Tag Archives: Nottingham

Section 18 or 20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861?

offences against the person act 1861
Crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier

Senior crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier recently represented a client appearing for Crown Court trial at Leicester Crown Court.  He faced an extremely serious charge of wounding with intent, contrary to section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Negotiation resolved the case to our client’s satisfaction.

Section 18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861

The allegation was made more serious by a number of factors.  Our client had not acted alone but with another to assault the victim.  Although fists were used to begin with, the victim was then assaulted with a knife.  Finally, the offence took place in a student halls of residence, so the victim had been assaulted in their own home.

Some of the incident had been captured on CCTV.

The complainant received two black eyes, a cut above his eye that required stitches, a broken nose and fractured cheek bone.

Sarah’s client was of good character with no convictions or even cautions recorded against him.  He was a student himself.

Sentencing Guidelines

section 20 offences against the person act 1861Following conviction after trial the sentencing guidelines would have suggested that a starting point of six years in prison, within a range of five to nine years.  Arguably this could have been categorised as a ‘sustained assault’ which would have made the sentence even longer.

An alternate plea to a lesser charge

On the day of trial our client was represented by barrister Nick Bechey from Great James Street chambers.  We received instructions to offer a plea to the lesser charge under section 20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861.  This offer of plea was accepted by the prosecution.

As a result, the judge had a greater flexibility on sentence and instead of a lengthy prison sentence our client received a suspended sentence with community elements.  He was very pleased and relieved with the outcome.

Instruct an expert crown court litigator

If you face proceedings before the Crown Court then you will want to know that you are instructing a specialist crown court defence lawyer to fight your case.  You can contact Sarah on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively, we have expert lawyers to help with your Crown Court case at all of our offices.  Find your nearest office here.

VHS Fletchers offices for Crown Court representation across the East Midlands

You can also use the contact form below.



Application to exclude evidence before Nottingham Youth Court

application to exclude evidence obtained unfairly
Nottingham criminal defence solicitor Nick Walsh

Nottingham criminal defence solicitor Nick Walsh recently represented at a Nottingham youth court trial.  The identification evidence was disputed and Nick made an application to exclude evidence from a police officer.

Nick’s client was fourteen year old charged with theft of a motorbike from a domestic garage.  A police officer purported to identify Nick’s client from  The evidence was that he had been identified from CCTV footage by a police officer who our client very well.

Identification evidence from CCTV footage

application to exclude evidence infairly obtainedAn identification in such circumstances is governed by the Codes of Practice set out under Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.  As a result, following the not guilty plea being entered, Nick wrote to the Crown Prosecution Service asking that they disclose the contemporaneous notes of the CCTV viewing and the additional records required by Code D of the Codes of Practice.

The prosecution did not supply any of the documentation that had been requested.  The officer did, however, give a further statement dealing with the circumstances of the identification.

Expert cross examination of a police witness

At trial Nick had the opportunity of asking the officer questions about the circumstances of the identification.  His careful cross examination led the  officer to concede that he had not kept any records or notes of his viewing of the CCTV.  Additionally he could application to exclude unfairly obtained evidencenot be sure how many times he had viewed the footage.  More damagingly he confirmed that he had been given that task of viewing the CCTV by his sergeant and had been told that Nick’s client was already suspected of the crime.

The officer stated that he had based his identification on the way the suspect walked.  Having been made to view the footage again in court he had to accept that there was nothing distinguishing about the walk.

He also accepted that he had made his mind up that it was Nick’s client before he got a look at the offenders face.  Finally, he had to accept that the quality of the CCTV footage was poor.

Application to exclude evidence obtained unfairly

At the close of the prosecution case Nick applied to the Youth Court Magistrates’ to exclude the identification evidence.  This application was made under section 78 Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.  This is on the basis of the breaches of the Codes of Practice.  In this case, where the identification evidence was the only evidence in the case, it would be unfair to admit it.

The Magistrates agreed and the evidence was excluded.  As a result, the prosecution had no option but to offer no further evidence and Nick’s client was found not guilty.

