Tag Archives: cross examination

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
Newark crime advocate Nikki Carlisle

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.

section 38 appointment
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

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.

section 38 appointmentThis 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.

section 38 appointmentThe witness also changed her account between making her first complaint and giving evidence in court and no satisfactory explanation was forthcoming.

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

section 38 appointmentNikki 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.

The advantages of such early advice legal advice can be found here.

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.

We have offices across the East Midlands.  You can find your most convenient office here.   Alternatively you can contact us using the form below.

Criminal damage
VHS Fletchers East Midlands offices

Carefully prepared cross examination leads to not guilty verdict

Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher secured a not guilty verdict for her client following careful cross examination of a witness.  He faced an allegation of common assault.  He was said to have punched his partner once to the face when drunk.  She had visible injuries – bruising and swelling to her cheek bone.

Preparation of cross examination

In order to present your best case at trial, an experienced advocate will plan how best to ask the questions.  For example, in this case, Lauren would have to question the witness to suggest that she was not telling the truth.  If a witness’s truthfulness is challenged immediately, it might be unlikely that they help an advocate with other information that they could give.

As a result, Lauren questioned the witness first to establish that a third person had been present during the incident.  The witness, in answer to questions, confirmed that this person was a mutual friend who would not favour one party over another.  They had no reason to lie that the witness could think of.

This information was important as the third person was to be called as a witness for the defence.

Lauren then moved on to more contentious issues.  She cross-examined the witness on the important differences between the account she gave in her statement and the evidence she had given to the court.

At one point the witness conceded that she had “tried to contact the police to change my statement as I knew it did not make sense”.  This was an important concession by the witness.

Self-Defence raised

Our client’s defence was that he had been acting in self-defence but the injury was accidental.  He maintained that he was being hit by both the complainant and her friend.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, if this was true, her friend had not given a statement to the police.

A statement had been taken by Lauren from the mutual friend who had been present.  Unfortunately the police had failed to seek accounts from anybody else who had witnessed the incident.

Closing speech dealt with the detail

In closing, Lauren was able to outline all of the problems and inconsistencies with the account that the witness had given under cross examination.  She was able to point to the consistent account given by her client and the third party.

After due consideration, the Magistrates found her client not guilty.

cross examination by criminal legal aid solicitor vhs fletchers

Lauren’s client took the time to thank her for the work that she had put into his case.  He wrote:

“Hi Lauren, I’m very happy with what happened today.  You are a good solicitor.  The way you handled the whole situation was good. Thank you again for helping me”

Contact Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher

cross examination not guilty verdict nottingham solicitor
Nottingham crime solicitor Lauren Fisher

Whether you face a police investigation or proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will wish to instruct a solicitor who will spend the time preparing your case.  This might involve making sure that advice on the law is correct.  If could be giving careful advice on plea or sentence.  In this case it involved preparing a structure for cross examination of a witness to ensure Lauren’s client had the best opportunity for a not guilty verdict.

If you want to contact Lauren to discuss a case then please call her on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively you can use the contact form below.


Not guilty verdict for client with benefit of free criminal legal aid

Mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor Tim Haines secured a not guilty verdict before the Magistrates’ court.  In doing so he preserved her good character.

mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court

Tim’s client faced a very emotive charge.  She had been a care assistance and faced an allegation of pushing a vulnerable person in her care who suffered from dementia.

The allegation was made by three purported eye-witnesses.  Although all three maintained that they had seen the incident each witness gave very different account about what had happened.  Tim used his expert cross-examination to make all of these inconsistencies obvious to the Magistrates hearing the trial.

Tim’s client maintained that she had been a victim of a ‘witch-hunt’ owing to a clash of personalities at her place of employment.  This argument was supported by the manner of her dismissal which appeared unfair.

Our client was of good character.  Tim called character evidence in support of this.  His client had fully answered questions in police interview and gave an account consistent with those answers.

In closing, Tim was able to contrast the inconsistencies between the prosecution witnesses with the consistent account of his client.  He made sure that the Magistrates’ properly directed themselves as to the relevance of his client’s good character.

