Tag Archives: conditional discharge

Discharge for allowing premises to be used for cultivation of cannabis

Nottingham crime solicitor Nick Walsh represented a client appearing before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court charged with permitting her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

No legal representation in police interview

She had not chosen to seek free and independent legal advice in her interview with the police.  She had made admissions to the offence and had told the police that she had been promised payment by those growing the cannabis.

At the time of the offence, Nick’s client was 19 years old and had never been in trouble with the police or the courts.

Cultivation of cannabis valued at £15 000

cultivation of cannabisThe prosecution valued the cannabis as having a resale value in small deals of £15 000.  The sentencing guidelines relevant to this offence of permitting her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis suggested that the starting point for the court when considering sentence was a prison sentence of 12 months.  Although our client could expect a reduction for the fact that she had not been in trouble before and because of her early admissions the court would still be considering custody.

Substantial personal mitigation

Nick spent the time needed to discover that his client had substantial personal mitigation.  She had been put under pressure to allow an ex partner to grow cannabis in the loft.  She believed that there were only five plants.  When she found out the true scale of the operation she became very frightened.  She had considered telling her dad.  However, she had been threatened that if she did both she and her child would be in danger.

She was also told that if the drugs were lost as a result of her actions then she would incur a drug debt to the value of the drugs.   Once the police had seized the drugs our client left her home and was homeless.  Despite this, she had gone on to complete her college course and found a job.

Powerful and persuasive advocacy

Through Nick’s persuasive advocacy, the court felt able to depart significantly from the sentencing guideline.  Instead of a prison sentence, or a suspended sentence order or community order, the court imposed a conditional discharge for two years.  This means that unless she commits a further offence during that period she will not be punished for allowing her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

Instruct a Nottingham criminal defence solicitor

cultivation of cannabis
Nottingham criminal defence solicitor Nick Walsh

If you know that you are to be interviewed by the police, either by appointment or following arrest, always make sure that you ask for a VHS Fletchers criminal lawyer to represent you.  Our advice is independent of the police and always free of charge.  You can read more about the benefits of having legal advice here.

Legal aid is available for your representation before both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court.  We will advise you on whether you will be entitled and if not investigate other ways of funding your case.

Contact us on 0115 9599550 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for police station advice.  Contact us during office hours for an appointment to see one of our criminal defence lawyers.

Alternatively, use the contact form below.



Crown Court trial avoided – conditional discharge instead

crown court trial drug offences
Crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier

Senior crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier instructed counsel Harry Hewitt from 5 St Andrews Hill Chambers in a case listed for Crown Court trial at Nottingham Crown Court.  Sarah’s client faced allegations of

  • possession of criminal property
  • abstracting electricity
  • production of cannabis, and
  • supply of cannabis.


The case for the prosecution

The cannabis had been found by police at his home address and was a relatively large amount – 8 ounces or 230 grams in what the police said were single ounce deals.  The police also found large plastic  containers that had traces of cannabis inside along with £2000 cash.  The electricity meter at the address had been bypassed.

Our client also owned a second address.  When this was searched by the police approximately 200 cannabis plants were found growing at the address.  The meter had been bypassed.  The police said that the manner of the bypass was the same as at the other address.  Two others were arrested at this address.

Finally, when our client’s phone was examined by the police there were a large number of photographs of cannabis plants being grown.

Our client’s defence at Crown Court Trial

Our client accepted possession of the cannabis and the abstraction of electricity at his home address.  He denied responsibility for any of the other offences and maintained the following:


  • the cannabis seized from his home address was his and was for personal use
  • he used about four to six ounces of cannabis per week as self-medication for pain relief
  • it was boiled it in a bain-marie and drank it with milk
  • this had been given to the police when they came to his home, along with the plastic tubs which he had used to store the cannabis in
  • the £2,000 cash was legitimate cash from his businesses from which he earned at least £200 000 per year.
  • he denied knowing that cannabis was being grown at his second address
  • he denied knowledge of the photos on his phone

crown court trial drug offencesIn order to prepare the case for trial, Sarah instructed expert witnesses Emmersons Associates to inspect the electricity meters to look for similarities.  The police has mislaid one of the meters so  the impact of any examination was limited.

Medical evidence was obtained outlining the various ailments that our client suffered from and which cannabis was said to alleviate.

Pleas accepted and conditional discharge followed

Once the case was fully prepared and the helpful evidence served on the prosecution, we reminded the prosecution that our client was offering pleas to simple possession of cannabis and abstracting electricity.  This time the pleas were accepted.

Our client was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge for both offences.

Confiscation proceedings avoided

The fact that we put the prosecution in a position where the offered pleas were accepted meant that our client avoided an almost inevitable prison sentence and confiscation proceedings.  Had be been convicted of any of the other offences then the prosecution would have examined his finances for the 6 years prior to the offence in order to try and confiscate assets that could not easily be explained.