Client had the benefit of free criminal legal aid

Owing to our client’s age Nick’s representation of him was free of charge to both him and his parents under the criminal legal aid scheme

Contact an expert criminal defence lawyer

This case illustrates the importance of knowing the law that governs identification evidence.  It also shows that you need a criminal solicitor on your side who can make sure that a police office is made to answer the difficult questions.  This might open the door to an application to exclude evidence.

application to exclude evidence nottingham solicitor
VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Nick can be contacted on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively contact one of our other criminal defence solicitors at our offices across the East Midlands.  A contact form is below too.


Minimum sentence for disguised firearm avoided

Nottingham solicitor advocate Jon Hullis recently represented a client who was facing a prison sentence for a minimum of 5 years for possession of a disguised firearm.

It was alleged that he was in possession of a stun gun or taser disguised as a torch.  In the event he ended up with a lesser charge and a much better result following his guilty plea.

In Possession of a Stun Gun

Jon’s client was an HGV driver employed by a Polish haulage company.  He made regular journeys through the channel tunnel.

Whilst he was at a service station on the M1  his vehicle was subject to a routine check by the police and DVSA officers. Although his tachograph and other driver’s records were in order the police found an item in his cab.  This had the appearance of a torch but the police soon realised that as well as being a torch the item was a stun gun capable of delivering a shock of 8000 volts.

Free and independent legal advice

As a result our client was arrested.  Although he chose to seek free and independent legal advice at the police station he asked for the duty solicitor rather than VHS Fletchers.  As a result a different firm represented him in the police station.

In interview he answered questions and told the police that he had bought the item from a market stall in Poland for 20 zloty or approximately four pounds.  Our client admitted knowing that it was both a torch and a stun gun. He explained that he had it with him due to the threat he faced from people trying to hide in his lorry when he passed through Calais.

As he was  regularly frightened of being attacked so hoped that the stun gun would keep attackers away from him if need be.  It was kept inside his cab.  He had no intention of using it in this country as by the time he entered this country the danger would have passed.  He stated that as items such as this were so freely available in his home country he did not realise that it was illegal to have the item in the United Kingdom.

Disguised firearm charge carried a minimum five year sentence

Our client was charged with being in possession of a firearm disguised as another object. At the initial hearing in the Magistrates Court his case had to be sent to the Crown Court.  This was because the charge as it stood could only be dealt with at the Crown Court.

He had continued with the same firm of solicitors who had represented him in the police station.  When the case had been sent to the Crown Court that firm had told the court that the defendant would be pleading guilty to the charge as it was currently drafted.

As a result, he ran a very real risk of receiving a sentence of five years.  That sentence could only be avoided in exceptional circumstances.  The admissions made in interview that he knew the nature of the device and that he had it for protection were unhelpful in mitigating any such sentence.

Transfer of representation

Our client was not happy with advice that he had received in both the police station and then at the Magistrates’ Court.  The apparent inevitability of a guilty plea had been accepted and this fact had been communicated to the court.  It appeared that no consideration had been given to alternative and lesser charges.

As a result, the client made contact with us following a recommendation from a prominent member of the local Polish community

The Law on Stun Guns

Under Section 5 Firearms Act 1968 stun guns are classified as firearms.  They are always illegal to possess.  This is remains true even in a private place such as your home.  Possession of a stun gun alone can be punished by a prison sentence of up to ten years.

disguised firearm
A flashlight stun gun

The situation for any client is more serious where a stun gun is disguised as another object.  These are often mobile phones or torches.  In those cases the court must impose a sentence of at least five years in prison.  This remains the case even where someone has no previous convictions and pleads guilty at the earliest opportunity.  The usual rules as to a reduction in sentence for credit for a guilty plea does not apply.

A judge will only be able to impose a lesser sentence where there are “exceptional circumstances”.  The very wording indicates that such cases will be very rare.

In some cases it will take a close inspection to reveal that an item is in reality a stun gun.  In the case of this particular client the item had “50,000 KV” clearly printed on the body of the item.  The metal electrodes were also visible.  Although the item was also a working torch, there was nothing specifically done to conceal the fact that it was a stun gun.

