Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Persuades Judge
Chesterfield crime solicitor Ben Strelley recently persuaded a District Judge that what he thought he had seen on CCTV was not correct and in doing so secured a non-custodial sentence for his client.
Ben was instructed to represent a mother and son who had travelled to Chesterfield to watch a football match. Both had been refused entry to the match so attended a local pub. Inside the pub a large fight erupted following damage being caused. Both of Ben’s clients were accused of using and threatening unlawful violence.
Ben’s clients had been represented by the us at the police station. As a result Ben knew that the incident was captured on CCTV. The Prosecution had failed to provide this to us in advance of the first hearing. Instead the disc was handed to Ben at the first hearing.
Adjournment in Interests of Justice
In order to be able to give full and proper consideration to the CCTV evidence Ben argued that his clients ought to be given the benefit of an adjournment. The allegations they faced included a suggestion that there had been kicking to victims of the violence whilst they were on the ground.
Courts are encouraged to refuse adjournments wherever possible, but Ben’s articulate application setting out how it would be in the interest of justice to adjourn ensured that the Court agreed.
Before the second hearing Ben viewed the CCTV at length before an appointment with his clients. The mother accepted the allegation in full but her son denied that he had kicked the victim. Ben, having seen the CCTV, agreed that it did not show kicking by him. As a result both clients returned to Court at the second hearing willing to enter guilty pleas on the basis of what was shown on the CCTV.
The Judge was Wrong
At Court the Judge, who viewed the CCTV, made it clear that he believed that the CCTV showed the son kicking. Whether he had or not was likely to be very important as if he had it was likely that he would receive a prison sentence.
Ben suggested to the District Judge that he was mistaken. His thorough preparation meant that he approached this issue from a position of strength as he knew he was right.
Ben went on to invite the Judge to watch the footage again so that he could have the Judge focus solely on his client. The Judge agreed and the footage was watched in Court. At the conclusion the Judge agreed with Ben. There was no kicking and he would be sentenced accordingly.
It is perhaps an indication of the strength of the advocate that Ben was prepared to argue that this Judge was simply wrong on the evidence. Ben did not hide from this potentially difficult situation. His client benefited in the end.
No Football Banning Order
The case proceeded and the Prosecution then asked the Court to consider Football Banning Orders for both involved. The Prosecution claimed that the violence was ‘football related’ and as such wished to prevent Ben’s clients from attending football matches for years to come. Ben, again was fully prepared for this.
Armed with recent case law, Ben argued that the matter was not ‘football violence’. The Judge by this time knew that Ben had a thorough grasp of the case. As he result he decided did not merit an order. As such no Football Banning Orders were imposed and the Ben’s clients were free to continue to attend football matches.
Both of our clients had the benefit of legal aid. This means that our advice and representation of him was free of charge to him. You can read more about the different types of funding here.
Contact a Chesterfield Crime Solicitor
If you are under investigation by the police or face court proceedings and wish to contact Chesterfield crime solicitor Ben Strelley then please telephone our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or email him here.