Tag Archives: Nottingham

Farewell to crime solicitor Finbarr Hennessy

Thursday 31 January 2019 was a notable date for the Nottingham legal community as local defence practitioner Finbarr Hennessy  retired from practice.

Keeping a low profile

Although having spoken of a wish to retire for some time, his boundless enthusiasm for the job and wish to continue to provide representation for his longstanding client base meant that he continued to delay the inevitable.

In typical fashion, Finbarr sought to keep a low profile, and sought to avoid the (usually) inevitable collection, cards and farewell do.  This he managed successfully.

Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Some thoughts on the changes to the job

Finbarr offered some thoughts on his departure from a job that he still loved:

“It seemed weird walking out of Nottingham Magistrates’ Court this afternoon after spending 23 years of my life in that building.

Video killed the radio star. Technology killed this out-dated solicitor.”

He confessed that he had “struggled since the day that speedy summary justice was introduced at the Magistrates’ Courts”, offering the view that “justice has gone out of the window to be replaced by “progress” and statistics. To get an adjournment is harder than keeping somebody out of prison.”

Additionally he identified that his “lack of technical expertise means that I am now less efficient than I was in 1995.”

Finbarr’s intention had been to ‘go out with a bang’, perhaps collapsing when bail was refused by the Magistrates or when a client had been wrongly sent to prison.  Unfortunately for him “I have had good results recently, so my blood pressure has remained stable.”

His final assessment was “We are all replaceable. I only work 14 hours a week and I know that my position will easily be covered.”

Nottingham Bridewell police station

No doubt his clients will beg to differ, and will recognise the lengths that he went to on their behalf.  Clients and their families had his mobile number and he was effectively on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If families were distressed by the situation that, particularly, youth clients had found themselves in he would visit families at home in his spare time to try and help.

Client feedback on Finbarr Hennessy

Finbarr was described in glowing terms by any number of clients – ‘The solicitor I have is very good at his job’, ‘A1 Service thank you’ and ‘Finbarr Hennessy is an excellent solicitor and needs no improvement’.

It was all the more pleasing to note that following his move to VHS Fletchers when Campion & Co solicitors stopped undertaking criminal work, his clients still found their way to us and continued to receive the high level of service that they would expect.

Here a Crown prosecutor offers an opinion on his integrity:

finbarr hennessy

Thoughts from colleagues

Following news of Finbarr’s retirement, partner Jon Hullis said:

“You will always be very fondly remembered by everyone who has had the pleasure to work with you, as well as everyone at court, and especially your clients. You are genuinely the nicest person, and this is proved by the fact that even the police like you.”

Andy Siddall, partner, told Finbarr:

“Some people cannot be replaced.

Your dedication and commitment to your clients should be something all young Solicitors (and indeed some older ones) aspire to. In this dull digital age you will be greatly missed and never forgotten.”

Solicitor advocate William Bennett offered:

“You are and always were a diamond.  I wish you weren’t retiring but as you are I wish you well. Rest assured your position will never be “easily covered”.  It is hard to cover one of life’s true one-offs. I am  grateful to have worked with you.”

A final thought is from partner Nick Walsh:

“Your gift is that you care about people and your colleagues and clients will miss you because of it. Enjoy retirement, it is truly well deserved.”

We will try to continue to provide Finbarr’s clients with the standard of service that they have come to expect, although they will agree that he is irreplaceable.

Nottingham Crown Court

Sexsomnia Defence Successful


Senior Crown Court Litigator Lisa Sawyer

Senior Crown Court Litigator Lisa Sawyer based at our Nottingham office, helped achieve trial success after exploring a rather obscure and developing area of defence, sexsomnia.

Her client was charged with two counts of rape and multiple sexual assaults. He denied the offences, putting forward a defence of ‘sexsomnia’ or ‘sexual behaviour in sleep’.