Representations to the Prosecutor

After carefully considering the law and the circumstances of this case, Jon spoke with the prosecutor.  He made representations that this was not a stun gun disguised as a torch.  It was actually a stun gun that also had a torch function. Jon’s research had shown that this was argument was supported by reference to it being widely for sale across Europe as a stun gun.  It was used by both the police and military as a stun gun with a torch function so not a disguised firearm.

Jon was able to persuade the prosecutor of his view of the item.  As a result the prosecutor accepted a guilty plea to an offence possession of a stun gun.  The fact that it was no longer a disguised firearm meant that the judge would have greater flexibility on sentence.


Understandably our client was desperate to be able to return to Poland.  He lived there with his wife who was pregnant with their first child. Jon mitigated on his behalf with the aim of securing the most lenient sentence possible to allow him to return home.

The Judge agreed that this was an unusual case because it was plain that our client did not realise it was an offence to possess this item.  He had no intention of using it in this country. He said this case should act as a warning to other drivers who may consider carrying these items.

In the event, however, our client received a two year conditional discharge. This is an order where no punishment is imposed. Providing our client commits no further offences during the period of the conditional discharge then this will be the end of the matter.  The conviction will be spent.

Our client was obviously immensely relieved with this outcome and was incredibly grateful for the advice and representation he received from Jon.  This was a particularly pleasing outcome bearing in mind where the likely sentence for the disguised firearm offence prior to VHS Fletchers becoming instructed solicitors.


Unfortunately, legal aid would not have been transferred in this case,  As a result, our client felt it necessary to fund our representation privately.  Where you have the benefit of legal aid it will usually be best to remain with that provider.  In this case, however, our client clearly felt that it was not.

Contact a criminal defence expert to prepare your case

If you require advice from an experienced criminal solicitor in Nottingham about a disguised firearm then please contact Jon on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively, we have similarly experienced solicitors across our offices in the east midlands.

Contact details can be found here.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.


New regime for licence conditions from November 2017

Released, But Not Free

For many offenders a prison sentence is a grim reality.  It is a punishment that must be served.  It will impact not only on the single individual but in many cases on their family as well.

licence conditions legal advice
Prison law specialist Irene Tolley

As a result, when the day of release comes it will be a significant moment.  The door on the punishment has closed.  It is an opportunity to draw a line under the past and move on.  For many offenders, however, the release from custody comes with conditions.  These are in the guise of license conditions that must be abided by.  There is the threat of a return to prison if not obeyed in full.

The government has announced changes to the release license regime that come into effect on 13th November 2017.  Prison law specialist Irene Tolley outlines the changes below.

New Licence Conditions Category

In the future, Release licenses will be able to restrict ‘specified conduct or specified acts’.

The government intends that conditions are to be put in place for particular offenders that will:

• Prohibit gambling
• prevent the drinking of alcohol
• ban the use of some social media websites

In planning for an offender’s release, a supervising officer will create a release plan.  This will include the consideration of whether additional licence conditions are appropriate. These conditions are then submitted to the Governor of the releasing prison.  They will review their application on behalf of the Secretary of State. Only once the Governor confirms the conditions do they become legally enforceable.

Why Prohibit Alcohol Consumption?

licence conditions legal adviceThis is what the government has to say about this:

“The consumption of alcohol is a known factor in recidivism for some offenders. In 2004, the Prison Reform Trust published a paper which estimated that 63% of male offenders and 39% of female offenders within the England and Wales prison estate admitted to hazardous drinking before being imprisoned. At the same time, the estimated cost of alcohol-related crime and public disorder was £7.3 billion per year. A condition to require an offender not to consume alcohol would set an expectation for an offender on licence and compliance with that condition would be subject to recall.”

Can I challenge my Licence Conditions?

To be lawful, any licence condition, whether standard or additional, has to be necessary and proportionate to manage the offender’s risk of reoffending and risk of harm. It is always open to an offender to challenge the imposition of a licence condition by way of an application for judicial review.  This would be where the offender considers that the condition is not necessary or proportionate to manage the risks of his case.

