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Monthly Archives: July 2017

criminal legal aid solicitor VHS Fletchers
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor Martin Hadley was instructed in a case alleging assault upon two staff members at a local hospital. Eventually the prosecution was persuaded that it was not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution.  It was no doubt a shame that this sensible review did not take place sooner, bearing in mind the vulnerabilities of his client.

Police interview at home without a solicitor

Martin’s client had been interviewed by the police regarding these assaults.  The interview was undertaken at the client’s home address and without the benefit of legal advice.  Although such an interview technique might create the impression that the police are not taking the matter particularly seriously, the evidence gathered through interview carries just as much weight if gained at a police station in a formal interview.

Second legal aid solicitor instructed

This firm was first instructed by our client after another firm of solicitors had failed to secure free criminal legal aid for her.  This resulted in an earlier trial being adjourned because the steps necessary in her defence had not been taken.

Martin took the time to speak with our client’s carer.  He obtained instructions as to our client’s income and this allowed an application for legal aid.  This was granted without difficulties.  Unfortunately, owing to her health difficulties our client was unable to provide us with clear instructions regarding the criminal charges.

Eventually Martin received the papers relating to her case from the former solicitors.  He read the papers and discovered that the allegations involved assaults on two nurses at the hospital.  For understandable reasons, where a person is convicted, the courts will always take such matters seriously.

Argument that our client was acting lawfully

The nurses would give evidence that a doctor from the Mental Health Unit had asked for the client to be detained so that staff at the relevant ward could undertake a full mental health assessment. The nurses who were dealing with our client at the time did not have training on how to deal with patients with mental health difficulties.

Our client decided to leave the hospital.   The staff attempted to restrain her and at that time she was said to have assaulted the nurses.

Upon a review of the file Martin decided to approach the case from two angles to try and secure the best result for his client.  Firstly, he pointed out to the prosecution in correspondence that there was currently no evidence that the nurses had a power to detain his client under the Mental Health Act.  Without such authority then it could be argued that his client was free to leave the hospital.  This meant that any attempts to detain her would have amounted to unlawful force and so our client would be entitled to resist.  This would mean that the alleged assaults were not unlawful.

Despite various requests by the prosecution, the hospital was never to release a copy of the order or the relevant notes relating to the incident. Delays in the trial being heard because of this.

How could it be in the public interest to proceed?

The issue of lawful authority being pursued so Martin’s second aim was to try and persuade the CPS to discontinue the proceedings.  He argued that it would not be “in the interests of justice” to continue with the proceedings because of the circumstances.

The client was clearly suffering from an illness that required treatment at the time of the allegations.  She had no recollection of the incident due to what was believed to have been a psychotic attack. This contention was backed up by the fact that the client was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act following the incident.

Martin made lengthy representations to the prosecution because of these health issues.  The health problems were continuing, and a further period of detention had followed under the Mental Health Act.  Specific guidance from the prosecution and the National Health Service suggested individuals should not be prosecuted because of their illness.

Late decision by prosecution means that case dropped on day of trial

Despite this clear guidance and irrefutable medical evidence the prosecution would not make a final decision as to withdrawing the case.   Fortunately, the prosecution discontinued the case on the day of the trial, although numerous attempts had been made to secure that outcome prior to the trial date.

Criminal Legal Aid in the Magistrates’ Court

criminal legal aid solicitor VHS Fletchers NottinghamWe know how important it is to secure affordable representation if you face proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court.  There is both a merits test and a means test but we will help you complete the forms.  This is so that you have the best chance of passing both.

Even if an initial decision is made that you have too much income, we will provide you with advice about pursuing an exceptional hardship application to try and ensure that you receive free legal aid.  This is because as a legal aid solicitor we specialise in this type of advice.

Instruct a Nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor

nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor Martin Hadley
Nottingham criminal solicitor Martin Hadley

If you wish to instruct legal aid solicitor Martin Hadley then please telephone him on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively, you can contact him using the form below.

One of our other offices might be more convenient to you.  You can find out where they are here.