Expert in Sexsomnia

The case involved Lisa instructing perhaps the leading expert in the field, Dr Chris Idzikowski BSc PhD CPsychol FBPsS.  He is President of the Sleep Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine and Director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service.

sexomniaThe area of sleep research and sleep medicine that relate to sexsomnia have only evolved recently, and as a result there are no generally accepted methods to investigate whether sleep-related behaviours have lead to criminal charges.  The preparation of this case involved the client as an inpatient for two nights for a study of his sleep patterns.  The expert was then able to consider:

  • whether the client was capable of involuntary behaviour during sleep
  • to review the behaviour alleged and see whether it could have occurred whilst the person was asleep.

Research has shown that many forms of sexual behaviour can occur whilst an individual is asleep.  Generally the behaviour is simple and rarely includes more complex acts such as intercourse.  In this case the client was said to have committed a rape.

For a proper opinion to be given evidence has to be gained from a number of additional sources – usually historical, such as from a partner, previous partners, friend and relatives.  The key witnesses, however, were the client and his then partner.

Favourable conclusion

Dr Idzikowski was able to conclude that the client had a predisposition to involuntary behaviour during sleep, and that factors existing in the client’s personal life at the time may well have led to the behaviour.  The partner being present was a sufficient trigger for the behaviour, and the timing and behaviour was consistent with ‘parasomniac behaviour’, behaviour whilst asleep, or sexsomnia.

The Crown Prosecution Service attempted to counter this expert evidence with its own doctor flown in from America to give evidence.

Specialist advocacy from independent counsel

sexomnia crown court trial
Nottingham Crown Court

Following careful handling of the case by specialist advocate Gary Summer of 9 Bedford Row  the client was found not guilty.

The quality of representation may be of particular importance in rape cases as recent research has shown that many jurors have decided on guilt before they reach the retiring room.

Representation under the Crown Court legal aid

The client had the additional benefit of being in receipt of legal aid which meant that ultimately, because he was successful at trial, the preparation and representation was free of charge to him.  This was of particular importance as the expert fees necessary to prepare the case in his behalf were considerable.

Contact a criminal defence specialist

Sleepwalking and automatism

Sleepwalking cases are important and sensitive cases to deal with. Our specialist lawyers can advise you on whether you have a defence, and help you put that defence forward, advising on prospects of success and instructing experts to help along the way.

As a result, 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 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.

You can read more about the issue of automatism here.

 You can find your nearest office here.

VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively you can use the contact form below:



Continue reading Sexsomnia Defence Successful

Football Banning Orders – When are they made?

What are football banning orders?

football banning ordersFootball Banning Orders are a type of court order, usually made after a conviction for a ‘football related’ offence. They can last between three and ten years and will include one or more conditions which you must obey. Breach of a Football Banning Order is a criminal offence punishable by up to six months in prison.

How often are football banning orders imposed?

As at August 2018 there were 1822 Football Banning Orders in force.  This represents a fall of 6% over the previous season.

football banning order solicitor460 Football Banning Orders were imposed last season, down 57 from the previous year.

The good news for fans is that there were only 3.5 arrests for every 100 000 people who attended football matches.  Again, this is a reduction on the previous year.  Supporters of Championship clubs continued to account for the largest proportion of banning orders, with 34% of the total, or 621 orders.

What terms can be included in Football Banning Orders?

The conditions of football banning orders can include:

  • Preventing you from attending football matches at home or abroad;
  • Preventing you from going to a specific place or area for a period beginning two hours before a match starts until two hours after it finishes. In some cases this can include public transport or entire towns.
  • Surrendering your passport before international football matches.
  • Reporting at a local police station.

Exactly what conditions are made may vary depending on the facts of each case, however many Courts have ‘boilerplate’ Banning Orders- i.e. a pre-set list of ‘standard’ conditions which appear on most Orders that they make.

How could I be subject to a Football Banning Order?

