Chesterfield Magistrates Persuaded
Chesterfield crime solicitor David Gittins appeared before Chesterfield Magistrates and persuaded them to depart from sentencing guidelines.
His client faced allegations of two unprovoked assaults on elderly and vulnerable victims. On two separate occasions she had been in Chesterfield Town centre and approached elderly individuals.
On one occasion the victim was knocked to the floor. The second time the victim was punched to the face. The sentencing guidelines placed the assaults as unprovoked and sustained and involved vulnerable victims.
David’s instructions were that his client had committed the offences. At the time she was suffering from poor mental health. On arrest the Defendant had been admitted to a Psychiatric Unit for 3 weeks. This treatment allowed her release and interview by the police.
Bearing in mind the agreed mental health issues, it was disappointing that the case was charged. An alternative disposal might have been appropriate.
Prior to attending Court the Defendant instructed David to represent her. His experience with dealing with vulnerable defendants allowed her to feel at ease throughout the Court process.
The Prosecution outlined the case. Understandably the Magistrates indicated that they would need a Pre-Sentence report to assist with sentencing. The potential for a custodial sentence was being considered.
Rather than agree to this course of action, David made representations. He stressed the uniqueness of the case and suggested to the court that there were further options available.
David argued that all parties accepted the Defendant was suffering from poor mental health at the time of the incident. The health problems led his client to act as she had. It would be unfair to punish the defendant as if she were fully culpable for her actions.
The court was addressed on the guidelines. They are not inflexible and can be departed from. As a result of all of David’s representations the Court reflected upon its original indication.
The Chesterfield Magistrates chose to impose a conditional discharge. This is an unusual disposal for what were serious assaults. The character of the offender and the nature of the crime meant punishment would not be appropriate. No further action will be taken unless David’s client commits a further offence within the period of the discharge.
This case illustrates the value of instructing an experienced criminal practitioner to represent you if charged with a criminal offence, even if you are guilty. David’s experience meant that he has the confidence to make constructive suggestions to progress a case. This can achieve what may seem to be, at first glance, surprising outcomes.
Our client had the benefit of legal aid. This means that our advice and representation of her was free of charge to her. We will always investigate the best way to fund your case.
If you have a case before Chesterfield Magistrates please contact contact David at the Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or by email here. If you want to find a lawyer at your nearest office then please look here.