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Writing a Character Reference for Court - Melbourne Criminal Law

character references are one of the most

important things that a person takes to

court with them and the referee can

either attend court or it can be in

writing both of them valuable tools and

helping a person to get best results the

aim of a character reference is to show

what a person is truly like it's not

just to say that a wonderful person and

we think the best of them is to say

Johnnie is a person who helps us

neighbors I remember seeing them

recently helping mr. Smith next-door to

mow her lawn or you've got to be very

specific in them for them to be useful

if they're just general they fade in

value what you need to address in a

character reference

are written one obviously is that what

the charges that a person is facing you

need to address how long you have known

the person for it's really of limited

use if a person has only known you for a

week to get a character reference from

them but you don't need a priest or a

local dignitary to write a character

reference the best character references

come from people who know you well such

as your family or your close friends the

reason for that is that they are able to

tell the court through their written

character reference

what remorse you've shown and how upset

you are about what's happened and often

the character references that are as

valuable as the lawyer because it's four

or five people saying look John's a

really nice guy and ever since this

happened he's been saying to me I'm so

ashamed I'm so hurt that I have done

this thing that is wrong and and that

shows to the magistrate or judge who the

person truly is in a way that a lawyer

often can't convey to being useful in

court not only does it have to show that

you're aware of what the charges

it needs to show that you know whether

the person has been in trouble before

because there's no point tendering a

character reference to the court that

says he's a great guy he's never going

to do this again if he's already done it

twice before so with the drink-driving

you've got to articulate what it is

that's changed about him but you've also

just got to be honest and frank so if a

person has his price then talk about he

told me about his previous convictions

the other thing that concerns the court

is that people don't tell their

character references everything and then

they send in a reference and it doesn't

really reflect the situation so you need

to have been told the detail or you tell

the person the detail and then they

write it out the other two very

important things firstly if you have an

official letterhead you run your own

business or you work for a company if

you're allowed to put it on the

letterhead because it just distinguishes

it makes it clearer who you are and

where you sit in the community the

second thing is you need to sign and

date your character reference so what we

say with our clients is get them into us

early so that we can ever look at them

and if they're matters that we want

someone to expand on then we have time

to say look that's really fascinating

about his charitable work can you put in

more detail how long he's been doing it

for how you've come to know about that

the other thing is there are templates

on our website which give you an example

of how character references look so if

you're doing a written one then go and

have a look at those if you're doing an

oral one then obviously the lawyers for

your friend or family member should be

getting you in and talking to you about

it now looks blame the drill of what you

do in court good luck with it all