Football Banning Orders were originally designed to prevent football hooliganism in the late 1980s but many supporters now finding themselves facing them, sometimes after conviction for minor offences or even where they haven’t been convicted of any offence at all. There are two possible ways to end up with one:

a)   After Conviction

The court must make a Football Banning Order if you are convicted of a ‘relevant offence’ and it is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that making a banning order would help to prevent violence or disorder. It is for the Prosecution to show that an order should be made because the offence was, in some way, football related. Relevant offences include:

  • Possession of alcohol or being drunk while entering/trying to enter ground;
  • Disorderly behaviour;
  • Any offence involving the use or threat of violence towards another person or property;
  • Any offence involving the use, carrying or possession of an offensive weapon;
  • Drunk and disorderly;
  • Driving or being in charge of a vehicle with excess alcohol, or driving or being in charge of a vehicle while unfit through drink or drugs.
  • Throwing of missiles at a football match;
  • Indecent or racialist chanting;
  • Going onto the playing area;
  • Unauthorised sale of tickets.

b)   ‘On Complaint’

football banning order solicitorThe police can also apply for a Football Banning Order if an officer believes that you have (at any time) caused or contributed to any violence or disorder in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. These applications are usually based on police intelligence reports from football games. Many fans returning from EURO 2016 found themselves facing these applications despite not being charged or convicted in connection with any alleged behaviour in France.

If the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe it would help to prevent future football-related violence or disorder, they will make a Football Banning Order.

Can I fight it?

Yes.  Just because an application is made does not mean that it will be successful.  We will provide you with advice  so that you can resist the imposition of a Football Banning Order.

I already have a Football Banning Order. Can I apply to have it removed early?

Yes. You can apply to the court after two thirds of the order length has been completed.  For example, this could be after two years of three year order. The court will consider your character, your conduct since the Order was made, the nature of the offence or conduct which led to it and any other circumstances which appear to be relevant.

Can I get Legal Aid?

football banning order legal aidIf you qualify financially, yes.

If you do not qualify for means tested criminal Legal Aid we can provide you with an affordable fixed quote.  This is so you will know in advance exactly how much our fees will be.

Contact an expert solicitor for advice about a football banning order

If you face investigation by the police, or proceedings before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court for a football related offence then you will wish to instruct a specialist solicitor.   They will be able to give you the advice and representation so that you can secure the best outcome from you.

As a result, if you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about an offence then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.

The advantages of such early 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.

 You can find your nearest office here.

grievous bodily harm
VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively you can use the contact form below:


The Obscure Law Governing Importation of a Childlike Sex Doll

Importation of Indecent or Obscene Articles – a Childlike Sex Doll?

There has been a surge of people charged with importation of indecent or obscene articles, contrary to the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and the Customs Consolidation Act 1876.

On the face of it that might seem strange. Why are people suddenly being arrested and sent to prison for an offence under a statute that is 141 years old?

A Gap in the Law?

The answer is that the Crown Prosecution Service are using the old offence to address a very modern gap in the law. The surge in cases follows a similar increase in seizures of childlike sex dolls. Border Force officers have seized 123 such objects since March 2016. This figure would increase if the number of seizures by police forces were also known.

nottingham criminal solicitor childlike sex doll
Childlike sex doll seized by Cheshire Constabulary

The ‘gap in the law’ arises because it is not illegal to possess a childlike sex doll.

The Crown Prosecution Service has moved to address this. In June 2017, in the ‘first case of its kind in the UK’, a man was convicted of importing an indecent object. He had purchased a doll online, it was shipped from Hong Kong but was then seized en route to him at East Midlands Airport.

VHS Fletchers are no strangers to this development having also  represented clients charged with an offence in similar circumstances.

The Law

child like sex doll solicitors adviceThe offence itself is contrary to section 50(3) Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. This states that it is an offence for a person to import any goods contrary to any prohibition, with the intention to evade that prohibition.

It is what is called an either-way offence, so can be dealt with in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. It carries a maximum sentence of seven years at the Crown Court.

Where does it say that a childlike sex doll is prohibited?

Section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 says:

“The goods enumerated and described in the following table of prohibitions and restrictions inwards are hereby prohibited to be imported or brought into the United Kingdom.”

The ‘table of prohibition’ is as follows:

“Indecent or obscene prints, paintings, photographs, books, cards, lithographic or other engravings, or any other indecent or obscene articles.”

It is for the Prosecution to prove that the Defendant either imported the item or was concerned in its importation.

