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Monthly Archives: August 2017

chesterfield crime solicitor serena simpson
Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Serena Simpson

Although only qualified as a solicitor for a year, and more recently qualified as a duty solicitor, Chesterfield crime solicitor Serena Simpson already has secured a number of outstanding results for her clients.

Some examples of recent successful cases are below:

R v B

Our client  had a long history of drug related burglaries over a number of years.  He was before the court for two admitted commercial burglaries and a theft described as a ‘spree’ by the sentencing judge.

Despite this, Serena was able to persuade the District Judge at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court to impose a suspended sentence.  The intention was to give her a ‘last chance’ to rehabilitate in the community

R v T

In this case our client disputed that he was responsible for causing criminal damage.  The cross-examination of the prosecution witness showed that there were obvious inconsistencies between her accounts.

In the end, the witness admitted that she had lied in her police statement and a not guilty verdict followed.

The case of H

chesterfield crime solicitor VHS Fletchers
Chesterfield Police Station

As well as providing representation to clients at court, Serena also provides advice and representation to clients who are under suspicion of having committed an offence.

This case involved a long and drawn out police investigation.  Our client was a school teacher who was accused of a string of sexual offences by her daughter. These were denied and in the end no formal statement was provided by the alleged victim.

After plenty of argument and correspondence with the police, it was agreed that there was no evidence to support a conviction and the case was taken no further.

R v R

Chesterfield crime solicitor legal aid VHS Fletchers
Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court

Our client pleaded guilty to outraging public decency.  The offence does not feature in the Magistrates’ sentencing guidelines.  It is, however, a case that can be dealt with in either the Magistrates Court or the Crown Court.

Serena researched sentencing cases similar to the one that her client faced.  The Magistrates’ accepted jurisdiction and imposed a low level community order.

This result was secured as a result of Serena’s hard work and careful mitigation.

Thank you note for Serena

R v M

Our client faced trial for criminal damage.  Her defence was that it was a malicious complaint by her ex-partner and his new girlfriend.  Serena successfully applied for the complainant’s bad character to be before the Magistrates.  This related to previous incidents of domestic violence directed towards our client.

Under careful cross-examination the complainant was unable to give a consistent account.  His girlfriend gave a completely different account.   These inconsistencies in combination with clear evidence from our client meant that the District Judge did not require a closing from Serena.

The not guilty verdict followed.

Instruct a Chesterfield crime solicitor

Whether you face questions from the police or proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will want to instruct an expert criminal lawyer to fight your case on your behalf.

chesterfield criminal legal aid solicitor VHS FletchersWe offer free 24 hour emergency advice and representation in police interview under the legal aid scheme.

We will also provide you with advice on your entitlement to legal aid to ensure representation at court.  Alternatively, we aim to provide you with a fee estimate that will make sure that your representation is affordable.

Please contact one of our solicitors on 01246 283000 or use the enquiry from below if you wish to discuss a case or instruct us to represent you.




Monthly Archives: August 2017

Mansfield road traffic solicitor Tim Haines provided advice and representation to a client facing a custodial sentence for a second drink drive conviction within 8 years.

mansfield road traffic solicitor tim haines
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court

The client’s situation was made worse by the circumstances of the case.  He rolled his car in the early hours of the morning and then abandoned it.  When he provided a sample of breath he was over twice the legal limit to drive.

Tim’s client had been out of trouble for sometime, having put significant difficulties with drink behind him.  Unfortunately, the loss of a close family member meant that he turned once again to drink.  This offence was committed at the end of that period.

An early guilty plea

We provided advice that an early guilty plea would stand our client in good stead at his sentencing date.  Tim also advised that character references should be obtained setting out all of the good work that his client had done on his own behalf to tackle his drinking.  They could also touch on the effect of the bereavement upon him.

Hospice staff were kind enough to provide written confirmation of the closeness of our client and the deceased, and the meetings that they had leading up to his death.