How We Can Help

licence conditions legal advice solicitor
Derby crime and prison law solicitor Rosamunde Benn

We can assist with any sentencing related query.  Please contact either Irene at our Nottingham office on 0115 9599550 or Derby crime and prison law solicitor Rosamunde Benn at Derby on 01332 546818.

Alternatively you can use the contact form below.

Contact - Prison Law




Nottingham Regulatory solicitor invited to Pharmacy Show

On the 8th October 2017, Nottingham regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley  attended, by invitation, the Pharmacy Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

nottingham regulatory solicitor pharmacy showThere were over seventy exhibitors stands.  There was also an opportunity for attendees to take advantage of over sixty hours Continuing Professional Development training.

It was clear from the show that the  pharmacy profession brings together a great many different individuals and organisations. The exhibitors included the manufacturers of highly technical items for use in the pharmacy.  These included robotic dispensing systems and data collection software programmes.

There were a significant number of manufacturers of pharmacy products including natural products, over the counter items and prescription only medications.

Professional bodies were represented including the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Association of Pharmacy Technicians. Furthermore, the association bodies of the Pharmacist Defence Association and National Pharmacy Association were there to help and advise their members.

It was enlightening to hear views on the profession from Julian de Bruxelles from the Independent Community Pharmacist publication. Similarly, Charlotte Basely from Today’s Pharmacist was able to give Martin an insight into current issues in the profession.

Martin was able to meet with fellow professional colleagues Jennifer Kelly and Kulzinder Garcha of HRC Law,  and Laura Pyatt of Ansons Solicitors. They all offer valuable legal services to the pharmacist.  These include related commercial work such as property and business sales and purchases, as well as advice on employment matters.

As a result of the meeting, Martin was able to highlight the complementary service that he is able to offer in advising on any regulatory issues that can arise.

Martin found the fair and extremely useful day so intends to return next year.

Contact Nottingham regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley

nottingham regulatory solicitor Martin Haldey
Nottingham crime and regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley

A recent instance of Martin providing advice and representation to a pharmacist where he successfully defended allegations of dishonesty can be found here.

Nottingham regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley is in a position to provide his services nationwide.  If you wish to discuss a case with him then please telephone him on 0115 9599550 or alternatively you can email him here.

Charge of supply of psychoactive substance dismissed

Nottingham crime and duty solicitor Jameel Malik represented a client who had been arrested of intentionally supplying a psychoactive substance into prison.  The recipient of the drugs was said to be her son in HMP Nottingham.

Supply of a psychoactive substance?

Following a prison visit from his mother, our client’s son had been randomly selected for a search.  He was wearing two pairs of boxer shorts and was in possession of green vegetable matter.

Once forensically examined, this was found to be a psychoactive substance with a weight of 103g.  The value of the substance if sold in prison by the gram was a little over £10 000.

Free and independent legal advice in police interview

psychoactive substance not guilty verdictJameel had first met his client in the police station when she had requested the free and independent legal advice of the duty solicitor.  She had given an account to the police in interview denying passing her son the psychoactive substance.  She did accept that she might have passed him a note or a bar of chocolate.

CCTV footage of the prison visit was produced by the police in interview. This showed his client and her partner in the visiting hall.  Both sat down at the table with our client’s son.  The CCTV footage clearly showed Jameel’s client pass something to her son who then placed two packages in his boxer shorts.

Proceedings at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

psychoative substance nottingham solicitor
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Our client was charged with supplying a psychoactive substance.   The issue for trial was whether she had passed her son the substance during the visit.

Jameel provided advice about whether the case ought to remain in the Magistrates’ Court or be allocated to the Crown Court.  He successfully argued that trial could be dealt with before the Magistrates’ Court.

The matter proceeded to trial.  The CCTV footage was played.  Agreed evidence was read as to how the prison officers had retrieved the psychoactive substance.  The expert report proving the nature of the substance was also read, as were procedural issues relating to visitor searches.  Finally, our client’s interview with her denials were read out.