The point as to whether or not a childlike sex doll is an obscene or indecent item was challenged at Canterbury Crown Court.

In that case, lawyers for the defendant had argued the doll was not covered by the law.  His Honour Judge James dismissed the argument, saying “any right-thinking person” would find the doll obscene.  This decision may raise the interesting question of where we draw the line regarding obscenity. However, for the purposes of this specific offence (i.e. childlike sex dolls) it is difficulty to disagree with the Judge in that case.

Some further information about what constitutes an obscene article can be found here.

The prosecution has issued some guidance on the considerations prior to bringing proceedings.  These can be found here.

Sentencing Guidelines

There are no sentencing guidelines for this offence. The maximum sentence is seven years. The reported cases so far seem to be attracting sentences of around two years, although clearly each case must be judged on its individual facts.

Further Thoughts

As it stands, possession of a childlike sex doll on its own is not an offence. There must be proof of importation. If the item was manufactured or warehoused in the UK prior to purchase, the purchaser has not committed an offence.

Considering the level of press interest that this offence has now received, we might have expected Parliament to address this issue with legislation by now.  Of course, other more pressing issues are tying up the time of Parliament.

An alternative view, however, is presented by Juliet Grayson, chair of the Specialist Treatment Organization for the Prevention of Sexual Offending (StopSO). StopSO is a charity which prevents sexual offending through therapy. She has suggested that just as methadone is used to treat recovering heroin addicts, childlike sex dolls can be used to treat paedophiles

This view raises a number of questions as to how it would be managed. If it is closely monitored, assists in the rehabilitation of an offender and prevents re-offending (much like the methadone example that she gives) it must be worth consideration.

On a final note…

It occurs that while possession of such an item is not illegal, a photograph of one could be. If the doll is, for example, photographed naked it could be argued that that photograph then constitutes a ‘pseudo’ indecent image of under the Protection Act 1978.

Contact an expert criminal solicitor for advice

VHS Fletchers is one of the few solicitors’ firms in the country who has the experience of representing a client charged with this offence.

The law is complicated and the potential consequences of a prosecution severe.

As a result, if you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about an offence relating to the importation of an obscene article make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.

The advantages of such early 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.

 You can find your nearest office here.

childlike sex doll
VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively you can use the contact form below:


Final weeks of work placement at Nottingham Law Centre

Newly qualified regulatory solicitor Elliott Moulster, based at our Ilkeston office spent a period pre-qualification on secondment to Nottingham Law Centre.

You can read more about his placement here and here.

nottingham law centreElliott was certainly kept busy during the final two weeks of his placement.  During his time there he had become a valued member of the Law Centre’s Welfare Benefits Department.

He continued to progress a significant number of welfare benefits cases.  Elliott was now in a position to provide advice to many vulnerable clients who required assistance.  There were plenty of calls to be made and letters to be written to the DWP,  This was combined with his attendance and assistance at community events.

Housing Law Duty Scheme

In addition to continuing with the valuable welfare benefits work, Elliott also had the opportunity to experience some housing law.  He attended Nottingham County Court with one of the housing solicitors, Anne Downey who was undertaking work under the Housing Duty solicitor scheme.  Elliott was impressed how, much like a criminal duty solicitor,  Anne was able to provide detailed and accurate advice in a very short period of time.

Since Elliott was given the above opportunity, he also spent a great deal of time familiarising myself with various aspects of housing law. This included

  • court procedure
  • the eviction process, and
  • possible defences to eviction.

nottingham law centreElliott’s most memorable piece of work happened on his very last day at Nottingham Law Centre. The Housing Department had a case in which they had to prove a defendant’s right to reside in the UK. Elliott drafted submissions to the court as to the individual’s right to reside.

This work followed similar submissions that Elliott had made on the topic to the Social Security Upper Appeal Tribunal.  In that case his representations had been approved and appreciated by the judge due to them being accurate but concise. Although the nature of the work is such that instructions are received at the last minute, he was able to prepare and deliver the submissions in the nick of time.