The Magistrates’ were persuaded that there should be some input from the probation service to investigate alternatives to custody.  The probation office liaised with third party agencies who had been assisting our client on a voluntary basis since he was charged with this offence.

A prison sentence was avoided

Careful mitigation that stressed the particular circumstances of this case and our client’s clear intention to put his drinking behind him again mean that he received a community order.  This involved unpaid work.  Supervision was not necessary due to the efforts he was making on his own behalf.

He was of course subject to a lengthy driving disqualification.  This can be reduced if he completes the alcohol impaired drivers course.

Contact a Mansfield road traffic solicitor

Although there are always serious risks involved with any allegation of drink driving there are sometimes compelling circumstances that will allow the court to depart from the expected sentence.  An experienced solicitor such as Tim will provide you with advice as to how best to prepare for sentence, and then try to secure the best outcome through his expert mitigation on your behalf.

In a case such as this, free criminal legal aid might be available for your representation in the Magistrates’ Court dependent upon your means.  We will always give you advice on how best to fund your case.

Mansfield crime solicitor Tim Haines drink drive representation
Mansfield road traffic solicitor Tim Haines

If you wish to discuss your case then please call Tim on 01623 675816 or use the enquiry form below.




Monthly Archives: August 2017

Mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor Tim Haines secured a not guilty verdict before the Magistrates’ court.  In doing so he preserved her good character.

mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court

Tim’s client faced a very emotive charge.  She had been a care assistance and faced an allegation of pushing a vulnerable person in her care who suffered from dementia.

The allegation was made by three purported eye-witnesses.  Although all three maintained that they had seen the incident each witness gave very different account about what had happened.  Tim used his expert cross-examination to make all of these inconsistencies obvious to the Magistrates hearing the trial.

Tim’s client maintained that she had been a victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ owing to a clash of personalities at her place of employment.  This argument was supported by the manner of her dismissal which appeared unfair.

Our client was of good character.  Tim called character evidence in support of this.  His client had fully answered questions in police interview and gave an account consistent with those answers.

In closing, Tim was able to contrast the inconsistencies between the prosecution witnesses with the consistent account of his client.  He made sure that the Magistrates’ properly directed themselves as to the relevance of his client’s good character.

The Magistrates’ found his client not guilty, taking into account all of the evidence that was heard, making specific reference to our client’s consistent version of events as opposed to the prosecution’s differing accounts.

The advice, preparation and representation that this client received, both in the police station and in court, was free of charge to her.

Contact a Mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor

If you face a criminal allegation you will want to instruct an expert criminal solicitor to represent you.  Where possible, you will also want the benefit of free legal aid.

Advice and representation will always be free of charge from VHS Fletchers where you are being spoken to by the police under caution.  This is true whether you are under arrest or speaking to the police voluntarily, and whether you are at the police station or another place such as your home.

If you face court proceedings we will always ensure that we have fully investigated your entitlement to criminal legal aid.  In the Magistrates’ Court this means that your representation will be free of charge.  In the Crown Court it might be free or there may be a financial contribution.

criminal legal aid mansfield
Mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor Tim Haines

Please telephone Tim on 01623 675816 if you know that the police wish to speak to you or you face court proceedings.  We provide 24 hour emergency advice and representation.  Alternatively you can use the form below.



Monthly Archives: August 2017

Ilkeston legal aid solicitor Chris Evans successfully persuaded the prosecution that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute his client for an allegation of common assault.

Was the prosecution in the public interest?

In order to bring a prosecution two tests must be satisfied.  The first is the evidential test.  The second is the public interest test.

In Chris’s case, the evidential test was met.  His client was at a party and following an argument she had assaulted her boyfriend.  The assault was captured by police bodycam footage.  She had also been interviewed without the benefit of free legal representation in the police station.