Monthly Archives: July 2017

Chesterfield Crime Solicitor David Gittins has attended The Church on the Bus for the first time in Chesterfield.  This was in order to offer free legal advice to its vulnerable service users.

the church on the bus chesterfield crime solicitor
The Church on the Bus

The Church on the Bus is a unique local initiative.  It has been running for several years.  A specific need for the homeless was identified in Chesterfield.  There are no soup kitchens or hostel accommodation in the town.  The Church on the Bus attempts to fill part of this gap in local assistance.

The Church on the Bus

Help to some of the most vulnerable in the area is provided from a converted single-decked bus.   The Bus is parked on Rose Hill opposite Chesterfield Town Hall every Monday and Thursday evening from 6.30pm to 8.00pm (apart from Bank Holiday Mondays).

Volunteers serve tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup, sandwiches and, usually, treats such as cake, biscuits or chocolates!  Toiletries, clothing, shoes and sleeping bags are also provided, together with advice on benefits and other matters affecting the homeless.

Perhaps more importantly the bus provides a safe place for people to feel welcomed, be able to sit quietly in comfort, to chat, to ask questions, and to pray.  Each session ends with a short period of quiet prayer.

Typically between 15 and 30 people attend on any one evening but the total pool of people visiting the bus is much larger.

How we became involved

the church on the bus chesterfield criminal solicitor david gittins
Chesterfield Crime Solicitor David Gittins

David became aware of the organisation through local business contacts forged within Chesterfield Champions.  As a result he contacted the group to how he and staff at our Chesterfield solicitors could help.

David’s first meeting was of the Committee.  David was able to outline what he believed he could do to help the organisation and those that it helps.

This will include:

  • Free legal advice on a variety of areas of law relating to the police and courts
  • Free help and advice with official letters and documents
  • Signposting to solicitors in other areas of law as required by those attending the service
  • Signposting to other professional service providers to help with ongoing issues, whether legal or not

David’s offer was warmly accepted by the Church and it was agreed that he would attend twice monthly to offer help and support and see what demand there is for the service.

Free advice to vulnerable service users

Since then, David has attended the Bus for the first time in his capacity as adviser.   As well as providing some legal advice he spoke with the attendees and witnessed for himself the help and support offered to the homeless.  To David’s surprise this included the offer of free haircuts!

David will be returning to offer his legal and practical help (and possibly receive a hair cut) at regular intervals over the coming months.

Make a donation to the Church on the Bus

If anyone wishes to make any donations, such as toiletries, sleeping bags, clothes etc to the Church on the Bus please drop these off at St Thomas’ Church, Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield clearly marked.

Alternatively items can be left at our Marsden Street office and transported on your behalf.  Our contact details can be found here.

More information about how you can support the service can be found here.

Monthly Archives: July 2017

DWP prosecution dropped nottingham criminal defence lawyer
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Nottingham crime solicitor Alex Chapman represented a client before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court for allegations of fraud.   This was a DWP prosecution. The particular circumstances were such that he was able to persuade the prosecution that it was not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution.  His client therefore kept her good name.

DWP Prosecution alleges £17 000 fraud

The allegations faced were charged under the Fraud Act 2006.  The offence were based on a fraudulent claim for benefits between 2011 and 2013.  The case was serious because there had been an over payment of benefits of approximately £17 000.

DWP prosecution nottingham criminal defence lawyerAlex’s client had been interviewed by the DWP,  Shortly afterwards she had been offered a job abroad so left the country.  She was summonsed to attend court in 2014 but was unable to attend the court dates.  As a result the Magistrates’ Court had no alternative but to issue a warrant for her immediate arrest.

Despite failing to attend court our client had done her best to put herself in a favourable position.  She had paid off the debt in its entirety while in work although this had taken her two years to achieve.  She also made contact with the court to fix a date to surrender to the warrant.

