Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett secured a not guilty verdict for his client before Derby Crown Court. He successfully challenged expert evidence so a jury was unable to convict.
William’s client faced an allegation of possessing a Class A drug with intent to supply. The drug was cocaine so had he been convicted after trial he faced a likely sentence of four and a half years in prison.
Expert evidence scrutinised
The prosecution case was based almost entirely on the opinions of a police officer because the evidence needed interpreting for the jury. He had undertaken an ‘expert witness’ course to become an witness who could give expert evidence in drugs cases before the Crown Court. Cross-examination, however, established that he was far from expert.
In summary, his evidence was that the only explanation for our client to be in possession of approximately 6 grams of cocaine was that he intended to supply it. He relied on the purity of the drug found as well as a suggestion that cutting agents were found at our client’s place of work.
The purported “expert” was cross-examined robustly by William Bennett, however. During this detailed questioning the witness conceded that he had personally dealt with seizures of cocaine in powder form on only ten previous occasions. He further accepted that a “regular user” of cocaine may use up to 2g of cocaine in a weekend.
These concessions undermined the contention that the witness was any form of expert in the supply of cocaine, and supported the reasonable possibility that the drug was for personal use rather than supply.
Not guilty verdict
As a result the jury took only half an hour to find William’s client not guilty of the charge. Because of this he fell to be sentenced for just possession of the drug.
The case shows the importance of choosing an experienced advocate. They can scrutinise and challenge effectively the opinions of purported experts so that your best case can be put. Such a challenge is often particularly important where expert evidence is relied on in drugs cases.
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William Bennett can be contacted on 01332 546818 but alternatively you can email him using the form below.