Tag Archives: crime solicitor

Bad Character Evidence Ignored by Mansfield Magistrates

bad character evidence mansfield crime solicitor
Mansfield criminal solicitor Tim Haines

Mansfield crime solicitor Tim Haines secured another not guilty verdict for a client before Mansfield Magistrates’ Court despite agreed bad character evidence.

His client faced an allegation of going equipped to steal.  He was stopped by the police walking home with a bag of tools.  He was also in possession of a mini motor bike that did not work.

The police chose to arrest him. A radio check on our client’s record revealed convictions for dishonesty and going equipped offences.

Tim’s client had a defence that he was advised to provide in interview.  He maintained that he had put his offending behind him. Instead he had been at a friend’s house trying to mend the mini motorbike.  He was on his way home when stopped by the police.

The police office went to the trouble of producing a map of the route taken.  This was intended to show that our client was not taking direct route. A statement had also been taken from a witness purporting to be an expert.  The statement contained details of what crimes the tools could have been used for.

A clear trial strategy

Tim used his substantial experience as a trial advocate to decide a trial strategy.  He was able to agree the prosecution evidence but comments that were simply opinion were removed by agreement. As a result, the Magistrates’ did not have the opportunity to hear ‘live’ evidence from a police officer.

Bad character evidence neutralised

The prosecution had also served an application to have bad character evidence before the Magistrates.  Again, Tim’s experience meant that he accepted that there was no realistic challenge to this application.  Instead, he planned how his client’s record could be used to his advantage.

Tim’s analysis of the record meant that he could point out to the Magistrates that his client had always pleaded guilty to crimes he had committed.   He took any potential sting out of the prosecution cross examination of his client by having his client give evidence about his character at the outset.  His client was then able to explain his past.

Strong closing speech

Tim was able to make a strong closing speech on behalf of his client because of his clear trial strategy.  The Magistrates, in their reasons for find Tim’s client not guilty, mentioned that they had not relied upon the bad character evidence.

Tim’s client was naturally delighted by the outcome in the case.

Contact a Mansfield Criminal Defence Solicitor

Whether you face investigation by the police, or court proceedings, then you will want to instruct Tim Haines.  He can be contacted on 01623 675816.  Alternatively you can used the contact form below.


Postal Requisition out of Time

derby criminal solicitor Nick Wright
Derby criminal defence solicitor Nick Wright

Derby crime solicitor Nick Wright recently represented a client who had been subject to a ‘postal requisition’ bringing him before Derby Magistrates’ Court for an allegation of Disorderly Conduct.

The system of postal requisition has replaced the old summons in order to commence court proceedings.  Strict time limits apply to many cases.

Case commenced by postal requisition

The allegation was one that perhaps ought to have been given priority by the police.  It involved an allegation from a local Member of Parliament who maintained that a vehicle had been driven past her while she was attending to her bins.  The driver, as the vehicle went by, was said to have shouted ‘I hope you die’, swearing and using additional abusive language.

postal requisition court summons Derby crime solicitor
Derby Magistrates’ Court

The complainant had the presence of mind to take the registration number of the vehicle as well as its description, and was able to describe the driver.

The police believed that the incident arose due to the MP’s political beliefs.

Admitted Presence

On arrest, Nick’s client admitted that he was the driver of the vehicle, accepted that he had been shouting, but denied that he was shouting at the MP.  He denied knowing she was on the road, and stated that the shouting was during an argument and the circumstances meant that he was not guilty of the offence.

Always read the small print

There was not an opportunity for the matter to be argued at trial.  As the charge could only be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court it was subject to a 6 month time limit to start proceedings.  In fact, proceedings were authorised nearly a month after this time limit expired.  As a result, once Nick identified this as an issue and spoke with the prosecutor, the prosecution had no alternative but to withdraw the charge.

Contact a Derby Criminal Defence Solicitor

If you are being investigated by the police or face court proceedings then you will need a solicitor to take the time to examine all of the evidence, including whether a postal requisition has been properly issued in time.

Nick Wright can be contacted by telephone on 01332 546818 or by email here.  Details of our Derby Office can be found here.

Chesterfield Solicitor Secures Client a Further Chance

chesterfield criminal defence solicitor kevin tomlinson
Chesterfield Crime Solicitor Kevin Tomlinson

Chesterfield criminal defence solicitor Kevin Tomlinson used all of his considerable experience and persuasive powers in a recent case. before Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court.

His client was now before the court for a new offence.  The allegation was one of drink driving.  She was subject to a suspended sentence imposed only six weeks earlier.  She faced obvious difficulties in keeping her liberty.

The Allegation

The charge was excess alcohol.  Her reading was 61 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millimetres of breath.  The legal limit is 35 micrograms.

Kevin’s client attracted attention to herself because of her car was stuck in mud on a steep grassy bank.  This was at the rear of a pub.  The engine was switched on and was revving.  The wheels were spinning. It appeared to the Officers that the car had been driven from the Pub carpark onto the grass bank and had then got stuck.

Without the suspended sentence being in place, it was likely that bearing in mind the low reading the penalty would be a fine and disqualification.  The recent imposition of the suspended sentenec meant that the court would immediately think of activating the sentence.  There would be a separate penalty for the new offence.

Kevin took full instructions from the client to put before the Court.  His intention was to convince the Magistrates’ that it would be unjust to send his client to prison in all of the circumstances.  His client had never been to prison so it was important that she instructed an experienced advocate who knew the type on information he needed to seek to ensure a favourable outcome.

After spending this time, Kevin then spoke with a representative of the probation service.  They told him that his client was progressing well on her suspended sentence order. This enabled Kevin to argue that she ought to receive a further opportunity to work with the probation service.

 The Sentence

chesterfield crime solicitor
Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court

As he had spent the time necessary to seek full instructions and information from third parties, Kevin was able to address the Magistrates at length about the reasons behind the recent offending.  He could share personal mitigation and the good progress that his Client was making with Probation. In conclusion he said it would be unjust to send her to prison and invited the Court to impose a sentence that enabled her to keep her freedom.

After listening to the mitigation the Magistrates agreed with Kevin and agreed it would be unjust. The Court chose to impose a simple financial penalty and disqualify the Defendant from driving for 18 months. However, as a direct result of Kevin’s mitigation, the Court also offered Kevin’s client the opportunity to undertake an additional driving awareness course to reduce her ban by 25%.

To mark the breach of Suspended Sentence order the Magistrates were prepared to extend the operational period of the order by 6 months.

Client Feedback

Kevin’s client was delighted with the outcome and relieved to not face a custodial sentence.  She took the time to complete our client care questionnaire and told us ‘Mr Kevin Tomlinson was great’.  She was very satisfied with the service that she had received and would be certain to recommend him to others in a similar position.


Our client had the benefit of legal aid.  This means that she was able to instruct Kevin as her criminal defence solicitor for free.

Contact Kevin Tomlinson – Criminal Defence Solicitor

If you face police investigation or court proceedings then you will need an experienced solicitor on your side.  Kevin can be contacted on 01246 283000 or by email here.

Criminal Solicitors, Client Care and Travel

We have 6 offices across the Midlands, staffed with criminal solicitors who are specialists in the field of criminal defence.

Whilst it will come as no surprise that these locations are situated close to local Police Stations and Courts, we will happily travel much further to represent clients accused of criminal acts as the below case shows.

crime solicitor chesterfield
Chesterfield Police Station Representative Rob Lowe

Recently, a client was arrested in the Chesterfield area, close towhere he lives.  He was taken to Chesterfield Police Station, facing an allegation of a serious assault.  He received advice and representation from Rob Lowe, an accredited police station representative based at our Chesterfield office.

The incident was alleged to have occurred in Skegness.   Our client was interviewed in Chesterfield before being released on police bail to return to the police station on a future occasion.

Chesterfield to Skegness

Unfortunately, although the investigation had begun in Chesterfield, Rob’s client was told that he would have to make his next appearance at Skegness police station.  This was a five hour round trip from his home.

chesterfield crime solicitors
Skegness Police Station

Our experience as criminal solicitors tells us that unfortunately the police are often not ready to proceed with cases when suspects are due to return on bail.  Knowing this, Rob tried to find out whether there was to be a re-interview or charge when his client returned to the police station, or whether a new date was to be fixed, or whether bail was to be cancelled.

Rob’s first priority was to prevent his client having a wasted journey.  Secondly he would be able to keep him up to date as to the progress of the investigation.

The officer was spoken to in advance.  He confirmed that Rob’s client was not required to attend and would provide a new date in due course.  When the next date was approaching, the same question had to be asked again – did our client need to attend?

This process was repeated on several occasions before Rob was informed that his client was to be re-interviewed and would need to go to Skegness. Although many firms would choose to use an agent to provide representation for a case so far away, Rob travelled with his client to Skegness.  This gave the client the advantage of an adviser who knew the case from the beginning.