All of the money repaid by our client

It was at this point that we were instructed and she informed us of the date.  Once Alex was involved he gave her advice as to the likely sentence for this offending.  As this was a prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006, the position was immediately more serious than had it been a prosecution for over-claiming benefit.  The position was aggravated because of the allegation that the claim had been fraudulent from the outset.  The Magistrates’ were likely to commit the matter for sentence upon a guilty plea because of this, and custody was likely.

Representations lead to withdrawal of DWP prosecution

At court Alex took the opportunity to speak with the prosecutor.  His discussions were designed to see whether the prosecution could be persuaded to abandon the prosecution as not being in the public interest.  This would be because:

  • his client was of good character
  • all of the over-paid benefits had been repaid
  • the offending was several years old
  • the chances of re-offending appeared slight
  • the fact that she lives abroad would mean that community elements of any sentence could not be imposed

Alex’s representations were successful so proceedings were withdrawn.  As a result, all the attendant risks for his client vanished and she kept her good name.

Affordable fixed fee representation

Alex’s client was not financially eligible for free advice and representation before the Magistrates’ Court.  As an alternative he was able to provide her with a fixed fee cost of his representation. She could budget for these costs because of this.

Positive Client Feedback

Perhaps unsurprisingly, bearing in mind the result that Alex achieved on behalf of his client, she was prompted to provide the following feedback:

“Words cannot describe how thankful I am to you. It’s an incredible feeling and I appreciate your help and support. ” 

 “I would like you to bear in mind that if at any point in your career you require a client reference, you will always have my positive feedback on your fantastic work.”

Contact a criminal solicitor in Nottingham

Whether you face an interview under caution with an investigator or a DWP prosecution before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will want to instruct an experienced criminal solicitor.  If you do so you will have the confidence that they will know what can best be achieved on your behalf in the circumstances that you face.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0115 9599550.  You can also use the contact form below.

It may be that one of our other offices is more convenient to you.  If so, you can find contact details for your nearest office here.



Monthly Archives: July 2017

nottingham crime solicitor jury trial
Nottingham Crown Court

Nottingham criminal solicitor advocate Andrew Wesley helped ensure a not guilty verdict for his client who faced jury trial because it was alleged he had perverted the course of justice.

Andrew’s client had already been dealt with by another advocate following his guilty plea to his involvement in an insurance fraud where he had pleaded guilty.

Both cases had been prepared by senior Crown Court litigator Caine Ward.

Crown Court jury trial for perverting the course of justice

This case was related to the fraud. It was said that our client had destroyed an iPhone because it had incriminating photos showing fraudulent accidents.  The phone had been destroyed after our client had been arrested so the police wouldn’t find it.

Andrew Wesley jury trial criminal solicitor advocateThe only evidence that the prosecution had that the phone existed in the first place, let alone was destroyed, came from an ex-partner.  In her statement the incident was dealt with in two or three lines of type so no detail was given at all.

Disclosure was received from the prosecution that showed that she was unhappy with our client following the break up of their relationship.  Further evidence obtained showed that following the break up she had made several unwanted visits to our client’s address.  On each occasion the police had to be called, and on more than one occasion she had to be taken away by the police.  This, and evidence of her hatred for our client seen on screenshots of Messenger conversations, lent support to our client’s argument that she had made up the story to get him into further trouble with the police.

Expert cross-examination of the prosecution witness

The case proceeded to jury trial.  The witness attended so gave her evidence in accordance with her statement.  Andrew had planned his cross examination so that he concentrated on relevant issues.  It was structured to deal with the following areas:

  • their relationship and how it ended
  • police involvement at our client’s address
  • her feelings for our client as seen on the Messenger chat
  • her delay in reporting the allegations to the police
  • the detail of the incident bearing in mind the brevity of her statement

The last point was perhaps the most important.  When pressed for detail she was unable to provide it or seemed to be making up the detail to provide an answer.  This was not lost on the jury.

Andrew’s client gave evidence on his own behalf, and although the experience and some of the questions asked were clearly frustrating, he gave evidence well.

