Derby Solicitor Avoids Newton Hearing
Derby Solicitor Advocate William Bennett recently dealt with a client facing an emotive offence of theft from her elderly mother who was a resident in a care home.
The allegation was aggravated by the fact that it was said to have taken place over a period of many months and William’s client was in a position of trust in relation to her mother’s money.
Although William’s client accepted some thefts, she did not accept the full amount of £16 000 alleged by the prosecution. She was remorseful, and also upset which made it difficult to obtain the detailed instructions needed to set out clearly to the prosecution the extent of the admitted offending.
Over 160 transactions had to be analysed and an explanation sought from our client. She had to be pressed to attempt to provide an explanation for each and every item of expenditure in order that the prosecution could be persuaded that she ought to be sentenced on the basis of far more limited dishonesty.
The sentencing guidelines that would be applied in the case can be found here – General Theft Guidelines. The offending fell into the category of highest culpability, Whether the value was £16000 or £6000 would have a very real effect on likely sentence, the guidelines suggesting a difference of a year between the differing starting points.
Through diligent preparation and negotiation with the Crown Prosecution Service William was able to persuade the reviewing lawyer that it would be appropriate for the court to proceed on the basis set out by his client. Again, the fact that the matter proceeded by agreement was important for the client as she could have faced a longer sentence had she argued over the value of the thefts and lost. As a result William was able to eliminate an element of risk.
Although a Derby solicitor, William was able to offer continuity of representation when, owing to the real risk of a custodial sentence, the case was transferred to Birmingham Crown Court as this court was more suited to coping with the client’s own poor physical health if she had to go to prison.
Ultimately William’s sensitive and careful mitigation persuaded the court that an immediate prison sentence could be avoided. Instead, his client was dealt with by was of a suspended sentence including requirements of alcohol treatment and a curfew as a direct alternative to custody.
Understandably, a client who would have been very vulnerable herself within a custodial setting, was very pleased with the final outcome. She was placed in a position where she had an opportunity to rebuild the damage that she had inflicted on her own and her mother’s life.
William’s client had the benefit of legal aid covering her representation before the Magistrates’ and Crown Court, and the preparation needed in her case to secure this result, which also ensured that doctors’ fees were paid to make sure that medical evidence was before the sentencing court.
We will always advise you on the most cost effective way of funding your case. If you wish to discuss a case with Derby Solicitor William Bennett or one of our other lawyers please contact us at your nearest office. Alternatively you can email William directly here.