Suspended Sentence for Arson
Nottingham Solicitor Advocate Phil Plant and senior Crown Court litigator Laura Clarson worked together to place a vulnerable client in the best possible position to achieve a constructive suspended sentence rather than immediate prison.
The odds were stacked against their client in this particular case, however. Our client was before Nottingham Crown Court facing an allegation of conspiracy to commit arson. She, along with her mother, had made an agreement to set fire to their home address with the hope of being re-housed by the local authority.
Either offence on their own would usually attract a custodial sentence. The conspiracy was committed while on bail for the prison offence, and this aggravated the situation. Finally, she was also in breach of a further court order from 2015.
There were, of course, compelling reasons why our client would have become involved in such serious offending. Trouble had been brought to our client’s door through her involvement with an ex-partner. He had owed a debt, and in his absence attempts had been made to extract the money from our client.
As a result the attempt had been made to take the items into prison, but then damage had been caused to her and her mother’s address and threats had been made of more serious trouble to come.
The damage to their own home only came following reports of the crimes against them to the police. Unfortunately, in the absence of any firm evidence, the police had been unable to make arrests or protect the family. The conspiracy was then formed.
Understandably our client was distressed as to the potential outcomes of her case, including a prison sentence. It was extremely important that the time was taken to explain the strength of the evidence to her, including the benefit to her of a guilty plea if she had committed the offences, and how best her case could be prepared.
Upon taking instructions, Laura knew that it was often the case that the prosecution would not simply take a client’s word about threats received. Mitigation would have to be directed at achieving a suspended sentence. Through correspondence she made the prosecution investigate these facts with the police, who were able to confirm the background and the fact attempts had been made to seek police help prior to the arson.
The fact that the this background was accepted meant that at the sentencing hearing, when the client was represented by Phil, the Judge was able to hold back from an immediate prison sentence and instead impose a suspended sentence.
If you face proceedings before the Crown Court it is crucial that you seek the best representation available. Laura and Phil are part of a dedicated and specialist Crown Court litigation and advocacy team.
We will always give you the best advice on plea and then preparation for trial or sentence, including how best to fund your case.