A big thank you to Nottingham Law Centre

In conclusion, Elliott had spent a fantastic time at Nottingham Law Centre.  The spell complimented the training in criminal law that he had received in our regulatory and criminal law departments.   He learnt a great deal and developed a number of transferable skills.

nottingham law centreElliott has no have no doubt that this experience will benefit him as he begins his life as a solicitor. The partners of VHS Fletchers are very grateful to supervising solicitor Sally Denton and all at the Law Centre for making the experience so rewarding.  Particular thanks must go to Diana Bagci who was a wonderful supervisor.

Although Elliott’s time at the Nottingham Law Centre is over, this won’t be goodbye.  Elliott is already a team member for the Nottingham Legal Walk on 10 May.

Read more about that and give generously here.

Elliott Moulster nottingham law centre

Success takes Elliott through to Hammond Cup final

The first round of the Hammond Cup took place on 22 March 2018 at Nottingham Law.

hammond cup
Kayleigh Brooks, Phillip Pearson , Jacqueline Macduff and Elliott Moulster

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the advocacy competition.  It was set up by Michael Hammond in 1968, who sadly passed away in 2017.  The competition presents a great opportunity for junior lawyers to improve their advocacy skills in a courtroom setting in front of local legal professionals.

Elliott Moulster competed for the second year running.  You can read about last year’s competition here and here.

Those taking part in the first round of the competition this year were challenged to either present a fee in mitigation or an application for a summary judgement.

This year presented judges with a particularly high standard of advocacy, and there were just a few points between each competitor.  This year the judges included our own crime solicitor Jim Buckley, although not, of course, judging Elliott.

Elliott made it though to the final along with Jacqueline Macduff from the Johnson Partnership, Phillip Pearson of Cartwright King and Kayleigh Brooks of the Ropewalk Chambers.

The final of the Hammond Cup is due to take place on Thursday 19 April, again at the Law School.  It will involve each of the competitors undertaking a trial.  Spectators are welcome, and we wish all competitors the best of luck.

Detailed cross examination secures not guilty verdicts at Nottingham Crown Court

Senior Crown Court Litigator Sarah Lees-Collier was recently instructed in the case of a 65 year old defendant charged with serious sexual offences involving his foster or adopted daughters.  The case involved careful and detailed cross examination.

The allegations were almost exclusively historic sexual offences, with the complainants giving very similar accounts of offending.  All of the offences were denied.

expert cross examination
Vanessa Marshall QC

Sarah had chosen to instruct experienced counsel Vanessa Marshall from 7 Bedford Row Chambers, known for her eye to detail and exhaustive analysis and preparation of such cases.  During the currency of this case Ms Marshall discovered that she had been successful in her application to be Queen’s Counsel.

Expert cross examination of four complainants

Here, all four complainants had the benefit of special measures permitting them to give evidence behind screens.  Cross examination was expertly conducted in relation to a great deal of material including social care records.  A substantial amount of material was not disclosed until the trial had started.

expert cross examination sexual abuse caseCounsel insisted on sufficient time to be able to consider this additional material and plan her expert cross examination accordingly.  One of the witnesses was extremely volatile under questioning.

The detailed preparation meant that we were able to show that the witnesses had told some lies that were relevant to the case.  For example, one of the complainants had no choice but to accept that she had previously made false allegations about another carer.  The defence identified, within the unused material, reasons why further false allegations might have been made.

Counsel had to treat the witnesses with care.  It was clear that whatever the reality of the allegations they were now making, they had had a difficult early life.

Our client was of good character.  As a result, character evidence was gathered.  A number of witnesses attended court to speak as to his character in the trial.

Although the the trial lasted for five weeks, the defence was compelling.  As a result, our client was found not guilty of all charges with the jury deliberating for just under three hours.

Our client was, of course, particularly pleased and relieved.

Contact a Crown Court litigation specialist

cross examination historic sexual abuse
Crown Court litigator Sarah Lees Collier

If you face proceedings before the Crown Court, whether you intend to plead guilty or fight your case at trial, you will want to instruct an expert Crown Court litigator.

You can contact your nearest office here.  To instruct Sarah Lees-Collier she can contacted on 0115 9599550 or using the contact form below.


