Tag Archives: basis of plea

Plea to drug offences results in suspended sentence

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Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett

Derby solicitor advocate William Bennett and senior crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier worked together to secure a favourable sentence for their client before Nottingham Crown Court who faced serious drug offences.

Negotiation secured a favourable basis of plea and sentence.

Crown court trial for serious drug offences

Our client faced trial with four others for drug offences.  She was charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis.  A large amount of cannabis had been found in three houses and the boot of a car.  All defendants were connected by a family relationship.

drug offences cannabis growSpecifically, our client was said to have helped with the growing of the cannabis as well as the onward supply.  Although our client accepted growing cannabis she maintained that this was for her own use.  It was medicinal as she suffered from severe arthritis.  Sarah obtained a medical report from her doctor to back up this assertion.

Unfortunately, the prosecution was not prepared to accept what she had said.  They  maintained that she had a key role in what was a substantial conspiracy.  The case was listed for a ten day trial for all defendants including our client.

On the morning of trial there was movement on behalf of both our client and the prosecution.  She was prepared to accept involvement on the basis that her house had been used to grow the cannabis.  her route into cannabis use and this offending remained the same – her illness.

As a result of these negotiations the court was able to sentence our client far more leniently that would otherwise have been the case.  Despite her late plea, William persuaded the judge to impose a sentence of only four months but suspend it.  As a result, as long as our client complies with the community element of the order and does not commit further offences then she will not have to serve the sentence.

Basis of plea and sentencing guidelines

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Crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier

The basis upon which our clients are sentenced will always be very important.  This is particularly true in cases involving drug supply as the sentencing guidelines can be particularly unforgiving.

For example, whether you have a significant or leading role in a relatively small scale operation supplying cannabis can make a difference of three years to the starting point for sentence.

In this particular case, because of the guidelines, the starting point for the judge in considering sentence would have been twelve months.  Bearing in mind the lateness of the plea, William was able to persuade the judge to reduce the sentence dramatically to the sentence finally imposed.

Contact our specialist crown court team

We have Crown Court specialists based at all of our offices across the East Midlands.  Find your nearest office here.  We will provide you with the most cost effective way to fund your Crown Court representation, whether that is privately or through legal aid.

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VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively, you can contact us using the form below.

Derby Youth Court solicitor deals with serious offences

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Derby crime solicitor Nick Wright

Experienced Derby Crime solicitor Nick Wright recently represented a vulnerable 12 year old client charged with a serious sexual offence involving another child.  He appeared before Derby Youth Court.

As a senior solicitor, Nick had the knowledge and ability to be able to deal with such a serious case that would, in the case of an adult, be before the Crown Court.

Case Remained in Derby Youth Court

Nick was able to support an argument that his client’s case remain before the Youth Court.  This was likely to mean that the proceedings were less formal and would be less stressful for both his client and any young witnesses who had to attend court.

A case of this sensitivity involved numerous meetings between Nick, the client and his family.  It was identified at an early stage that Nick’s client would benefit from an assessment by a child psychologist.  The report prepared confirmed that if the matter proceeded to trial Nick’s client would need the benefit of a trained and registered intermediary so that our client would be able to follow proceedings properly and give evidence, if necessary, to the best of his ability.

Child Psychologist and Registered Intermediary Instructed

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Derby Magistrates’ Court

As the case progressed and the assessments were completed, Nick continued to meet with the family and his client.  As Nick was able to explain the evidence to his client, his client’s account began to change.  By the end of the process it was clear that he was admitting some but not all of the offending alleged against him.

Nick was able to use his judgement to decide that owing to his client’s vulnerabilities this did not seem like a case where anyone would expect to see his client in custody.  As a result, it seemed likely that the prosecution would be prepared to proceed on the basis of what the client accepted.

Agreed Basis of Plea leads to Referral Order

As a result Nick negotiated with the prosecution pleas to a single offence, and on a basis of plea that reflected what his client accepted doing.  This was accepted by the prosecution and the District Judge managing the case.

Taking into account the reports obtained during the case, and with input from the Youth Offending Team,  the District Judge sitting at Derby Youth Court imposed a Referral Order for the offence.  This is an order designed to intervene in a young person’s life to try and ensure that there is no further offending.

Contact a Derby Criminal Solicitor

If you are being investigated by the police or face court proceedings then please contact Derby criminal defence lawyer Nick Wright on 01332 546818 or email him here.  If you face proceedings elsewhere then you can find your local office here.