Closing speech directed at the burden of proof

In closing, Andrew’s speech was able to concentrate on the issues that might be troubling the jury most.  In particular, there was a lack of supporting evidence that such a phone ever ever existed whereas there was evidence that the witness might be prepared to lie about him.

Our client, of course, had the benefit of the fact that the prosecution had to prove the case so that the jury was sure of his guilt.  By a unanimous verdict the jury decided that the prosecution hadn’t done so and he was found ‘not guilty’.

Positive feedback for the service we provide

Although our client remains a serving prisoner and was unable to offer written feedback on the service provided his family did so.  His partner felt able to write in these terms

“I couldn’t of asked for a better solicitor – Andrew Wesley and team did a fantastic job representing my partner.”

His mother watched the trial so was able to comment

 “couldn’t of asked for better representation thank you so much.”

Crown Court Criminal Legal Aid

crown court legal aid jury trialOur client benefited from legal aid so in his case it meant that our representation was free of charge. It is only in exceptional cases that legal aid funding will not be available to a defendant.  This is because it is unlikely that the income of most defendants be too high for legal aid.

Contact a Nottingham Criminal Defence Solicitor

east midlands crime solicitor jury trial
VHS Fletchers East Midlands Offices

Whether you face a police investigation, Magistrates’ Court trial or Crown Court jury trial you will want to engage a specialist firm to ensure the best possible outcome for you.  We provide nationwide advice and representation from our offices across the East Midlands.  Contact details for your nearest office can be found here.

Alternatively you can use the form below to send us an enquiry.


Monthly Archives: July 2017

Chesterfield criminal Solicitor David Gittins recently used all of his court experience to successfully argue at trial that there was no case for his client to answer.  This would mean that all charges would be dismissed.  As a result his client would be not guilty of the offences. Previous criminal behaviour need not mean that a person is inevitably guilty of new offences.

The Allegation

David’s client had been arrested and charged with an allegation of criminal damage. The background was one of anti-social behaviour directed towards a neighbour.  A restraining order had been put in place as a result.

The complainant, as well as having the protection of a court order, had also put up CCTV .  This was specifically to cover a passageway between the two properties.

chesterfield criminal solicitorThe allegation was that David’s client had damaged this camera.  Although the damage was not caught on the camera, and there were no eye-witnesses, the prosecution had chosen to bring the case to court.  The case was brought on the basis of our client’s poor behaviour in the past and because he was in the area at the time the camera was damaged.

Although David’s client had denied the offence in police interview, he appeared to accept causing damage by catching himself on some low hanging wires in the dark.  He himself had called the police the following day to give that account.

The Trial

chesterfield criminal solicitor
Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court

David had seen his client to take instructions and provide advice on on several occasions before the trial date.  David had also taken the time to visit the property.  He took photographs to allow the Magistrates to fully understand the scene.

These instructions allowed David to develop a case plan ensuring that he knew what evidence was required from the witness to secure an acquittal for his client.

At trial the owner of the CCTV attended and gave evidence about the its location and how and when it was fixed to the wall.  During his evidence the witness accepted “it was possible” that some of the wires may have dropped. David knew this answer was key. Previously in discussions with the prosecution,  it was claimed that there were no such wires.

The witness gave evidence for the prosecution for over 30 mins. David then questioned the witness himself, although he chose to only a small number of questions.  This questioning only lasted three minutes.

chesterfield criminal solicitorAfter the prosecution case had finished, David made an application that the case ought to be dismissed.  This was because there was simply no evidence upon which his client could be convicted.  The prosecution witness had confirmed what his client had said about loose wires.  There was no eye witness testimony to the incident.  As a result there was no evidence to challenge his account.

The Magistrates retired and returned a short while later accepting David’s argument and dismissing the case.

His  client was delighted as he was subject to a Suspended Sentence Order so any conviction would have almost certainly resulted in a prison sentence.

Criminal legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court 

Chesterfield criminal solicitor david gittinsLegal aid is available for advice and representation before the Magistrates’ Court.  It is dependent upon our clients satisfying the legal aid agency of the merits of their cases and that they qualify on their means.

