Clients benefit from our Newark advocate’s representation
Clients of Newark criminal advocate Nikki Carlisle recently enjoyed a successful week following her representation including representation of a defendant under a section 38 appointment.
Section 38 Appointment in domestic violence allegations
Nikki was appointed by the court to represent a defendant under section 38 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999. This procedure protects vulnerable witnesses from questioning by those said to have perpetrated offences against them.
In this case the person represented by Nikki faced allegations of common assault, criminal damage and resisting arrest.
The limitations of a section 38 appointment mean that Nikki was only appointed in relation to the allegations of common assault and criminal damage. These were the matters that the vulnerable witness would be giving evidence about.
Although Nikki owed a duty to the defendant he was not her client in the usual understanding of that term. As a result, Nikki’s involvement was limited.
- she could only ask questions of the single witness in relation to the two charges
- she was unable to question the officer about the remaining charge
- she did not assist the defendant in giving his evidence in chief through questionin
- the defendant did not have the benefit of her giving a closing address to the Magistrates.
Nikki was able to question the witness in some detail, exposing inconsistencies and parts of her account that simply didn’t make sense. No doubt in great part due to this questioning under the section 38 appointment he was found not guilty of both of these allegations.
The defendant was convicted of the allegation of resisting his arrest. It is impossible to speculate whether Nikki’s representation could have made a difference to that verdict as well.
This defendant had been given the opportunity to come into the office to provide instruction so that an application for legal aid could have been submitted. He did not keep that appointment. As a result our involvement was limited.
Had he applied for and been granted Magistrates’ Court legal aid then Nikki’s representation would have been free of charge to him and she could have undertaken all of the work in court set out above, as well as any other preparation needed by the case.
Acquittal following trial for domestic violence allegations
Later in the week, Nikki then represented a client under the Magistrates’ Court legal aid scheme. He faced two allegations of assault and one of theft, all within a domestic setting.
Again, Nikki’s questioning exposed important inconsistencies in the accounts that she had given to the police and the court. The assaults that she described did not agree with the injuries that she said she had received.
The case was further complicated by comments that Nikki’s client made while giving evidence that the prosecution argued amounting to an attack on the character of the witness. As a result an application was made to have previous convictions of our client taken into account when a decision was made as to his guilt. Nikki successfully argued that this evidence should not be admitted.
Following Nikki’s closing speech to the court her client was found not guilty of all three allegations.
Shop theft allegations discontinued prior to trial
Nikki was due to represent another client at trial under the legal aid scheme. It involved two allegations of shop-lifting. The issue in the case was whether there had been a lawful identification of her client as the person responsible for the offending.
She had raised in writing the alleged breaches of the code of conduct relating to identification. She repeated the requests for disclosure that would demonstrate that the identification was lawful or a concession that it was not.
In the event, she received a notice of discontinuance. If would perhaps be fair to infer that the the identification procedure had not been conducted in accordance with the law.
Of course, without the benefit of Nikki’s advice and representation the prosecution might not have been put on notice that there were irregularities with the identification procedure. The outcome for her client might have been very different.
Contact one of our criminal law specialists
If you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about a criminal offence then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.
If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case. Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.
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