Instruct an expert for your Crown Court trial

If you wish to instruct Sarah you can contact her on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively, we have specialist Crown Court trial lawyers at each of our offices across the East Midlands.  Find you nearest office here.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.




Nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor secures conditional discharge for assault

nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor VHS Fletchers
Nottingham crime solicitor Stacey Mighty

Derby criminal legal aid solicitor Stacey Mighty recently represented a client charged with an assault in a domestic setting.

It is sometimes the case that a person will make a complaint but then think better of it and not make a formal statement to the police.  In these circumstances it is perhaps more important that free legal advice is sought from a solicitor on the police station.

Witness changes mind about complaint

In this case the police had received a 999 call from our client’s girlfriend stating that she had been assaulted.  He had grabbed at her and scratched her face.

It appears that she simply wanted Stacey’s client taking away from the scene as once he had been arrested and taken to the police station she declined to make a statement.  The scratches had, however, been witnessed by the police.

No solicitor in interview

Our client was spoken to without a solicitor present in the police interview.  As a result he did not have the benefit of the free independent advice and assistance that a criminal legal aid solicitor could have provided.

He made admissions to the offence which meant that the prosecution did not need a statement from his partner in order to proceed with the case.  His position was aggravated by the fact that he had previous convictions for violence.

Early guilty plea

nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Stacey advised him to enter an early guilty plea to the charge.  She was able to persuade the Magistrates that the assault was minor in nature and did not lead to serious injury.  As a result, the court felt able to impose a conditional discharge in the circumstances of this case.

Our client was no doubt fortunate that when the matter came to court he chose to take advantage of the advice and representation that is available under the Magistrates’ Court legal aid scheme.  Stacey presented the case in a way that allowed the Magistrates’ to take a lenient view.

Instruct a criminal legal aid solicitor

nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor VHS FletchersWhether you face a police investigation or proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will want to instruct an expert to help you prepare and present your case.

Under our criminal legal aid contract our advice and representation at the police station will always be free of charge to you.

You can read a number of reasons to have our free and independent advice in police interview here.

If you are financially eligible the Legal Help scheme will allow us to undertake early preparation during the investigation stage, such as seeing witnesses or securing other evidence on your behalf.

The Magistrates’ Court legal aid scheme is means and merits tested.  If you are granted legal aid then our services will be free.

Legal aid will always be granted for Crown Court cases subject to means.  Dependent upon your circumstances, there may be a contribution from your income or capital.  If you are found not guilty of the charges then the money will be returned to you and your representation will have been free.

Please call Stacey at our Derby office on 01332 546818.  Alternatively use the contact form below if you wish to discuss your case.






Conditional Discharge for Public Disorder

Nottingham criminal solicitor advocate Phil Plant

Nottingham Solicitor Advocate Phil Plant secured a conditional discharge for his client who was originally charged with affray before Nottingham Crown Court.  Two co -accused faced the affray charge and charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.  The case was prepared by senior crown litigator Caine Ward.

Late Night Incident in Drink

The incident took place in a fast food restaurant in Nottingham.  Both sides of the incident had been drinking after a night out in the city centre.  Phil’s client was with his parents and his uncle.

In the restaurant words were exchanged with the co-accused.  The CCTV obtained by Phil showed that his client had been involved in the early part of the incident.

conditional discharge at Nottingham Crown Court
Nottingham Crown Court

As a result of his behaviour he was manhandled out of the shop by security staff.

In the meantime a melee broke out involving the co-defendants.   They assaulted our client’s father by punching him.  This led to him being knocked out by one co-accused and then whilst on the floor being stamped on by the other co-accused.

Phil’s client was still being restrained at his point, but made threats towards the co-defendants.

Plea to a Lesser Charge

The Crown accepted a plea from Phil’s client to an offence under s4 Public Order Act.  Phil negotiated this plea on the basis that our client had offered the threats after his father had been knocked out.

In relation to the incident as a whole, thankfully our client’s father made a full recovery.

Conditional Discharge Imposed

Following argument persuasive mitigation from Phil, the Recorder  was prepared to deal with his client separately from the two co-accused, ending the ordeal of court proceedings.  He felt able to take the very unusual step of imposing a 12 month conditional discharge.  If his client is in further trouble during the period of the discharge he can be re-sentenced for the original allegation and any fresh offence.  Otherwise the conviction is ‘spent’.

Contact Us

Nottingham Crown Court litigator Caine Ward

Often the prosecution and court need persuading to look at alleged offence realistically and sympathetically.  As a result you will need a persuasive specialist advocate.  If you wish to instruct us or seek initial advice then please telephone Phil or Caine on 0115 9599550 or email them here.