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Successful Crown Court Appeal of a Magistrates’ Court Conviction

crown court appeal legal aid solicitor
Senior Crown Court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier

Senior Crown Court litigator Sara Lees-Collier and solicitor-advocate Jon Hullis were recently instructed in a Crown Court appeal against conviction by the Magistrates’ Court.

Our client had been convicted after trial before the Magistrates of resisting a police officer in the execution of their duty.  Although she had only received a fine, this in combination with the prosecution costs meant that she had a substantial bill to pay at the conclusion of her case.

She was aggrieved with the outcome of the Magistrates’ Court trial.  She maintained that she was neither violent towards officers or attempted to resist arrest.  At the conclusion of the incident she had a broken arm.

The prosecution case

Police officers had attended an address to locate an offender.  Upon finding our client they discovered that she was subject to a warrant from the Magistrates’ Court for her immediate arrest in relation to road traffic offences.  Our client had already made arrangements with another police officer to surrender to that warrant.

When the police entered the property she was asleep in bed.  She had been drinking, and accepted that she was tired an annoyed by what was an unnecessary arrest bearing in mind her earlier conversation with the police.

The police maintained that she became abusive and then aggressive when the police attempted to arrest her.   It was alleged that she attempted to bite a female officer and then tried to resist arrest.  The police maintained that during their struggle to arrest her she had fallen off the bed and broken her arm.

Fault was said to lie with our client rather than the officers.

The reason for the Crown Court appeal

crown court appeal nottingham solicitor legal aidOur client’s version of events was very different.  She maintained that she had been handcuffed to one wrist while still on the bed.  A male officer had then taken old of the handcuffs while she was on t the bed.  He twisted her arm behind her back and pulled her off the bed with force.

As a result she fell to the floor breaking her arm.  The injury was extremely serious.  Her  arm was broken in three places.  She had to have an operation and metal plates were placed in her arm. At the time of her appeal she still had no feelings in her upper arm. Nerve damage had resulted and she remained on morphine and other medication.

The officer said to have caused the injury had been dismissed from the police for gross misconduct in relation to a separate incident.  He had given false statements in other cases. Despite that the prosecution still wanted to proceed with the appeal, but did not want to rely upon that officer at any appeal.

An automatic right to appeal

crown court appeal legal adviceOur client’s automatic right to appeal the conviction from the Magistrates’ Court to the Crown Court provided us with an opportunity to review whether additional evidence ought to be before the Crown Court on appeal.

At Jon’s suggestion, Sarah obtained a medical expert who prepared a report after liaison with our client’s treating consultant.  The report confirmed that the injury could not have been caused by a fall or slip off the bed.  There would have had to have been a twisting of her arm, consistent with her account, to cause the injury.  This increased the likelihood of her success with her Crown Court appeal.

Prosecution abandoned its opposition to the appeal

The report was served upon the Crown Prosecution Service who sensibly indicated that they would no longer be contesting the appeal.  The matter was listed before the Crown Court and the Magistrates’ Court conviction was overturned.

Contact us about your Crown Court Appeal

While there are always risks in pursuing a Crown Court appeal of a Magistrates’ Court conviction in terms of sentence and costs you will always want to seek our advice quickly.

The time limit for submitting any appeal is very short.  Legal Aid might be available, as it was in this case.

You can read more about how we will advise you in relation to any appeal here.

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