Trainee Solicitor at Nottingham Law Centre

As part of his training, trainee solicitor Elliott Moulster has been seconded to work at the Nottingham Law Centre in order to obtain a broad range of experience prior to qualification.

This firm enjoys a close relationship with the Nottingham Law Centre.  Solicitor Andrew Wesley is the chair of the Board of Trustees for the Law Centre, responsible for oversight and some strategic management, in a pro bono role.

nottingham law centreNottingham Law Centre is located directly opposite the Hyson Green Market in Radford, Nottingham.  It specialises in providing free legal advice and representation in the areas of housing law, debt and social security law.  As a result, it advisers try to assist some of the most vulnerable in society.

Elliott has begun to work alongside Diana Bagci who is part of the Law Centre’s Social Security Team, providing particular assistance to the local Roma community.

Elliott has now spent his first week in this busy not for profit organisation.


The week started with introductions to everyone who works and volunteers at the Centre.   Elliott received the warmest of welcomes from everybody that he met.

Before being trusted with providing advice, Elliott began to receive his training.  He had the opportunity to sit in on many client appointments.  What impressed him most about this first day was  the professionalism and empathy that staff members showed when dealing with cases that were both deeply personal and of extreme sensitivity.


After spending Monday meeting clients and advisers, Elliott spent much of Tuesday at Nottingham Law Centre reading some of the relevant law and guidance relating to benefits.

He acquainted himself with the regulations concerning the Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and the rules surrounding other benefits such as Universal Credit.

Elliott had further opportunities to sit in on further client interviews during the course of the day.


Elliott attended a meeting about combating modern slavery in the East Midlands.   This event opened his eyes to the prevalence of such practises in the United Kingdom.  This valuable insight will allow Elliott to help understand the experience of those clients who are victims of modern slavery.

nottingham law centre
Law Centre’s Network logo

The first half of Thursday was spent drafting a detailed letter to the Social Security Tribunal. The purpose of this letter was to make representations in support of an application to reconsider a previous decision of the tribunal.  It was believed that the tribunal decision was in error, but that the problem could be rectified.

In the afternoon, Elliott attended a local Community Centre. This was to offer practical advice and assistance to members of the local Roma Community.  Again, he found the experience very educational.  He experienced a culture in some ways different to his own, and appreciated the opportunity to provide advice away from an office setting speaking directly to those in the community.


Unfortunately Elliott was unable to avoid returning to VHS Fletchers today to prepare some of Health and Safety prosecutions that he is working on.  He will, however, return to Nottingham Law Centre next week to begin to provide advice.

Contact Nottingham Law Centre

While we are able to provide you with specialist advice relating to crime, regulatory, road traffic, education and prison law matters, we cannot give you advice on all topics.

As a result, if you require advice about housing law, debt or benefits entitlement then we do not hesitate to recommend the excellent service provided by the Law Centre.

Information about how to contact the Law Centre can be found here.

Discharge for allowing premises to be used for cultivation of cannabis

Nottingham crime solicitor Nick Walsh represented a client appearing before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court charged with permitting her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

No legal representation in police interview

She had not chosen to seek free and independent legal advice in her interview with the police.  She had made admissions to the offence and had told the police that she had been promised payment by those growing the cannabis.

At the time of the offence, Nick’s client was 19 years old and had never been in trouble with the police or the courts.

Cultivation of cannabis valued at £15 000

cultivation of cannabisThe prosecution valued the cannabis as having a resale value in small deals of £15 000.  The sentencing guidelines relevant to this offence of permitting her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis suggested that the starting point for the court when considering sentence was a prison sentence of 12 months.  Although our client could expect a reduction for the fact that she had not been in trouble before and because of her early admissions the court would still be considering custody.

Substantial personal mitigation

Nick spent the time needed to discover that his client had substantial personal mitigation.  She had been put under pressure to allow an ex partner to grow cannabis in the loft.  She believed that there were only five plants.  When she found out the true scale of the operation she became very frightened.  She had considered telling her dad.  However, she had been threatened that if she did both she and her child would be in danger.

