Criminal Justice Diversion Program

20 February 2019

Brimbank Melton Community Legal Centre (BMCLC) assists clients with summary crime matters in circumstances where the client is ineligble for either a grant of legal aid or the duty lawyer service. 

It is very common for our Centre to assist clients who have no prior criminal record and who have been charged with relatively minor offences. BMCLC would advise our client of the option to seek Court approval to participate in the Criminal Justice Diversion Program (Diversion). This program is aimed at first-time offenders who accept responsibility for their conduct. Completion of the program allows the client to avoid a criminal record. 

In instances where the client would like assistance to enter the Diversion program, BMCLC would commence this process by writing to the police informant to formally request a Diversion recommendation. If and when the recommendation is made, the client's matter is listed for a Diversion hearing at court. 

Recently, our senior lawyer, Johanna Yee attended the local Magistrates' Court and represented a non-English speaking client at a Diversion hearing. Johanna assisted with the Diversion interview process and appeared in court whereupon the client was ultimately found suitable by the Magistrate to participate in the program. 

The client was very grateful for our assistance as it meant that he was able to finalise the matter which had been a cause of great stress and anxiety for him and his family. He was also relieved that he had an opportunity to avoid a criminal record which had the potential to affect his future employment opportunities and advancement.