The Magistrates’ found his client not guilty, taking into account all of the evidence that was heard, making specific reference to our client’s consistent version of events as opposed to the prosecution’s differing accounts.

The advice, preparation and representation that this client received, both in the police station and in court, was free of charge to her.

Contact a Mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor

If you face a criminal allegation you will want to instruct an expert criminal solicitor to represent you.  Where possible, you will also want the benefit of free legal aid.

Advice and representation will always be free of charge from VHS Fletchers where you are being spoken to by the police under caution.  This is true whether you are under arrest or speaking to the police voluntarily, and whether you are at the police station or another place such as your home.

If you face court proceedings we will always ensure that we have fully investigated your entitlement to criminal legal aid.  In the Magistrates’ Court this means that your representation will be free of charge.  In the Crown Court it might be free or there may be a financial contribution.

criminal legal aid mansfield
Mansfield criminal legal aid solicitor Tim Haines

Please telephone Tim on 01623 675816 if you know that the police wish to speak to you or you face court proceedings.  We provide 24 hour emergency advice and representation.  Alternatively you can use the form below.



Not guilty verdict in road rage trial at Nottingham

road rage trial nottingham criminal defence lawyer
Nottingham criminal solicitor Alex Chapman

Nottingham crime solicitor Alex Chapman represented a client at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court. The allegations arose out of an alleged road rage incident.

The case proceeded to trial and after witnesses had been called Alex addressed the Magistrates on the evidence.  Our client was found not guilty.

The Allegation

It was said to be a road rage incident.  The complainant and Alex’s client were said to have pulled over in their vehicles.  They then got out of their cars and confronted one another.

The complainant told the Court that our client punched him twice without provocation. Alex’s client denied punching the complainant in his police interview.  Instead he said that he did have to push him backwards to defend himself.  This was only after the complainant had tried to punch him first.

Command of the evidence allowed focused questions

Alex’s command of the evidence allowed him to cross-examined the complainant in detail.  In particular he asked him about several comments he had made to the police in his statement.  He had not repeated them in court.

For example, he had stated that when he got out of his car his ‘blood was up’.  He accepted that he had been swearing at our client.  The complainant also said that he practised mixed-martial-arts.  A belief had been expressed that he could have ‘wiped the floor’ with our client if he had wanted.

These comments were capable of raising a doubt as to who was the aggressor.  The Magistrates might be suspicious of the complainant’s motives for withholding this information.

The complainant’s wife gave evidence as well.  Under careful cross examination Alex brought out a number of discrepancies.  The effect of this was to cast substantial doubt over the Prosecution case.

Our clients was a victim of road rage

Alex’s client gave evidence. He explained that his wife, mother-in-law and two young children were present at the scene. The Court was told Court that the Complainant had been acting extremely aggressively.  The complainant swung a punch at him first so he had little choice but to push him away.

Our client’s wife also attended to give evidence,  Although extremely nervous, she gave an account entirely consistent with that of her husband.

Burden and standard of proof

In order to convict our client the Magistrates’ had to be sure of his guilt.  He did not have to prove anything.  Alex addressed the Magistrates in his closing speech.  Discrepancies in the Prosecution case were highlighted to the Court.  Alex reminded the bench of the level of aggression expressed by the complainant in his original police statement.

It appeared that the complainant had been unable to contain his own bravado when he had spoken to the police officer.  This revealed the truth of the incident.

In the circumstances Alex’s client had little reason to have punched the complainant without provocation as described.

On considering all of the evidence the Magistrates decided that Alex’s client was not guilty.

Free legal aid funding

Alex’s client was financially eligible for legal aid to ensure his free representation before the Magistrates’ Court.

Contact a Nottingham criminal defence lawyer

If you are under investigation by the police or face court proceedings then you will want to seek expert advice and representation in your case.

The trial here was at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.  Alex’s client lived in the Chesterfield area. Alex was able to see him at our Chesterfield office to prepare his case.  This prevented a lengthy, expensive and inconvenient journey for him and his family.  We will always seek to prepare your case in the most convenient manner for you.

If you wish to speak to one of our lawyers then please contact your nearest office.  Details are here.

Alternatively you can use the following contact form: