Lennard Bruce Roberts Has His Day in Court

Len Roberts

Magistrate Franklin, sitting in the Newcastle Local Court, spent some time deliberating before sentencing  MidCoast Councillor Len Roberts, on the charges of common assault against an indigenous former Karuah Land Council employee, Zac Schmierer.

Before the hearing, Mr Roberts was declaring that no matter what, “I’m going to appeal.”

Previously, at the conviction hearing on March 12 where Roberts was found guilty, Magistrate Franklin had commented there were “ internal inconsistencies with the evidence.” And that Roberts action was “intentional and perhaps reckless.” 

Among the Magistrates’ remarks before passing sentence, he commented that the facts of the matter were “facts proved beyond reasonable doubt” and “in relation to the offence, I do not find it is trivial.” He also commented that “the charge carries up to a two year jail sentence.”  Magistrate Franklin also commented “that he took the risk.”

Before delivering the sentence, The Magistrate asked the Police Prosecutor and Mr Roberts’ lawyer, if they had any documents to hand up to him, to which they replied “No.”

Zac Schmierer

This was disappointing to Zac Schmierer as he had prepared a powerful victim’s impact statement, detailing the events that led to Roberts driving into him with his four wheel drive vehicle towing a horse trailer in the carpark of the Aboriginal Land Council at Karuah which was all recorded on police video cameras, and the subsequent effects this case has had on him. 

According to Schmierer, the Police Prosecutor did show the Victim Impact statement to Roberts’ lawyer, who apparently strenuously objected to it and so it was never presented to the Magistrate.

During the Magistrate’s remarks Mr Roberts looked distinctly apprehensive until Magistrate Franklin handed Roberts a get out of jail card with the words –

“Without proceeding to conviction – 18 months good behaviour bond.”

Schmierer was satisfied that Roberts had been found guilty but disappointed at the leniency of the sentence, given the circumstances, saying “I could have been seriously injured or even worse.” He also says he’s just glad it’s over. 

But if Cr. Roberts puts one foot wrong and breaks his good behaviour bond, he may be brought to face the Magistrate again where the sentence may not be as lenient.   

Mr Roberts was previously Dismissed from Civic Office as a Councillor from the Great Lakes Council in 2002 as a result of a decision by the NSW Administrative Appeals Tribunal after a breach of Election Regulations had been established. 

It will be interesting to see how the MidCoast Council Mayor and the General Manager now address this matter.

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