Criminal Law


Barbaro Thilthorpe’s Criminal Practice

We are proud to be one of Adelaide’s leading criminal law firms.

At Barbaro Thilthorpe Lawyers, we are renowned for our specialist work in criminal law and recognised as one of Adelaide’s leading criminal law firms.

Our highly-dedicated lawyers have represented clients charged with relatively minor offences, such as traffic offences and disorderly behaviour, through to serious criminal offences, such as drug trafficking, assault, and murder.

We routinely appear in all South Australian courts and travel interstate. We also act on criminal appeals to the High Court of Australia, where our matters have resulted in some of Australia’s common law.

Legislation is often changing and amendments can have direct and adverse implications should you be charged with or convicted of an offence. It is essential that you obtain specialist legal advice to ensure that you understand all of the potential consequences of your pending charges and/or convictions.


Types of Offences

The Criminal Procedure Act 1921 categorises offences in South Australia as either ‘summary’, ‘minor indictable’ or ‘major indictable’ offences.

Summary offences are those which: are not punishable by imprisonment, attract a maximum fine of less than $120,000.00, attract a maximum penalty of 2 years or less, or involve $2,500.00 or less.

Minor indictable offences are those which: attract a maximum fine of more than $120,000.00, attract a maximum penalty of more than 2 but less than 5 years imprisonment, or involve $30,000.00 or less.

All other offences are major indictable offences.

It is important to understand the type of offence you are charged with as it determines the court in which your matter will be heard.

Summary offences are heard in the Magistrates Court jurisdiction. Minor indictable offences are also heard in the Magistrates Court, unless the defendant elects to be tried in the superior court, being the District Court.

All major indictable offences are heard in the superior courts, being the District Court in most cases or for offences of murder and treason, the Supreme Court.

It is important to note that the Magistrates Court is a ‘costs jurisdiction’ and costs may be recovered if the defendant successfully defends the charges. Conversely, the defendant may be ordered to the pay the prosecution’s costs if they plead or are otherwise found guilty.



If you are refused police bail, you must be brought before the Magistrates Court for a bail application as soon as reasonably practicable and not later than 4:00pm on the next working day following arrest.

The Bail Act 1985 provides that the presumption of bail is in favour of the applicant. However, certain charges may render an accused a “prescribed applicant”.

If you are a prescribed applicant, there is a presumption against bail and you must establish “special circumstances” justifying release on bail.

It is critical that you engage an experienced criminal lawyer to make your bail application, especially if you are a prescribed applicant. We will do everything we can to maximise your prospects of release on bail.

There are measures that may be taken to provide comfort to the court and alleviate any bail risks. These measures include:

  • Obtaining guarantors;
  • Arranging cash sureties that may be lodged with the court and forfeited if the applicant breaches bail;
  • Conditions preventing you from communicating with certain people, curfew conditions, reporting conditions and drug and alcohol testing conditions; and
  • Passport forfeiture.

Regarded as “last resort” bail, home detention bail requires a nominated address and involves strict electronic monitoring conditions.

It is important to consider the above options and make appropriate arrangements prior to making an application for bail, particularly if bail is opposed by prosecution or otherwise contentious.

If bail is refused, you may reapply, however, your application is unlikely to be successful without a change in circumstances.

If bail is refused by the Magistrate, you may apply to the Supreme Court for a Bail Review. The review is treated as a fresh bail application and must be heard and determined as expeditiously as possible.

Barbaro Thilthorpe Lawyers has extensive experience both in bail applications and bail reviews. We will assess and facilitate all options available to ensure that your chances of release on bail are maximised.



The new Sentencing Act 2017 has introduced several mandatory sentencing schemes.

The Act includes provisions which render certain defendants “serious repeat offenders”. When the court is sentencing a serious repeat offender, the court must impose a non-parole period that is at least four-fifths of the head sentence and the court is not bound to ensure the sentence is proportional to the offence.

The Act also provides a sentencing discount regime. If you plead guilty at your first court appearance, you are entitled to a maximum sentencing discount of 40%. The applicable sentencing discount decreases as your matter progresses closer to trial. It is therefore essential that you seek expert criminal law advice as to the strength of the case against you as soon as possible.

The Act also prevents the court from suspending sentences or ordering sentences to be served on home detention in certain cases. Some of these include:

  • If the defendant is being sentenced to a non-parole period of 2 years or more for a prescribed designated offence (manslaughter or cause serious harm);
  • If the defendant is being sentenced to a serious and organised crime offence;
  • If the defendant is being sentenced to a specified offence against police; and
  • If the defendant is being sentenced for a serious sexual offence.

At Barbaro Thilthorpe Lawyers, we will ensure that you are apprised from the outset of how the provisions of the Act apply to you and any potential implications at sentencing.


Prohibition & Exclusion Orders

Your previous convictions and/or allegations by police that you associate with a declared criminal organisation can result in adverse administrative orders.

The Firearms Act 2015 allows police or the Registrar of Firearms to issue a Firearms Prohibition Order in certain circumstances, including if police reasonably suspect or the Registrar is satisfied that the person is not a fit and proper person to possess a firearm.

Firearms Prohibition Orders carry oppressive conditions which have significant consequences if they are breached. For example, a condition that a person must not be on the grounds of a paint-ball operator, which carries a maximum penalty of $50,000.00 or 10 years imprisonment.

The Correctional Services Act 1982 allows the Chief Executive of the Department of Correctional Services to exclude a person from a specified correctional institution (or all correctional institutions) if the Chief Executive believes on reasonable grounds that the person is a member of a criminal organisation, associates with or has associated with a member of a criminal organisation or is otherwise likely to interfere with the good order or security of a correctional institution. If such an exclusion order is made against you, you will be prohibited from visiting anyone, including your own family members, held in custody.

At Barbaro Thilthorpe Lawyers, we have experience opposing Firearms Prohibition Orders and Exclusion Orders and can help you preserve your rights.


We protect your best interests

We understand that being charged with a criminal offence is a confronting experience and we know the serious implications it can have on your current life and future.

Our lawyers work tirelessly to explore all possible defences and keep you informed to achieve an effective resolution of your matter.

We pride ourselves on providing you with the highest level of representation and exceptional advice.

If you find yourself in legal trouble, contact our office on (08) 8227 0577 and make an appointment with one of our specialist criminal lawyers.


Areas of Practise

Minor Offences

From traffic offences to disorderly behaviour, minor indictable offences will initially appear before a Magistrate in a Magistrates Court.

Drug Offences

The regulation of manufacturing, production, sale, supply, possession or handling of illicit drugs is charged under state legislation.


Depending on the severity of the assault, there are a number of assault offences that can result in various degrees of punishment.


Considered one of the most serious criminal offences, immediate legal advice is required if charged with this misdemeanour.

Sexual Offences

Treated with the utmost diligence, common sexual offences can include rape, indecent assault and child pornography.

Firearm Offences

Unless a valid license is obtained, possession of an unregistered firearm can result in conviction, fines and imprisonment.

Meet Our Team

Experienced Lawyers

Ben Thilthrope
Co-founding Partner
Frank Barbaro
Co-founding Partner
Get in touch

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