Submission of no case to answer

Having considered the evidence, Jameel then decided that it was appropriate to make a submission that there was insufficient evidence to allow the case to proceed.

He argued that even taking the prosecution case at its highest there was simply insufficient evidence to show that it was his client who had supplied the substance to her son.

He highlighted the following:

  • the amount of the substance was of significant size.  This was not discovered upon his client’s entry into the prison
  • the CCTV footage did not show what was passed
  • his search was actually two hours after the visit rather than immediately after the visit had taken place
  • there was a significant opportunity for the substance to have been acquired at another time during the morning.

Case dismissed

supply of psychoative substanceThe Magistrates retired to consider the submission.  Upon their return they stated that they did not believe that the prosecution had  sufficient evidence to provide a case for Jameel’s client to answer.  The case was dismissed.

Instruct a criminal solicitor in Nottingham

If you are investigated for an offence then you will want to instruct a firm of solicitors that will try and provide you with continuity of representation between your initial arrest and final disposal in the Magistrates’ court.

We will try to make sure that you keep the same solicitor throughout your case to avoid you seeing a number of new faces and having to explain your account on more than one occasion.

psychoative substance supply magistrates trial
Notingham duty solicitor Jameel Malick

Don’t forget that our independent advice and representation in the police station will always be free of charge, and you may be entitled to free Magistrates’ Court representation under our legal aid contracts.

If you want to instruct Jameel in a case then please call him on 0115 9599550 or use the contact form below.


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.


Criminal Legal Aid Solicitor Secures Discontinuance for Vulnerable Client

criminal legal aid solicitor VHS Fletchers
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor Martin Hadley was instructed in a case alleging assault upon two staff members at a local hospital. Eventually the prosecution was persuaded that it was not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution.  It was no doubt a shame that this sensible review did not take place sooner, bearing in mind the vulnerabilities of his client.

Police interview at home without a solicitor

Martin’s client had been interviewed by the police regarding these assaults.  The interview was undertaken at the client’s home address and without the benefit of legal advice.  Although such an interview technique might create the impression that the police are not taking the matter particularly seriously, the evidence gathered through interview carries just as much weight if gained at a police station in a formal interview.

Second legal aid solicitor instructed

This firm was first instructed by our client after another firm of solicitors had failed to secure free criminal legal aid for her.  This resulted in an earlier trial being adjourned because the steps necessary in her defence had not been taken.

Martin took the time to speak with our client’s carer.  He obtained instructions as to our client’s income and this allowed an application for legal aid.  This was granted without difficulties.  Unfortunately, owing to her health difficulties our client was unable to provide us with clear instructions regarding the criminal charges.

Eventually Martin received the papers relating to her case from the former solicitors.  He read the papers and discovered that the allegations involved assaults on two nurses at the hospital.  For understandable reasons, where a person is convicted, the courts will always take such matters seriously.

Argument that our client was acting lawfully

The nurses would give evidence that a doctor from the Mental Health Unit had asked for the client to be detained so that staff at the relevant ward could undertake a full mental health assessment. The nurses who were dealing with our client at the time did not have training on how to deal with patients with mental health difficulties.

Our client decided to leave the hospital.   The staff attempted to restrain her and at that time she was said to have assaulted the nurses.

Upon a review of the file Martin decided to approach the case from two angles to try and secure the best result for his client.  Firstly, he pointed out to the prosecution in correspondence that there was currently no evidence that the nurses had a power to detain his client under the Mental Health Act.  Without such authority then it could be argued that his client was free to leave the hospital.  This meant that any attempts to detain her would have amounted to unlawful force and so our client would be entitled to resist.  This would mean that the alleged assaults were not unlawful.

Despite various requests by the prosecution, the hospital was never to release a copy of the order or the relevant notes relating to the incident. Delays in the trial being heard because of this.

How could it be in the public interest to proceed?

The issue of lawful authority being pursued so Martin’s second aim was to try and persuade the CPS to discontinue the proceedings.  He argued that it would not be “in the interests of justice” to continue with the proceedings because of the circumstances.