Admissions to the assault had been made in that interview, although she had gone on to say that her boyfriend had tried to prevent her leaving the party

Prosecution persuaded to withdraw the charge

Despite these admissions, Chris believed it was worth speaking with the prosecution about whether his client should be prosecuted.  He argued that the following points were relevant to the public interest:

  • there was an element of provocation.  Her boyfriend had engaged in a sex act with the hostess of the party in a hot tub.
  • this led to the altercation which was captured on the bodycam footage
  • none of the witnesses in the case, including the boyfriend, wanted to take matters further
  • her admissions were qualified as she had said that her boyfriend was unlawfully preventing her from leaving the party
  • she was young, of good character, and a conviction or caution would have harmed her career prospects.

Contact an Ilkeston legal aid solicitor

VHS Fletchers is the only firm offering criminal legal aid in Ilkeston.  We provide free advice and representation under the legal aid scheme at both Derby St Mary’s Wharf and the Nottingham Bridewell police stations.  Our lawyers also provide representation across the East Midlands and nationwide.

Should you face proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court we will provide you with full advice about how best to fund your case.  This will include assistance in completing a legal aid application where appropriate.

prosection not in public interest says ilkeston legal aid solicitorYou will not have to travel out of Ilkeston to give instructions to our local solicitors which we believe will be more convenient to you.

If you wish to instruct Chris Evans or one of our other lawyers at our Ilkeston office then please telephone 0115 9441233 or use the form below.






Monthly Archives: August 2017

Nottingham crime solicitor Louise Wright represented a particularly vulnerable client facing trial for shop theft.  Her efforts on behalf of her client secured a not guilty verdict.  The issues were lack of dishonesty and an intention to permanently deprive.

Louise’s client was charged with a shop theft from a supermarket. She had been detained at the scene and goods recovered from her.   The police interview took place on a voluntary basis a week later.  Our client chose to proceed without legal advice and representation.

intention to permanently deprive nottingham shop theft trial

Lack of Intention to Permanently Deprive

In that interview she stated that she had gone to the shop with her friend, the co-accused.  She waited outside for  her friend but  when friend came out she had bags of stolen items.  Our client was instructed to go into the store and come back with the rest of the goods she hadn’t managed to steal.   Unfortunately our client acted on this, although she felt she had no choice.

Louise met her client for the first time at court.  When she took initial instructions she was told that she had entered the store  with the intention of being caught.  This was so that she could get away from her friend who frightened her.  When time was taken to explore the issues further it became clear that her intention was not dishonest.

Defence of duress considered

Consideration was given to whether the legal defence of ‘duress’ was available.  Louise advised her client that such a defence would not succeed in this case.  As a result she would be better served by concentrating on the issues of dishonesty and a lack of intention to permanently deprive the shop of the items.

Shop theft trial

A not guilty plea was entered at the first hearing.  Thereafter a bad character application successfully made by the prosecution.  Louise’s client had been convicted of shop theft with the same co-accused in November 2016.  As a result the prosecution argued that it undermined her defence in relation to this charge.

Additionally, if our client was convicted, the new offence would place her in breach of a court order and at risk of prison sentence.

Louise’s client attended for trial.  Unfortunately, as she was an alcoholic, she arrived heavily under the influence of alcohol.  As a result, Louise made an application to adjourn the trial.  This was rejected by the court.

As a result, the trial proceeded.  Louise’s client had no alternative but to give evidence despite her condition.  Her case was, however, assisted by extra work that Louise had carried out on her behalf.

Evidence had been obtained from our client’s support worker.  This showed that over a period of time prior to this incident she had complained of being scared and threatened by her co-accused.  The prosecution agreed that this evidence could be read to the Magistrates

Not Guilty Verdict

During her closing speech to the Magistrates, Louise directed the bench to the relevant legislation.  She highlighted the evidence that was to be relevant to their decision.  After a lengthy deliberation the Magistrates’ found her client ‘not guilty’

Contact Nottingham crime solicitor Louise Wright

This case no doubt demonstrates the importance of instructing a solicitor who will dedicate their time to securing the best result for you.  This will be important to you, even if your case may not seem serious to others.

