Tag Archives: possession with intent

Expert Evidence Successfully Challenged at Derby Crown Court

expert evidence drugs case derby crime solicitor
Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett

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.

Contact a Criminal Defence Advocate

Legal aid is available for the majority of criminal cases heard before the Crown Court so we will always investigate with you the most affordable way of funding your case.

William Bennett can be contacted on 01332 546818 but alternatively you can email him using the form below.


Possession With Intent Sentencing – Suspended Sentence

Nottingham criminal solicitor advocate Phil Plant

Nottingham crime solicitor advocate Phil Plant and senior crown court litigator Ruth Campbell recently prepared a case for sentence before Derby Crown Court, securing a constructive rather than punitive sentence despite the published guidelines for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

Possession with Intent to Supply

possession with intent sentencing
Derby Crown Court

Our client had been charged with possession with intent to supply both heroin and crack cocaine. The police had carried out a raid on her house and found significant quantities of both types of drug.  The crack cocaine had been concealed about her person.  The quantities recovered were consistent with the supply of both of the drugs.  Our client had a long history of heroin use.

In interview our client had chosen to make no reply to questions put to her, as was her right.  Unfortunately, she then made matters worse for herself by failing to attend her first court hearing. Fortunately, she was allowed to remain on bail despite this.

Basis of Plea

Once her cases reached the Crown Court Phil discussed with the prosecution the possibility of a compromise.  His client would plead guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine but would offer a plea of simple possession of the heroin.  The sale of the crack cocaine was said to be to fund her heroin addiction.  This compromise is called a ‘basis of plea’.

This compromise might prove significant upon sentence as it would be an aggravating feature were our client to be found guilty of supplying to different drugs.

The prosecution accepted the pleas on offer.  Despite a guideline starting point of 3 years even taking into account the plea Phil successfully argued that the case should be adjourned for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation service to see whether any realistic alternatives to custody should be imposed.

Constructive Sentence

At sentence,  the Judge was persuaded to impose a suspended prison sentence with community requirements despite the guidelines.  This was a far more constructive disposal and will give our client an opportunity. with support, to put her drug use behind her.

Contact Us

Custody may often not be as unavoidable as it might seem.  With careful preparation and the right approach a client may improve their chances of being dealt with leniently.  If you wish to discuss a case with Phil then please telephone him on 0115 9599550.  To speak to Ruth please telephone her on 01623 675816.  You can also email your enquiries here.