In this case, David’s client had the benefit of legal aid which means that his representation was free of charge to our client.

Instruct a Chesterfield criminal solicitor

criminal damage not guilty verdict
Chesterfield partner and crime solicitor David Gittins

Whether you find yourself under investigation by the police, or facing proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court, you will want to instruct a specialist Chesterfield criminal solicitor to present and argue your case.  We will give you a clear idea of what needs to be achieved and how it can be will benefit you.

There are many reasons to take advantage of our free and independent legal advice in police interview.  You can read about those here.

If you wish to instruct Chesterfield criminal solicitor David then please telephone him on 01246 387999 or contact him using the form below.  Details of your nearest office can be found here.


Monthly Archives: July 2017

chesterfield road traffic solicitor dangerous driving
Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court

Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson was recently instructed in an unusual case of dangerous driving.  His client was alleged to have a driven a tractor dangerously.  If convicted, Kevin’s client stood to lose not only his good name but also his licence for a minimum of twelve months.

The allegation of dangerous driving

Kevin’s client, aged 17, had been assisting on a family farm.  He drove a tractor on a public highway moving bales of hay.   He was driving along a narrow country lane when another vehicle approached from the other direction.  A collision occurred causing minor damage to the car.  The tractor tipped over onto  its side, coming to rest on a dry stone wall.

The police were called to the scene because of the accident.  Kevin’s client was eventually summonsed to court for dangerous driving.

Our client denied the offence stating that he had not been driving at speed as alleged.  In fact, this was simply an accident due to the nature of the road.  The hedges were overgrown so the view of both drivers was restricted. Kevin advised his client that a not guilty plea ought to be entered and the case was adjourned for trial in the Magistrates’ Court.

Expert witness instructed

In order to prepare for the trial Kevin visited the location of the accident.  As a result he instructed an expert to visit the scene in order to give his opinion as to the manner of driving.  This would be based upon the road layout and how the vehicles ended up after the accident.  Following this detailed recreation of the scene the expert felt the standard of driving was not dangerous.   He agreed with our client’s view of the incident.

chesterfield solicitor dangerous drivingThis report allowed Kevin to make detailed submissions to the Crown Prosecution Service.  He invited them to reconsider the case against his client.  This was because the evidence did not support a charge of dangerous driving.

Although Kevin had to chase the prosecution for an answer, eventually a decision was made that there was a more suitable charge.  This was the little known offence of being in control of a vehicle whilst being unable to see the entire road ahead.

This was a suitable charge because the hydraulic front loader attachment used to transport the hay bales, when in the correct position for use on the road, created a blind spot.  This problem was aggravated by the driving conditions on this particular road.

The new offence was a far less serious allegation than dangerous driving.  It carried a financial penalty and penalty points .  Kevin’s client pleaded guilty on a very limited basis that had been agreed by the prosecution.  It was accepted by the court.

Absolute discharge ordered

At the sentencing hearing Kevin addressed the Magistrates about the case including personal mitigation of his client. Upon hearing all of this information the court imposed an Absolute Discharge.  This meant that the court considered that no punishment was needed.  The court also ordered that no Prosecution costs were to be paid.

The Court had to impose 3 penalty points for the offence which was the minimum that could be imposed.  For obvious reasons Kevin’s client was delighted with both the outcome and the fact that the case was finally over.

Kevin’s persuasive advocacy skills and tenacious attitude in securing all relevant evidence to assist his client’s case meant an exceptional outcome for his Client.  It is clear that he explored every line of enquiry to ensure a result that favoured his client.

Criminal legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court

Our client satisfied both the merits and means test for legal aid which means that the advice and representation provided by Kevin was free of charge to him.  The legal aid also paid the costs of instructing the expert witness in the case.

We will always provide you with full advice as to how best to fund your case, including the availability of legal aid.

Contact a Chesterfield Motoring Solicitor

chesterfield motoring law solicitor kevin tomlinson dangerous driving
Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson

If you require the advice and representation of an expert motoring solicitor then please contact Kevin at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or email him here.  Details of our Chesterfield Office can be found here.