High quality advice and representation, including the gathering of all relevant evidence, will make a difference whether you are interviewed by the police or face court proceedings.

If you wish to instruct Louise to represent you either at court or the police station then please contact her on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively you can use the contact form below.


Monthly Archives: August 2017

Flexible Operating Hours Pilot

In a reply to a letter by Lord Justice Fulford regarding the Flexible Operating Court Hours pilots, Joe Egan, president of the Law Society, has expressed concern over the controversial scheme.

Financial Concerns

The President outlines the realities of working as a criminal defence solicitor.

“The financial impacts on hard-pressed solicitors’ firms are likely to be considerable. Fee-earners will still have to undertake other work outside any hearings in the pilot courts, such as duty attendances at the police station and work on other clients’ files. Unlike others working within the court system, with the possible exception of solicitors in the very largest criminal defence firms, they do not have the benefit of being able to work shift patterns.”

He stresses what HMCTS appears to ignore, the fact that work is necessary before and after all court hearings.

“In addition, when a case is listed for hearing, solicitors already work hours on that case that extend outside the normal court sitting hours. A solicitor would normally attend court at 9am for a hearing that starts at 10am, in order to deal with essential preparatory work, including speaking to the client, the prosecution, and any defence witnesses. Similarly there is always work to be done following the hearing: explaining the sentence to the client if necessary and undertaking follow-up paperwork. This means in practice that the proposed court hours are regularly extended by at least an hour at each end of the day, and will therefore extend even further into unsocial hours as a result of these pilots than the sitting times themselves would suggest.”

No Extra Money

Unsurprisingly, there will be no extra money from the Government to subsidise the pilots.  Firms will be expected to cover the cost themselves.
“The cost of paying overtime to the fee earners who will be working these additional hours will need to be covered by the firms themselves, given that the LAA has made it clear that there will be no additional payments for solicitors working in the pilot courts.”

This comes at a time when the profession is still awaiting a decision on whether there is to be a further 8.75% cut in police station and Magistrates fees, as well as dramatic cuts to Crown Court and Advocate fees.

Hopefully the intention of the flexible operating hours pilot is genuine, and at some point HMCTS will give proper weight to the concerns of practitioners.

The full letter can be found here:


flexible operating hours pilot

Monthly Archives: August 2017

Nottingham criminal duty solicitor Jameel Malik was recently instructed in a sentencing before a District Judge at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.  The case involved possession of a bladed article.

possession of a bladed article sentencing
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Possession of a Bladed Article

Jameel’s client was to be sentenced for possession of a bladed article.  There had been an argument with a shopkeeper.  This then led to our client arguing with his friend.

The second argument was witnessed by off duty police officers.  When approached by officers, Jameel’s client then ran away.  When detained and searched he was found to have a knife on him.

Breach of a Suspended Sentence

The offence put our client in breach of both a suspended sentence order and a conditional discharge.  Despite this, Jameel was able to persuade the Magistrates that a probation report ought to be ordered and the case was adjourned for one to be repaired.

Once the report had been prepared, Jameel was then able to argue that in this case it would not be just to activate the suspended sentence.  He put forward the following:

  • the suspended sentence order was imposed for a different type of offence
  • it had been imposed five months earlier
  • in that time, his client had been working well with the probation service

The District Judge, who had read the pre-sentence report, was persuaded by Jameel’s arguments.  The operation period in relation to the existing suspended sentence was extended by 6 months.

In relation to the offence of possession of a bladed article a new short suspended sentence was imposed.

No action was taken in relation to the conditional discharge.

Contact Nottingham Crime Solicitor Jameel Malik

possession of a bladed article sentencing Nottingham Magistrates
Nottingham crime solicitor Jameel Malik

Whether you face a police investigation or court proceedings you will want to instruct a solicitor who will seek the best result for you in your circumstances.  You can telephone Jameel on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively you can use the form below.



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