Five Minute Police Interview

The interview could have been dealt with by the police in a more convenient way.  In the event it lasted less that five minutes.  The Client, however, was very grateful that not only had Rob told him that he must attend, but also that a member of VHS Fletchers Solicitors had travelled so far to continue to help him.

Our continued interest in his case was highlighted further as the solicitor for the co-accused in the case didn’t attend and hadn’t made arrangements for his client’s representation.

Contact one of our Criminal Solicitors

criminal solicitors nottingham derby chesterfield newark mansfield ilkeston
Our Offices

We recognise that your case will be extremely important to you. That is why, as criminal solicitors, we aim to provide our clients with continuity of representation. even where that involves travel as in this case.  We will also take steps to minimise the inconvenience and anxiety cause by police investigations.

If you require the assistance of a firm of criminal solicitors who will go that extra mile (or in this case 160 miles) please contact your nearest office.

If it is Rob Lowe you are after then please telephone 01246 283000 or email him here.

Nottingham Crown Court Sentence

Nottingham solicitor advocate Nick Walsh recently dealt with a sentence before Nottingham Crown Court.  Careful mitigation drew distinctions between his client and two others to ensure that he received a suspended sentence rather than an immediate prison sentence.

Nottingham Crown Court
Nottingham Crown Court

Struck With a Bottle

Nick’s client, along with others, had pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.   He was one of five people who had attended a house party.  Everyone present was drunk.

The behaviour of one of the group led to concerns from the victim that a female party-goer was to be assaulted.  As a result, the victim took hold of the aggressor.  He was then set upon by the group. During the assault he was punched and kicked and struck over the head with a bottle.

As a result of the assault he received a fractured jaw and had to undergo immediate surgery.  He was discharged from hospital two days later.

Negotiation of Lesser Charge

Only three of the five had been charged with offences.  They had originally been charged inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to case really serious injury.  Negotiation at the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing persuaded the prosecution to accept pleas to the lesser charge.

The probation service had prepared a pre-sentence report.  In that report, Nick’s client had accepted that he was the person who had struck the victim with the bottle.

Sentencing Guidelines

The sentencing guidelines relating to this offence can be found here.

One interpretation of the Guidelines would have placed this offence as one of greater harm, it being a sustained assault, and higher culpability as a weapon was used in the attack.  Had that been the case, the starting point for sentence for a ‘Category 1’ offence would have been three years imprisonment.

Further negotiation with the prosecutor and detailed representations to the Judge allowed the case to be treated as falling within Category 2 of the guideline.  This was due to the absence of pre-meditation.  As a result there was now a starting point of 18 months custody.

Careful Mitigation at Nottingham Crown Court

Although 17 at the time of the incident, Nick’s client was 18 at the point of sentence.  Nick was able to rely upon his client’s youth and more importantly what he had achieved in the ten months since the incident.  He had found work and broken off ties with his co-accused.  He also had compelling mitigation relating to his upbringing.

As a result, although it was Nick’s client who used a weapon in the incident the Judge at Nottingham Crown Court was able to distinguish between him and the others in the dock.  He received a sentence of 8 months suspended for 18 months with community requirements.   His co accused, however,  each received sentences 14 months’ immediate custody.

Contact Nick Walsh

Nick deals with clients at the police station, Magistrates’ and Crown Courts.  As a result he can provide you with continuity of representation.  If you wish to instruct Nick in any case then please telephone him on 0115 9599550 or email him here.


Flawed Facebook Identification

Chesterfield crime solicitor David Gittins recently defended a juvenile before Chesterfield Youth Court.  His client was charged with the serious offence of robbery based on a Facebook identification.

Notwithstanding a positive identification of his client by the victim, David’s meticulous flawed facebook identificationpreparation of the case led to successful representations to the prosecution.  These resulted in the Crown discontinued the case several weeks before the trial was due to start.

Continuity of Representation

David’s client had the advantage of having continuity of representation.  David provided advice and assistance to the client at Chesterfield Police station.  He then continued with this representation at court.

In brief the complainant told police that the client and another male had got out of a car, pushed and kicked him to the floor, and stole a packet of cigarettes. The complainant provided a description of those involved to the police.  He then  searched Facebook to see if he could recognise those involved. During this process he thought he recognised David’s client as one of the males involved.

Full Alibi Provided to Police

David attended the Police station and advised the client who denied the offence.  He stated that he was not there.  He went on to   provide a full alibi. This account was provided to the Police in the form of a written statement including the names of several witnesses who could support chesterfield police stationthe client’s account. One of the witnesses was a social worker.  This was an attempt to ensure that the police conducted a proper investigation.