Kevin can provide you with detailed and affordable advice as to whether you are able to challenge the prosecution evidence relating to your road traffic offence, or how you are likely to be sentenced following a guilty plea.

Monthly Archives: July 2017

Chesterfield Motoring Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson was recently instructed in a case where his client was at real risk of a driving disqualification. Her latest offending left her with 19 penalty points on her licence.  In order to ensure the best result for her, Kevin had to ensure that offences from two different court centres were before a single court.

road traffic law solicitor ChesterfieldKevin’s client had received a requisition from a Court in Staffordshire.  This was as a result of new speeding offences. If convicted she would have been over the 12 point penalty limit for keeping her driving license and a ban was possible. Kevin knew that the client would have a strong argument to keep her license as losing it would cause her exceptional hardship.

His client then discovered that she was to have a further case before Derby Magistrates’ Court involving similar offence.

It was important that both cases be listed together.  This was because Kevin could only put forward the same reasons for exceptional hardship once within a three year period.   Kevin managed to delay the case in Staffordshire until the case in Derby had been listed.  He was then able to have both matters listed before the same Magistrates’ Court.

At the point of sentencing Kevin had the opportunity to put forward the exceptional hardship argument on behalf of his client.  This gave her an opportunity to keep her driving license even though she now had 19 penalty points on her driving licence as a result of her guilty pleas.

Exceptional hardship arguments

motoring law solicitor chesterfieldAs all drivers know when you reach 12 penalty points the Court will disqualify you from driving under the totting up procedure. However, if it can be shown that exceptional hardship will result from a disqualification a driver is enabled to keep their license even though they have passed the 12 point penalty limit.

The concept of “exceptional hardship” is not comprehensively defined by the law.  It does, however, have to be more than an inconvenience caused as a natural result of a driving ban.

Issues that can amount to hardship may include:

  • Loss of a job resulting in loss of accommodation for others such as children
  • An inability to get to any work due to geographical and public transport restrictions
  • Loss of other third persons employment due to businesses having to close
  • The requirement to take family members to urgent medical appointments when no other transport is available

In this case Kevin argued exceptional hardship before the Magistrates.  His client gave evidence to the court about the difficulties she would face if she lost her licence.  Although the case was initially heard before two Magistrates, they could not agree.  As a result a third Magistrate was brought in so Kevin had to present the case again.

No driving disqualification but 19 penalty points

Fortunately for his client, Kevin was successful in his representations and exceptional hardship was found. The court chose to exercise its discretion not to impose a driving disqualification. This meant the Client could continue driving and was simply ordered to pay financial penalties for these offences.

Kevin’s advocacy skills and ability to see the bigger picture when collecting together cases before making his argument enabled the client to keep his driving licence.

Privately funded cases

For this type of case legal aid was not available.  Instead an agreed fixed fee was agreed in advance of the work being undertaken.  In the event this was arguably a small price to pay in order that our client keep her driving license.

Contact a Chesterfield Motoring Law Solicitor

Chesterfield road traffic law solicitor VHS Fletchers driving disqualification
Chesterfield motoring law solicitor Kevin Tomlinson

If you require advice and representation from an expert road traffic law solicitor because you face a driving disqualification then please contact Kevin at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or use the contact form below.  Details of our Chesterfield Office can be found here.  Alternatively you can find your nearest office here.

Kevin can provide you with detailed and affordable advice as to whether you are able to challenge the prosecution evidence relating to your road traffic offence, or how you are likely to be sentenced following a guilty plea.


Monthly Archives: July 2017

identification evidence nottingham crime solicitor
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher represented her client at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court who was charged with assault. After she properly identified that the issue in the case was identification evidence, the prosecution did not manage to secure the evidence that her client was responsible  in time for trial.  Not guilty verdicts followed.

The allegation

A member of the public had seen two males being assaulted so went to their aid.  Both males are drunk and in company with a female.  One of the males then becomes aggressive and pushes the female before attempting to hit the person who had been helping them.

