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Helen Lees

nottingham criminal solicitor helen lees
Crime and Regulatory solicitor Helen Lees

Helen qualified as a Solicitor in 1995, joining VHS Fletchers in 2004 having already specialised for 11 years in criminal defence work at another local practice. She became a Duty Solicitor in 1996 in Nottingham and began to specialise in working with young people who fund themselves both in the police station and in the Youth Court.

She has experience of defending those charged with offences ranging from shop theft to murder, and is aims to provide exceptional client care whatever the charge may be. She is an able advocate and she enjoys the challenge of conducting trials.

In 2014, she branched out from her daily appearances in the Magistrates and Youth Court and joined the regulatory team at VHS Fletchers. She prosecutes for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on a national basis, in complex and serious cases. She is part of a well-regarded team who undertake this work for the HSE, and now appears at inquest hearings representing the HSE, as well as prosecutions in Magistrates and Crown Court. Her extensive experience in defending in the first part of her career, has proved invaluable in providing advice on procedure and evidence in regulatory prosecutions.

In the time that she has been in the regulatory department, Helen has undertaken a wide range of prosecutions including the prosecution of a company who failed to protect its employees during asbestos removal, to prosecutions of companies following serious and fatal accidents sustained at work, and prosecution of gas fitters who are not registered, and undertake defective work.


Nottingham Office:
111 Carrington Street,

Tel: 0115 9599550

Email: helen.lees@vhsfletchers.co.uk

R v C Historic Sexual Abuse. The client was a head teacher charged with historical abuse allegations. Advice and representation provided from the police station through to trial where the client was acquitted

R v DZ Attempted Murder. A vulnerable Chinese national who had been trafficked to the United Kingdom and who spoke no English was charged with an attack on a madam running a brothel. The Crown were persuaded to accept a lesser charge of s20 Wounding.

R v SS Conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The Client was interviewed unrepresented in the police station but diligent post charge investigations led to the interviews being ruled inadmissible due to the police’s actions.

R v K Murder. This client was extremely vulnerable due to his physical and learning difficulties combines with a lack of English. The case involved spending 4 days with him at the police station during the interviews, providing advice and support to him from that point through to sentencing.

R v A CCTV. A youth with no previous convictions was charged with robbery. Thorough preparation and analysis of the CCTV footage that had been available to the police from the outset showed that her client could not have committed the offence.

R v C Assault. The client was a care home worker of good character charged with assaulting a resident during an outing. He was found not guilty after trial.

R v N and S Regulatory defence. A company and an individual director were prosecuted for serious breaches of fire regulations with regard to a student lettings development. A custodial sentence for the Director was avoided.


Jon Hullis

Jon Hullis – Partner, Regulatory and Motoring Law Solicitor

Jon qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and was a Duty Solicitor from 1999. He is a Higher Courts Advocate who is qualified to represent his clients before the Crown Court and Court of Appeal.

As a result, Jon has substantial experience defending every type of criminal case, providing advice and representation in police stations, Magistrates’ and Crown Courts, and has appeared in several cases in the Court of Appeal and in the High Court.

In addition to his criminal defence cases, Jon works on Regulatory Law cases where he represents the Health and Safety Executive in prosecutions relating to breaches of all aspects of health and safety legislation throughout the country. He often represents the Health and Safety Executive at Coroner’s Inquests. He also represents clients in cases relating to firearms law.

He has extensive experience of defending clients charged with driving offences, from speeding to causing death by dangerous driving. Jon has represented professional drivers and those whose livelihoods depend on having a driving licence. Jon is an expert in the technical defences in cases such as drink and drug driving, including post-driving consumption and spiked drinks. He regularly represents clients in putting forward evidence of “exceptional hardship” to avoid disqualification for having twelve or more penalty points. Jon has successfully made legal arguments for the court to use its discretion not to impose mandatory driving disqualifications on the basis of “Special Reasons” for cases involving drink/drug driving, dangerous driving of Large Goods Vehicles and drink driving on e-scooters.

Jon’s forensic approach to cases means that his skills have also been successfully brought to bear on the more technical kinds of proceedings before the Magistrates’ Court. He has considerable success in defending the more complex cases including prosecutions for Dangerous Dogs and applications for Criminal Behaviour Orders.

Jon has provided in-house training to businesses who operate fleets of vehicles, and given talks to motoring groups and clubs.


Nottingham Office:
111 Carrington Street,

Tel: 0115 9599550

Email: jon.hullis@vhsfletchers.co.uk

Not guilty of failing to provide driver’s details. Business owner found not guilty of failing to provide driver’s details (section 172 Road Traffic Act 1988) after a single written demand from a police officer. Client gave evidence that he had returned the notice with the required information. Magistrates acquitted as they could not be sure that the reply had not been sent.

Representation of Estate Agent – 12 points but no driving ban. Busy and successful estate agent faced a penalty points ban for accumulating 12 penalty points within 3 years. Thorough preparation of evidence to successfully argue that no ban should be imposed due exceptional hardship based on the inevitable impact on the business and the consequent risk of staff redundancies.

