Not Guilty Verdict for Client
Senior Crown Court Litigator Laura Clarson prepared a case for a not guilty verdict. Her client faced two allegations of dwelling house burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and simple taking of a vehicle without the owners consent. If found guilty he would have received at least 3 years in prison.
Taken at face value, the evidence would appear extremely strong. The client had been arrested having been traced to where he was hiding behind a car by a police dog.
The police had recovered two watches stolen from the burglary. This had been committed less than an hour before the client’s arrest. They were found next to a gate that Laura’s client had jumped over during the pursuit
Keys from a vehicle taken was found under the car our client was hiding behind. When searched he was also in possession of a mask and gloves.
The defence of the case was made that much more difficult by the fact that our client had a substantial record of previous convictions for burglary offence and vehicle taking.
Laura’s client was passionate in his denials of the allegation. He maintained that a second person was responsible for the offending rather than him. Presentation of this defence was potentially hampered by the fact that he failed to give this explanation at the police station when represented by another firm of solicitors.
Her preparation, on her client’s instructions, began to show how the prosecution case was perhaps not as strong as it first looked and a not guilty verdict could be secured.
The following points were usefully made:
- A second male was present although police officers could not agree about that fact
- The dog handler could have traced the second male had pursuing officers mentioned him
- Although there were eye witnesses, identification parades did not take place as Laura’ client did not match the descriptions
- Defence established that a second male had had these allegations ‘taken into considertation’ when sentenced earlier
Although emotional about what he said were the lies of the police as to what had happened on that day, Laura’s client gave clear and compelling evidence as to his lack of involvement. His account was tested by the prosecutor in robust cross examination but our client did not waver.
After a little over five hours the jury returned with a not guilty verdict. Laura’s client was understandably relieved, and pleased that Laura, his barrister and the jury gave his account the weight that it deserved.
Our client was represented by counsel Dan Bishop from 7 Bedford Row who gave clear and helpful tactical advice on how to best present the case to the jury. Decisions were made has to how best to cross-examine the police officers (gently or robustly) and whether to call as a witness the person who had admitted the offences upon sentence. Ultimately, the right decisions were made.
This case demonstrates the benefits of instructing a firm with a specialist Crown Court department. Laura spends all of her working day preparing the most serious cases that come before the court. This may be for trials or sentence, but her experience means that she will give each case the attention to detail that it needs.