The client was clearly suffering from an illness that required treatment at the time of the allegations.  She had no recollection of the incident due to what was believed to have been a psychotic attack. This contention was backed up by the fact that the client was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act following the incident.

Martin made lengthy representations to the prosecution because of these health issues.  The health problems were continuing, and a further period of detention had followed under the Mental Health Act.  Specific guidance from the prosecution and the National Health Service suggested individuals should not be prosecuted because of their illness.

Late decision by prosecution means that case dropped on day of trial

Despite this clear guidance and irrefutable medical evidence the prosecution would not make a final decision as to withdrawing the case.   Fortunately, the prosecution discontinued the case on the day of the trial, although numerous attempts had been made to secure that outcome prior to the trial date.

Criminal Legal Aid in the Magistrates’ Court

criminal legal aid solicitor VHS Fletchers NottinghamWe know how important it is to secure affordable representation if you face proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court.  There is both a merits test and a means test but we will help you complete the forms.  This is so that you have the best chance of passing both.

Even if an initial decision is made that you have too much income, we will provide you with advice about pursuing an exceptional hardship application to try and ensure that you receive free legal aid.  This is because as a legal aid solicitor we specialise in this type of advice.

Instruct a Nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor

nottingham criminal legal aid solicitor Martin Hadley
Nottingham criminal solicitor Martin Hadley

If you wish to instruct legal aid solicitor Martin Hadley then please telephone him on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively, you can contact him using the form below.

One of our other offices might be more convenient to you.  You can find out where they are here.


DWP Prosecution – Charges Withdrawn

DWP prosecution dropped nottingham criminal defence lawyer
Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Nottingham crime solicitor Alex Chapman represented a client before Nottingham Magistrates’ Court for allegations of fraud.   This was a DWP prosecution. The particular circumstances were such that he was able to persuade the prosecution that it was not in the public interest to continue with the prosecution.  His client therefore kept her good name.

DWP Prosecution alleges £17 000 fraud

The allegations faced were charged under the Fraud Act 2006.  The offence were based on a fraudulent claim for benefits between 2011 and 2013.  The case was serious because there had been an over payment of benefits of approximately £17 000.

DWP prosecution nottingham criminal defence lawyerAlex’s client had been interviewed by the DWP,  Shortly afterwards she had been offered a job abroad so left the country.  She was summonsed to attend court in 2014 but was unable to attend the court dates.  As a result the Magistrates’ Court had no alternative but to issue a warrant for her immediate arrest.

Despite failing to attend court our client had done her best to put herself in a favourable position.  She had paid off the debt in its entirety while in work although this had taken her two years to achieve.  She also made contact with the court to fix a date to surrender to the warrant.

All of the money repaid by our client

It was at this point that we were instructed and she informed us of the date.  Once Alex was involved he gave her advice as to the likely sentence for this offending.  As this was a prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006, the position was immediately more serious than had it been a prosecution for over-claiming benefit.  The position was aggravated because of the allegation that the claim had been fraudulent from the outset.  The Magistrates’ were likely to commit the matter for sentence upon a guilty plea because of this, and custody was likely.

Representations lead to withdrawal of DWP prosecution

At court Alex took the opportunity to speak with the prosecutor.  His discussions were designed to see whether the prosecution could be persuaded to abandon the prosecution as not being in the public interest.  This would be because:

  • his client was of good character
  • all of the over-paid benefits had been repaid
  • the offending was several years old
  • the chances of re-offending appeared slight
  • the fact that she lives abroad would mean that community elements of any sentence could not be imposed

Alex’s representations were successful so proceedings were withdrawn.  As a result, all the attendant risks for his client vanished and she kept her good name.

Affordable fixed fee representation

Alex’s client was not financially eligible for free advice and representation before the Magistrates’ Court.  As an alternative he was able to provide her with a fixed fee cost of his representation. She could budget for these costs because of this.

Positive Client Feedback

Perhaps unsurprisingly, bearing in mind the result that Alex achieved on behalf of his client, she was prompted to provide the following feedback:

“Words cannot describe how thankful I am to you. It’s an incredible feeling and I appreciate your help and support. ” 

 “I would like you to bear in mind that if at any point in your career you require a client reference, you will always have my positive feedback on your fantastic work.”

