Tag Archives: drug offences

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.




Plea to drug offences results in suspended sentence

drug offences solcitor advocate legal representation
Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett

Derby solicitor advocate William Bennett and senior crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier worked together to secure a favourable sentence for their client before Nottingham Crown Court who faced serious drug offences.

Negotiation secured a favourable basis of plea and sentence.

Crown court trial for serious drug offences

Our client faced trial with four others for drug offences.  She was charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis.  A large amount of cannabis had been found in three houses and the boot of a car.  All defendants were connected by a family relationship.

drug offences cannabis growSpecifically, our client was said to have helped with the growing of the cannabis as well as the onward supply.  Although our client accepted growing cannabis she maintained that this was for her own use.  It was medicinal as she suffered from severe arthritis.  Sarah obtained a medical report from her doctor to back up this assertion.

Unfortunately, the prosecution was not prepared to accept what she had said.  They  maintained that she had a key role in what was a substantial conspiracy.  The case was listed for a ten day trial for all defendants including our client.

On the morning of trial there was movement on behalf of both our client and the prosecution.  She was prepared to accept involvement on the basis that her house had been used to grow the cannabis.  her route into cannabis use and this offending remained the same – her illness.

As a result of these negotiations the court was able to sentence our client far more leniently that would otherwise have been the case.  Despite her late plea, William persuaded the judge to impose a sentence of only four months but suspend it.  As a result, as long as our client complies with the community element of the order and does not commit further offences then she will not have to serve the sentence.

Basis of plea and sentencing guidelines

drug offences crown representation
Crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier

The basis upon which our clients are sentenced will always be very important.  This is particularly true in cases involving drug supply as the sentencing guidelines can be particularly unforgiving.

For example, whether you have a significant or leading role in a relatively small scale operation supplying cannabis can make a difference of three years to the starting point for sentence.

In this particular case, because of the guidelines, the starting point for the judge in considering sentence would have been twelve months.  Bearing in mind the lateness of the plea, William was able to persuade the judge to reduce the sentence dramatically to the sentence finally imposed.

Contact our specialist crown court team

We have Crown Court specialists based at all of our offices across the East Midlands.  Find your nearest office here.  We will provide you with the most cost effective way to fund your Crown Court representation, whether that is privately or through legal aid.

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VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively, you can contact us using the form below.