Although the male walks away with the female he is followed by the member of the public.  He is then seen to kick the female and swing her around by her bag.  He calls the police because of his concerns.

When the police arrive, no complaint is made by the female.  Lauren’s client is in a group of three males by this time.  He is spoken to by the police and taken home, but then received a notification that he had to attend court.

No identification evidence…

Lauren advises him on the statements received.  There is not a statement from anybody identifying him as the person who either swung for the member of the public or kicked the female.  He enters not guilty pleas.  Lauren makes it clear on the case management form that identification will be the issue in the case.

…and still no identification evidence

Despite this, the prosecution serve no additional evidence until the morning of trial.  This is in an additional statement from the eye witness stating that he had pointed out the male to the police.  There was, however, no corresponding statement from the police officer confirming that if was Lauren’s client who was identified.

The prosecutor had to therefore make an application to adjourn the trial to try and put right this evidential problem.  The was opposed by Lauren, bearing in mind the time the Crown had had to secure any evidence.  The Magistrates’ decided that it was not in the interests of justice to grant the prosecution the adjournment.  As a result the prosecution had no alternative but to offer no evidence.  The charges were dismissed and Lauren’s client was found not guilty.

Contact a Nottingham Criminal Law Solicitor

identification evidence nottingham crime solicitor
Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher

Whether you face a police investigation or Magistrates’ or Crown Court proceedings you will wish to instruct a specialist criminal defence lawyer with an eye for detail who will fight your case.  This can be particularly important in cases involving identification evidence.  The identification might be by eye witnesses, from CCTV or from forensic evidence so the legal approach will be different in each case.

If you wish to instruct Lauren Fisher then please telephone her on 0115 9599550 or use the contact form below.  Alternatively, you can find you nearest office here.


Monthly Archives: July 2017

Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher  pursued an exceptional hardship application for her client to ensure that he had the benefit of legal aid.  She then ensured that his trial was prepared properly with the Crown, once again, failing to secure the evidence that would provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

The circumstances of the offence

exceptional hardship criminal legal aid nottingham vhs fletchers
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Lauren’s client was charged with and allegation of common assault.  A member of the public had reported the assault.  When the police attended at the scene they found the alleged victim who named Lauren’s client as being responsible for an unlawful assault.  He was named and arrested nearby.

In interview, Lauren’s client maintained that he could not remember anything about the night.  Unsurprisingly he was charged to court.

A few days later, his partner made a further statement to the police.  She stated that she had been drunk when she made her original statement.  The incident had also been two-sided and she had not been assaulted.  Due to the fact she was no longer a helpful witness to the prosecution she was tendered to the defence.  This means that Lauren could call her as a witness if she wanted.

Lack of identification evidence

The prosecution had not noticed that without this witness there was no evidence identifying Lauren’s client as the man involved in the incident.  This was the case because the eye witness had not been present when our client was arrested.  As a result of the original statement by our client’s partner there had not been identification procedures.

Once Lauren had identified this she properly put the court and prosecution on notice that identification would be a trial issue.  Had she not put the prosecution on notice it was likely that the prosecution would be granted an adjournment to seek the necessary evidence.

Failure to hold a VIPER procedure

Despite being warned of the problem with the evidence the prosecution and police failed to pursue the VIPER identification evidence.  Lauren’s client confirmed that he would consent to the procedure late in the case.  As a result his details were passed to the officer to make the necessary arrangements.

nottingham criminal legal aid exceptional hardship

Despite this, by the trial no attempts had been made to make the arrangements for a video identification parade.  As a result the prosecution took a realistic approach and offered no evidence.

Magistrates’ Court Criminal Legal Aid Exceptional Hardship

Criminal legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court is subject to both a merits and means test.  Firstly, the Legal Aid Agency has to be sure that there are features of the case that mean that legal aid should be granted.  The defendant is also subject to a means test.  There is no contribution, so if the defendant earns over a certain level after deductions then legal aid is not available.