She was also told that if the drugs were lost as a result of her actions then she would incur a drug debt to the value of the drugs.   Once the police had seized the drugs our client left her home and was homeless.  Despite this, she had gone on to complete her college course and found a job.

Powerful and persuasive advocacy

Through Nick’s persuasive advocacy, the court felt able to depart significantly from the sentencing guideline.  Instead of a prison sentence, or a suspended sentence order or community order, the court imposed a conditional discharge for two years.  This means that unless she commits a further offence during that period she will not be punished for allowing her premises to be used for the cultivation of cannabis.

Instruct a Nottingham criminal defence solicitor

cultivation of cannabis
Nottingham criminal defence solicitor Nick Walsh

If you know that you are to be interviewed by the police, either by appointment or following arrest, always make sure that you ask for a VHS Fletchers criminal lawyer to represent you.  Our advice is independent of the police and always free of charge.  You can read more about the benefits of having legal advice here.

Legal aid is available for your representation before both the Magistrates’ and Crown Court.  We will advise you on whether you will be entitled and if not investigate other ways of funding your case.

Contact us on 0115 9599550 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for police station advice.  Contact us during office hours for an appointment to see one of our criminal defence lawyers.

Alternatively, use the contact form below.



Cross allegations lead to common assault charges being discontinued

Nottingham criminal defence solicitor Nick Walsh recently represented a client who was in her sixties and of good character.  She was charged with an assault by beating.  The alleged victim was her neighbour, a male in his twenties.  Cross allegations were made.

Neighbour dispute with a history of complaints

The background to the allegation was a history of complaints being made to the police by both parties.  On this occasion it was alleged by the neighbour that he had been walking past our client’s address.  As he did so she had shouted abuse from her window.  She called him over to her window.  When he approached and asked what she wanted it was said that she punched him in the face causing injury.

Free and independent legal advice in police interview

Nick’s client sought our free and independent advice in police  interview.  Having taken that advice she chose to answer questions.  cross allegationsShe admitted hitting her neighbour.  Our client maintained, however, that this was because he had approached her, both drunk and abusive, and she thought that he was going to hit her.

She then went on to tell the police about an incident that had taken place the following week.  His behaviour had been similar, but fortunately another neighbour had intervened to protect her.

Despite these denials, her age and lack of convictions, the police chose to charge our client.  As is often the case the police failed to investigate the allegations that our client made about the complainant.

Nick’s client appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.  She entered a not guilty plea and the case was adjourned for trial.  In the meantime Nick traced the neighbour who had assisted during the second incident.

Cross allegations investigated with our help

As a result Nick advised his client to make a further  complaint to the police.  He helped her in making contact with the police and reminded them of their duty to investigate her complaint.  As a result the police were finally persuaded to interview the neighbour in relation to the second incident.  Bearing in mind this allegation was supported by an independent witness, the complainant was charged and became a defendant in these separate proceedings.

Successful written advocacy

cross allegationsPrior to trial Nick was able to make representations to the Crown Prosecution Service.  He argued that the second incident was very important.  It left the credibility of the complainant in ruins.  The prosecution accepted that he had behaved as described in the second incident.  Nick’s client’s defence was that he had behaved the same way a week before.  As a result, he suggested that there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.

The prosecution accepted this argument and discontinued the prosecution of our client.

Instruct a Nottingham Criminal Defence Solicitor

cross allegations
Nottingham criminal defence solicitor Nick Walsh

If you face charges before the court you will want to instruct an expert defence solicitor who is alive to the possibilities of written advocacy as well as the usual advocacy involving speaking in court.

Although this was a case where there may well have been a successful outcome at trial, we know that the sooner a case can be resolved in a client’s favour, the better for them.  As a result, rather than wait for the trial date, Nick ensured that the prosecution had no alternative but to discontinue the case once the cross allegations were made.

You can contact our Nottingham office on 0115 9599550 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for emergency free and independent advice and representation in the police station.  Alternatively, contact us during office hours to make an appointment to see on of our solicitors.

There is also a contact form that you can use below.