Mansfield crime solicitor Tim Haines represented a client for an allegation of production of cannabis recently. Although there were only 8 plants discovered, they were found in situ with a sophisticated hydroponic system, cash, mobile phones, scales and what the police alleged were dealer lists.
As is common, the police had sought a statement from a police expert who maintained that all of these items of evidence were important, and in combination he was sure that the client was involved in the commercial supply of cannabis.
If that was the case, the sentencing guidelines for production of cannabis would place the client as having a significant role in a category 3 offence. This would mean that the starting point on sentence would be 12 months custody, within a range of 6 months to 3 years.
Tim took full instructions from his client. These were that the client was a cannabis user himself, and although he accepted supply to others, this was only to a limited number of people who were his friends and also cannabis users.
These instructions were at odds with the Crown expert. As a result, there was a risk that the client, even on entering a guilty plea, would end up before the Crown Court for a hearing to decide the basis on which he would be sentenced, and for eventual sentence. This would add to the client’s understandable anxiety as the proceedings became protracted.
Tim’s experience and familiarity with such cases meant that he was able to engage in credible negotiations with the prosecutor. He was able to persuade the prosecution to disregard the conclusion of its own expert, and instead to proceed to sentence on the basis of his client’s account.
Carefully prepared mitigation built on the concession by the Crown and Tim was able to persuade the Magistrates that the case could be kept in their court. Instead of a custodial sentence, a community order with unpaid work was imposed. Confiscation proceedings were not pursued.
Tim was able to represent the client under the government funded legal aid scheme which means that his representation was free of charge to his client.
If you are to be interviewed by the police or face charges for drug related offences please contact your nearest office. Alternatively you can email us here. If you wish to speak to Tim directly then telephone 01623 675816 or email him here.