It is possible, however, to make an application to the Legal Aid Agency to ask that legal aid is granted on the basis of exceptional hardship.  This procedure involves the defendant’s solicitor setting out the likely fees to represent them at court and then asking the Agency to say that the expense would be more that they could afford.

In this case, Lauren spent the time with her client assessing that such an application would be worthwhile.  Because of this he was able to have the benefit of free advice and representation at the Magistrates’ Court trial.

Contact a criminal law solicitor in Nottingham

exceptional hardship criminal legal aid VHS Fletchers
Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher

Whether you face a police investigation or proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will want to instruct a specialist criminal defence lawyer.  We will provide you with advice and representation that you can afford.

Please remember that advice and representation in police interview is always free of charge under the legal aid scheme.  This is always true whether you are interviewed while under arrest or as a volunteer, at the police station or another place such as your home.

We will always provide advice as to whether an exceptional hardship application is likely to succeed and advise on the process.

If you want to instruct Lauren Fisher then please telephone her on 0115 9599550 or use the form below.  Alternatively, you can find your nearest office here.


Monthly Archives: July 2017

Derby crime solicitor John Young represented a client before Derby Magistrates’ Court.  His client had placed himself in a very serious situation because he committed a number of assaults at a working men’s club.  This case demonstrates the benefit of an early guilty plea in an appropriate case.  John was able to build his mitigation on these pleas to persuade the court that an immediate prison sentence could be avoided.

The allegations

John’s client had been charged with allegations of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and three common assaults.  These offences involved four members of the same family, including two vulnerable victims.

The incident developed following an argument between our client’s wife and others in the club.  There was some pushing and shoving from both sides of the argument, coupled with some threats.  This initial incident appeared to blow over.

Unfortunately, the incident flared up again.  No doubt due to the drink consumed, John’s client repeatedly punched the first victim. and then assaulted the others.  He was restrained while the police are called.  Fortunately, the injuries were relatively minor, but there were other families and young children present who were upset.

Sentencing Guidelines

early guilty plea derby crime solicitor vhs fletchersThe offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm can be heard before the Crown Court.  This might have been a case that the Magistrates decided ought to be sentenced there because a number of aggravating features were present:

  • offences in a public place
  • our client was in drink
  • children were present and affected
  • injury was caused
  • two of the victims were vulnerable
  • it was a sustained and repeated attack
  • arguably an intention to cause more serious injury than resulted

As a result, the case could easily have been categorised within the most serious category of offending with a starting point of 18 months in prison if John’s client had sought a trial.

Early Guilty Plea

John’s client faced a choice as to whether he ought to plead guilty or not.  He felt aggrieved about how the incident had started.  John took the time, however, to take him through the evidence and explain why he was guilty of the offences.  Further, John explained to him the benefits of an early guilty plea.  This is in terms of both credit (a reduction in sentence) and because it arguably shows remorse for offending.

It is always more difficult to persuade a court to be lenient where a client has been found guilty after a trial.

Mitigation leads to suspended sentence order

Although the offence was serious because of the early guilty plea the court was able to say that the remorse expressed was genuine.  The court took account of John’s client’s good work record and settled relationship.  He was also the sole breadwinner supporting his wife and child.

In recent times he had had problems with both his health and debt.  He had a limited record of convictions and had not appeared before the courts since 2009.

As a result of John’s careful mitigation, his client received a short sentence of eighteen weeks suspended for two years.  This was combined with a substantial number of hours of unpaid work and compensation.  The case was kept before the Magistrates’ Court.

Contact a Derby criminal law solicitor

early guilty plea derby criminal defence lawyer
Derby crime solicitor John Young

Whether you face a police investigation or proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will want to instruct a criminal defence lawyer that gives you appropriate advice.  This will help you secure the best outcome for you, whether that is due to an early guilty plea or by having a trial.

If you want to instruct John Young then please telephone him on 01332 546818 or use the form below.  Alternatively, you can find your nearest office here.



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