Representation of nightclub Door Supervisor. Represented SIA-badged door supervisor charged with assaulting a customer who had been ejected from the nightclub. Video evidence showed that the doorman had not acted in self-defence and would have been convicted if he had a trial. Guilty plea entered and the case then turned on getting the best possible outcome for the client. Thankfully, the court agreed with the mitigation and character references and imposed a Conditional Discharge – the lowest sentence possible.

Possession of shotgun without certificate. Representation in the magistrates’ court of a young farmer whose shotgun certificate had been revoked. Due to an oversight, his change of address had not been notified, meaning the notification had been sent to his former address and he was unaware of the revocation and was therefore in possession of a shotgun without a certificate. Guilty plea and significant mitigation led to a small fine of £93 being imposed.

Representation of shotgun licence holder charged with transferring a shotgun to a non-licence holder and failing to notify the transfer. Successful representations to the prosecutor resulted in one charge being withdrawn. Powerful mitigation persuaded the Magistrates to impose a Conditional Discharge for the remaining offence.

Representation of a retired gunsmith following a police search warrant being executed at his home and the seizure of his collection of more than a hundred antique firearms. Represented at formal police interview under caution. Presentation of evidence and detailed expert submissions to the police led to the return of every seized firearm.

R v P. Court of Appeal. Appeal against sentence. Four year sentence reduced to two years on appeal.

R v W. Court of Appeal. Appeal against sentence. Sentence of 36 months for offence of unlawful wounding reduced to 28 months on appeal.

R v H. Court of Appeal. Appeal against sentence. Sentence of 4 years 8 months for drug trafficking reduced to 4 years on appeal.

R v E. Court of Appeal. Appeal against sentence. Successful appeal for offences of supplying Class A drugs. Sentence reduced from 3 years 4 months to 2 years 9 months.

R v J. Court of Appeal. Appeal against sentence. Successful appeal against prison sentence for historic sexual offence. Replaced with Community Order.

High Court Appeal by Case Stated. Appeal on a point of law against the conviction by Magistrates of client charged with domestic assault. Client was accused of a physical assault on his estranged wife. Following cross-examination of prosecution witnesses by Jon Hullis, Magistrates did not find the physical assault proved, but nevertheless went on to convict of a non-physical assault. Jon lodged an appeal and appeared at the High Court, resulting in the conviction being quashed.

Representation of e-scooter rider for “driving” with excess alcohol. Successful argument of Special Reasons with no driving ban imposed for a student who rode the council-hired e-scooter a short distance with no other vehicles around.

Representation of Large Goods Vehicle driver charged with dangerous driving after his vehicle overturned on an urban roundabout. Successful argument of Special Reasons with no driving ban imposed based on the unusual circumstances involving the operator not supplying appropriate load restraints and wrongly telling the driver that it was safe, with a threat of being sacked if he didn’t obey.

Successful representation of business owner to keep his driving licence. Representation of the owner of a chain of pharmacies who had accumulated 12 penalty points for speeding offences. Thorough preparation and gathering of evidence resulted in successful argument of “exceptional hardship” and the client being able to continue driving.

Speeding – Special Reasons found – No ban or points. Represented director of a security company who overtook an unmarked police car and was seen to drive at over 90 MPH in a 50 limit. Careful preparation of case and supporting evidence. Successful argument of Special Reasons as a result of client’s genuine fear for his safety from the occupants of another car after well documented threats to his life. Resulted in no ban, no penalty points, no fine and no prosecution costs.

VOSA Prosecution. Representing five clients who were HGV drivers accused of a conspiracy to falsify tachograph records resulting from alleged driving without tacho cards inserted.

Security Industry Authority prosecution. Clients were directors of a security company prosecuted by the SIA for using unlicensed security operatives.

Careless Driving. Client was a motorcyclist charged with careless driving after he was involved in a collision that left him with serious spinal injuries.

Dangerous Driving. Client was a type-1 diabetic driver charged with dangerous driving after he suffered a sudden hypoglycaemic episode while driving, resulting in numerous collisions on the M1 and adjoining roads and culminating in a serious collision with a building. A report was commissioned from the country’s leading expert on ‘hypoglycaemia unawareness’ resulting in the Crown Prosecution Service offering no evidence and the charge being dismissed.

Causing Death by Dangerous Driving. Client was a farmer investigated after a motorcyclist died following a collision with his vehicle as he made a right turn. Representation at investigation stage resulted in no charges being brought.

Represented off-duty police officer accused of using Disorderly Behaviour towards police officers. Trial involved cross-examination of police prosecution witnesses and detailed presentation of CCTV evidence that proved the client’s innocence. Client acquitted.

Representation of driver charged with causing the death of a motorcyclist by dangerous driving and whilst uninsured. Also, representation of her husband for permitting her to drive whilst uninsured.


