved Jill and believed our client. They found him Not Guilty on 17 out of 18 counts against him; the last count was one where independent evidence existed, and Neil had even admitted to before the jury, to emphasize his honesty. Neil received a very light sentence for that count.

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