To David’s surprise, Instead of speaking to these witnesses the police focused time and money on conducting a Video Identification Procedure (VIPER).  Perhaps unsurprisingly, his client was identified again by the same witness as having been involved in the offence.

As a result, he was charged with the offence of robbery on the basis of the Facebook Identification without the other witnesses being spoken to by the police.  This was despite David’s representations to the contrary.

Early Preparation

David kept conduct of the matter when the case reached Chesterfield Youth Court.  He immediately set about to obtain the evidence to support the client’s alibi and undermine the identification evidence. David took statements from defence witnesses including social workers and family members, as well as contacting other agencies to prove where the his client was at specific times.

David also correctly identified that there were obvious differences between the description of the robber given by the complainant and David’s client.

Having gathered this alibi evidence and considered the quality of the prosecution evidence, David drafted a list of admissions for the  trial. His intention was that the prosecution agree these prior to trial.

These included maps, distances between specific locations and photographs of the Identification procedures. These were agreed by the prosecution.

Weakness in the Facebook Identification

Once they had been agreed, David wrote a detailed letter to the Prosecution outlining all of the difficulties they had with their case , particularly in the light of the agreed admissions and the alibi witnesses.  Upon further consideration of the case following those representations the Prosecution accepted David’s facebook-thumbpoints, including the weaknesses in the Facebook identification.  The cases was discontinued without the need for a trial.

This case demonstrates how a diligent and focused criminal law specialist can make a real difference to the direction of a case.  Early preparation put pressure on the prosecution to review the case in our client’s favour.  Although we must have been confident of winning the case at trial, David’s approach removed all risk from any court hearing.

Contact David Gittins

Should you wish to contact Chesterfield crime solicitor David Gittins to discuss a new or ongoing case please telephone him at our Chesterfield office 01246 283000 or email him here.

Mobile Phone Trial Success

Chesterfield crime solicitor David Gittins travelled to Rotherham Magistrates’ Court to represent a local client facing an allegation of using their mobile phone whilst driving.

This offence has recently been in the media as the proposal is the raise the number of penalty points on conviction to six.  Such a conviction would particularly effect new drivers, who would face revocation of their licence upon conviction.

The Allegation
mobile phone offence Rotherham Magistrates
Rotherham Magistrates’ Court

The allegation in this case was that David’s client had been seen by a police officer driving a work van whilst using his mobile phone.  Specifically he was seen holding it to his ear. Our client was stopped at the roadside and denied the offence.  He offered his phone to the Police to check.  They refused to do so.

The driver received a summons. This ordered him to appear before Rotherham Magistrates Court.

David’s client represented himself to start with.  He pleaded ‘not guilty’.  He told the court that he had not been using his phone. The court advised him to get evidence of this.

Anyone who has tried to obtain all outgoing and incoming call records will know that most major network providers will refuse to release them without a witness summons.   This is issued by the court.  Our client was unaware of this and when facing difficulties securing the necessary evidence he contacted David.

mobile phone offence

David immediately contacted the phone provider and obtained the relevant information for all outgoing calls.  For incoming calls and all data usage, David successfully made an application to the Court for a Witness Summons.   This secured the release of the information.

The Evidence

David then served this evidence on the Prosecution.  It supported what his client had said.  The phone was not in use at the time.  He asked that the prosecution review the case.

Unfortunately for the client and the court, the prosecution maintained it did not have time to properly review the case before trial.  Instead,  it suggested the case be adjourned. The case had been before the court for some months.  David’s client was understandably anxious.  David objected to the prosecution application.

As a result all parties attended Court.  David repeated his representations to the prosecution.  After a short wait, and no doubt interesting conversations between the CPS lawyer and police witness, the prosecution offered no evidence.  The client had the benefit of a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

This case shows the benefits of instructing an experienced Solicitor.  David was able to make an early decision about what to do to obtain the mobile phone records.  All preparation was directed to show that his client was not guilty of the offence.

Although common sense would say that some things, like your own mobile phone records, should be simple to obtain, this often is not the case.  Unfortunately, court procedure may mean that you  seem require the need of expert legal knowledge.


Legal aid is often not available in such cases.  Here, David was instructed privately.  An affordable fixed fee was agreed to conduct the trial.  Information about funding can be found here.

As our client won his case, David was able to apply for costs from central funds which will mean that the client will have his costs refunded.

Contact Us

Should you wish to contact Chesterfield crime solicitor David Gittins to discuss an offence involving a mobile phone, please telephone him at our Chesterfield office on 01246 283000 or email him here.

If you wish to speak to one of our other lawyers at your local office then please contact us or email us here.