Andrew Broome

Andrew qualified in 1990, and became a partner at Frisby and Co in the same year. He retired from Frisby & Co as Chairman and Head of Regulatory Crime in 2012, and has been employed by VHS Fletchers as a Consultant since March 2013.

During his career, Andrew has undertaken all forms of Criminal work, ranging from Homicide, offences against the person, and fraud. He is a qualified supervisor for Very High Cost Case work.

Firearms law specialist

Andrew Broome, firearms law specialist solicitor
Andrew Broome, firearms law specialist solicitor

Andrew has participated in all forms of shooting for over 30 years. His interest initially began with clay target shooting, progressing to handguns (when UK legal) and long-range rifle competitions both here and abroad.

He  has a particular interest in large bore shotguns. This led to him becoming a passionate and accomplished hand loader of ammunition, both for Section 1 and Section 2 firearms.

Andrew’s involvement in the shooting sports naturally led to him developing a nationally recognised specialism in all aspects of firearms law. Initially this was principally acting for individual certificate holders, but it soon developed  to a point where he received instructions from shooting clubs, Registered Firearms Dealers and International Firearms Dealers as his reputation and expertise became recognised.

In more recent times Andrew has been able to combine his Health and Safety and Regulatory knowledge to the benefit of all those engaged in the shooting industry so as to provide a single point of contact for legal compliance. In this capacity he frequently is invited to attend the Shot Show Las Vegas on behalf of clients as well as the IWA Exhibition in Nuremberg.

Areas of work covered but not limited to:

  • Acting for certificate holders in relation to appeals against refusal to grant and/or revoke firearms and shotgun certificates.
  • Handling licensing appeals on behalf of Registered Firearms Dealers including those seeking Registration.
  • Acting for Home Office approved (and independent) shooting clubs/establishments on licensing matters.
  • Acting for shooting establishments in relation to defending actions for noise nuisance including bringing appeals against the service of Noise Abatement Notices served under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
  • Advising  Registered firearms dealers on legal compliance on matters such as firearm manufacture, transport, testing and overnight storage including Section 5 weapons.
  • Advising firearms and pyrotechnic manufacturers on Regulatory compliance and workshop safety.
  • Advising shooting establishments on safe range operation and on health and safety issues relating to employee and public safety.
  • Advising non-UK based firearms manufacturers/distributors on UK firearms law and regulatory compliance.
  • Providing Audit services to RFD’s and manufacturers on legislative compliance and workshop safety.
  • Defending anyone charged with Criminal offences arising from the use, possession or involvement of firearms.

Andrew currently enjoys life membership of a number of shooting clubs in recognition of his services to the sport and its members. He currently sits as the Independent Legal Member to the Audit Committee of the Royal Armouries and has a special advisory role to the National Firearm Centre.  Andrew has recently accepted a position as Honorary Health and Safety Adviser to ASPI. the Association of Professional Shooting Instructors.  He has advised a number of relevant specialist bodies including the Institute of Explosive Engineers.

In 2020 Andrew was made a Freeman of the City of London and in 2021 admitted as a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers.

Health and Safety specialist

Andrew has conducted prosecution work for various government agencies and Local Authorities, stemming from his nationally recognised expertise in Health and Safety law. He has advised both the Police and Health and Safety Executive on a number of complex fatal accident investigations, many of which have gained considerable media attention. He has conducted joint HSE/Local Authority Prosecutions, and has also conducted similar joint prosecutions with the Environment Agency. He has represented the HSE on appeals to the Court of Appeal, and has a reputation for handling the most complex of cases.

Andrew regularly represents the Health and Safety Executive at Inquests, and at Notice appeals in the Employment Tribunal. His caseload has been vast and varied, having undertaken or overseen many hundreds of cases over a 24 year career.

He continues to undertake general and specialist criminal defence work for individuals and corporations against enforcing authorities for Regulatory criminal offences.


Ilkeston Office:
68 South Street,

Tel: 0115 9441233
Email: andrew.broome@vhsfletchers.co.uk

Midlands Electricity Board PLC. Death of worker at substation. Involved conducting the advocacy at a week long inquest cross-examining numerous technical experts and subsequently conducting the prosecution to final hearing.

Network Rail Infrastructure. Double rail fatality. Assisting the Railway Inspectorate involving devising a method of reconstruction requiring night time possession of the line and full cooperation with a number of duty-holders, ultimately drawing favourable judicial comment.

John Glen and Tremorfa Limited. Advised extensively within an investigation into the supplier and installer of an electric gate which sadly killed a child. Certain tests that were identified as appropriate limited possible defences available.

Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police. Prosecution arose from an injury sustained to a HGV examiner’s hand as a consequence of a failure to manage a training exercise properly. The case was one of the first of its kind following The Police (Health and Safety) Act 1997 and inevitably attracted significant media attention.

Telford Pressings Ltd. Health and Safety prosecution following traumatic amputation of limbs of worker in machinery Considerable media interest generated, primarily due to the injuries sustained, which formed a significant aspect of the case.

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