Tag Archives: representation

Nationwide legal advice and representation from our Chesterfield office

While many will have spent the summer having holidays and day trips out with the family, our solicitors and police station representatives at our Chesterfield office have been taking their own day trips out of the town to provide legal advice and representation.

Unfortunately, these have not been to the seaside to enjoy an ice cream but to ensure that our clients who live local to Chesterfield receive advice and representation from lawyers that they know and trust.  We often a nationwide service at both the police station and courts.

chesterfield legal advice and representation

Countrywide legal advice and representation

The following are amongst the places recently visited by staff from our Chesterfield offices:

  • Buxton Police Station
  • Harrogate Police Station
  • York Magistrates Court
  • Manchester Magistrates Court
  • Staines Magistrates Court
  • Sheffield Magistrates’ Court
  • Boston Magistrates Court
  • Lincoln Crown Court

All of our Clients involved in the police investigations or cases before these courts had links to the Chesterfield area.

chesterfield legal advice and representation
Lincoln Crown Court

Their first priority was to have a solicitor local to them for ease of providing instructions rather than local to the police station or court they had to attend.  They wished VHS Fletchers solicitors to deal with their case on the basis of previous dealings with our expert criminal solicitors or because they had been referred to us.

It was important to them to have a solicitor or accredited police station representative that they could trust.

When we were contacted by these clients we were only too happy to travel to provide them with the service that they wished.  Our clients faced a range of offences, including

  • assault
  • theft
  • criminal damage
  • breach of court orders

Advice on your case under the legal aid scheme

As we have a contract with the government to permit us to provide expert legal advice and representation under the legal aid scheme.  This means that our advice in the police station will always be free of charge to you in the police station.

There are many advantages to seeking advice in the police station and you can read about those here.

Many of our clients will be also be entitled to legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court.   Nearly all will be eligible for legal aid to ensure representation for cases before the Crown Court.

You can read more about these types of legal aid here.

In the cases at the police station or the courts set out above, all of our clients had the benefit of free legal advice.

chesterfield legal advice and representation

Instruct criminal defence solicitors who will go the extra mile for you

You may choose your solicitor by reputation.  You might want to choose a solicitor with an office near to where you live, no matter where your case will be heard.

If you require the assistance of a firm of expert criminal defence solicitors who are more than happy to travel to provide you with nationwide criminal advice and representation, then look no further than VHS Fletchers.

We will go that extra mile (or if need be the hundreds of extra miles) needed to ensure that you get the best outcome possible.

Read more about the benefits of instructing our solicitors and litigators here.

You can contact our Chesterfield office for emergency advice day or night, 365 days a year on 01246 387999.

Alternatively you can use the form below.

chesterfield legal advice and representation


Doctors in the Dock – appealing the Medical Practitioners Tribunal

Many in the medical profession have been up in arms following the recent High Court decision involving Dr Bawa-Garba (General Medical Council v Bawa-Garba [2018] EWHC 76 (Admin), overturning the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal.

medical practitioners tribunal serviceThe case had followed on from proceedings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal which had ruled that Bawa-Garba should be suspended from practice for a period of one-year. That ruling was challenged by the General Medical Council, resulting in Bawa-Garba being erased from the medical register, which brought to an end her right to practice medicine.

The High Court observed that it reached ‘this conclusion with sadness but no real hesitation’.

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Decision Appealed

On appeal against this decision, the Court of Appeal has heard her removal for a “one-off mistake” had robbed the NHS of a “young and talented” doctor.  The original decision to suspend rather than dismiss the doctor was argued to be “humane and balanced”, whereas the GMC have argued that  “any other sanction undermined its rules and her manslaughter conviction.”

So, what is the background to this unhappy story?

medical practitioners tribunal
Nottingham Crown Court

In November 2015 Bawa-Garba was convicted at Nottingham Crown Court for an offence of manslaughter by gross negligence. She was sentenced to two years imprisonment, which was suspended.

This conviction came about due to her negligent care of a six-year-old boy, who died. An appeal against conviction in December 2016 failed.

In the later High Court proceedings, it was observed that ‘her failings on that day were “truly exceptionally bad” and that this must be reflected in the sanction.

So, why did the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPT) only order a suspension?

medical practitioners tribunalWhen the MPT heard the case, it had the benefit of hearing a substantial body of evidence about the pressures placed on Dr Bawa-Garba and the failings of others. In essence counsel for the GMC submitted that the Tribunal had in effect allowed evidence of systemic failings to undermine Dr Bawa-Garba’s personal culpability, and to do so even though those failings had been before the Crown Court which convicted her.

The Tribunal had therefore decided to find the Doctor less culpable than the jury had as a matter of law, and for that reason, the decision could not stand.

The High Court observed:

“The day brought its unexpected workload, and strains and stresses caused by IT failings, consultant absences and her return from maternity leave. But there was no suggestion that her training in diagnosis of sepsis, or in testing potential diagnoses had been deficient, or that she was unaware of her obligations to assess for herself shortcomings or rustiness in her skills, and to seek assistance.