Contact a criminal solicitor in Nottingham

Whether you face an interview under caution with an investigator or a DWP prosecution before the Magistrates’ or Crown Court you will want to instruct an experienced criminal solicitor.  If you do so you will have the confidence that they will know what can best be achieved on your behalf in the circumstances that you face.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0115 9599550.  You can also use the contact form below.

It may be that one of our other offices is more convenient to you.  If so, you can find contact details for your nearest office here.



Jury Trial Success in Pervert Course of Justice Case

nottingham crime solicitor jury trial
Nottingham Crown Court

Nottingham criminal solicitor advocate Andrew Wesley helped ensure a not guilty verdict for his client who faced jury trial because it was alleged he had perverted the course of justice.

Andrew’s client had already been dealt with by another advocate following his guilty plea to his involvement in an insurance fraud where he had pleaded guilty.

Both cases had been prepared by senior Crown Court litigator Caine Ward.

Crown Court jury trial for perverting the course of justice

This case was related to the fraud. It was said that our client had destroyed an iPhone because it had incriminating photos showing fraudulent accidents.  The phone had been destroyed after our client had been arrested so the police wouldn’t find it.

Andrew Wesley jury trial criminal solicitor advocateThe only evidence that the prosecution had that the phone existed in the first place, let alone was destroyed, came from an ex-partner.  In her statement the incident was dealt with in two or three lines of type so no detail was given at all.

Disclosure was received from the prosecution that showed that she was unhappy with our client following the break up of their relationship.  Further evidence obtained showed that following the break up she had made several unwanted visits to our client’s address.  On each occasion the police had to be called, and on more than one occasion she had to be taken away by the police.  This, and evidence of her hatred for our client seen on screenshots of Messenger conversations, lent support to our client’s argument that she had made up the story to get him into further trouble with the police.

Expert cross-examination of the prosecution witness

The case proceeded to jury trial.  The witness attended so gave her evidence in accordance with her statement.  Andrew had planned his cross examination so that he concentrated on relevant issues.  It was structured to deal with the following areas:

  • their relationship and how it ended
  • police involvement at our client’s address
  • her feelings for our client as seen on the Messenger chat
  • her delay in reporting the allegations to the police
  • the detail of the incident bearing in mind the brevity of her statement

The last point was perhaps the most important.  When pressed for detail she was unable to provide it or seemed to be making up the detail to provide an answer.  This was not lost on the jury.

Andrew’s client gave evidence on his own behalf, and although the experience and some of the questions asked were clearly frustrating, he gave evidence well.

Closing speech directed at the burden of proof

In closing, Andrew’s speech was able to concentrate on the issues that might be troubling the jury most.  In particular, there was a lack of supporting evidence that such a phone ever ever existed whereas there was evidence that the witness might be prepared to lie about him.

Our client, of course, had the benefit of the fact that the prosecution had to prove the case so that the jury was sure of his guilt.  By a unanimous verdict the jury decided that the prosecution hadn’t done so and he was found ‘not guilty’.

Positive feedback for the service we provide

Although our client remains a serving prisoner and was unable to offer written feedback on the service provided his family did so.  His partner felt able to write in these terms

“I couldn’t of asked for a better solicitor – Andrew Wesley and team did a fantastic job representing my partner.”

His mother watched the trial so was able to comment

 “couldn’t of asked for better representation thank you so much.”

Crown Court Criminal Legal Aid

crown court legal aid jury trialOur client benefited from legal aid so in his case it meant that our representation was free of charge. It is only in exceptional cases that legal aid funding will not be available to a defendant.  This is because it is unlikely that the income of most defendants be too high for legal aid.

Contact a Nottingham Criminal Defence Solicitor

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VHS Fletchers East Midlands Offices

Whether you face a police investigation, Magistrates’ Court trial or Crown Court jury trial you will want to engage a specialist firm to ensure the best possible outcome for you.  We provide nationwide advice and representation from our offices across the East Midlands.  Contact details for your nearest office can be found here.

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