There was no suggestion, unwelcome and stressful though the failings around her were, and with the workload she had that this was something she had not been trained to cope with or was something wholly out of the ordinary for a Year 6 trainee, not far off consultancy, to have to cope with, without making such serious errors. It was her failings which were truly exceptionally bad.”

A crowd-funding campaign to assist Dr Bawa-Garba was set up. One of the doctors behind the crowdfunding campaign, Dr Moosa Qureshi, said:

”There needs to be greater transparency as to why these decisions were made and who made them. Many of us feel that Dr Bawa-Garba was unfairly discriminated against and scapegoated for multiple system failings that could easily have happened to any of us in the current political crisis of the NHS. We want patients to be protected and for this doctors need to be able to look after patients without fear that they will be blamed or worse struck off when working in unsafe and dangerous conditions.’

So, many believe that Bawa-Garba has been made a scapegoat for systemic failings in the NHS.

In a further twist to this story, the previous Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a review into criminal manslaughter so far as it affects medical practitioners.  The health secretary stated that clarity was needed about drawing the line between gross negligence and ordinary errors, and that ‘Doctors should learn from – not fear – mistakes.’

medical practitioners tribunalThe review, led by Sir Norman Williams (a former President of the Royal College of Surgeons), reported in June 2018.  In the introduction to the report, Sir Norman wrote:

“We hope our recommendations will change the environment by establishing a just culture and providing reassurance to healthcare professionals, patients and their families that gross negligence manslaughter cases will be dealt with in a fair and compassionate

The full report can be found here.

By any measure this is a sad case for all concerned and criminal practitioners will be keeping a watchful eye on the outcome of the Court of Appeal case.

Contact a crime and regulatory law specialist

medical practitioners tribunal
Crime and Regulatory solicitor Martin Hadley

If you are a professional person facing criminal proceedings then please contact our criminal and regulatory partner Martin Hadley immediately.

Martin will be able to provide free and independent legal advice in police interview.

If charged, we will provided affordable representation before either the Magistrates’ or Crown Court, and be able to provide advice with an eye to any future potential disciplinary proceedings such as those before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal.


Magistrates’ Court representation secures discontinuance

Derby crime solicitor Stacey Mighty provided advice and magistrates court representationrepresentation to a client charged with an allegation of criminal damage.  She had already provided free and independent legal advice to her client in police interview.  Stacey then gave her client the continuity of representation that he wanted by going on to provide Magistrates’ Court representation.


Denied allegation of criminal damage

Our client faced allegations that he had had damaged his girlfriend’s property.  You can read more about the law on criminal damage here.  He was denying the allegation.  Further, our client believed that his girlfriend was no longer interested in cooperating with the prosecution.

In this case, the complainant in the case had told the police that she did not want to pursue the allegation.  As a result the prosecutor at court already knew that was the case.  Despite this a decision had been made that the prosecution should continue.

Prosecution in the public interest?

Stacey had made representations prior to the case being heard that the prosecution should simply drop the case. It was a minor allegation and it could not be in the public interest to proceed when the witness was no longer interested.

Other factors suggested that the prosecution was not necessary:

  • there was no history of domestic incidents
  • a defence had been put forward in interview
  • our client’s limited convictions
  • there would be a need to force the witness to attend court

Magistrates’ Court representation by solicitor will make a difference

Stacey’s client pleaded not guilty due to the position adopted by the prosecution.  He was ready to contest the case at trial.  The case was, however, listed before a District Judge in the Magistrates’ Court.

magistrates court representationStacey took the opportunity to raise the same issues again but with the Judge.  He shared Stacey’s concerns as to whether the case should proceed.

Instead of listing the case for trial the District Judge gave the prosecution two weeks to fully review the decision to proceed.  As a result of Stacey’s representation at court the prosecution decided to discontinue the charge.  This decision ultimately meant that the resources of the prosecution and the court could be diverted to other cases.

Stacey’s client avoid the risk of being convicted after trial before Magistrates.

Contact Derby crime solicitor Stacey Mighty

magistrates' court representation Derby
Derby criminal solicitor Stacey Mighty

The benefit of instructing specialist crime solicitors VHS Fletchers solicitors is that we will aim to provide you with continuity of representation at the police station and Magistrates’ Court.

This means that the solicitor with knowledge of your case will deal with you throughout proceedings where possible.  This case demonstrates the benefits of such an approach.

Our independent legal advice in the police station is always free of charge to you.  You can read some of the benefits of our advice in the police station here.

Magistrates court representation will often be available under the criminal legal aid scheme.  You can read more about that here.

Whether you need free legal advice in the police station or Magistrates’ Court representation please call Stacey to discuss your case.  She can be contacted on 01332 546818.  Alternatively you can use the contact form below.