Tag Archives: sentence

Conditional Discharge for Public Disorder

Nottingham criminal solicitor advocate Phil Plant

Nottingham Solicitor Advocate Phil Plant secured a conditional discharge for his client who was originally charged with affray before Nottingham Crown Court.  Two co -accused faced the affray charge and charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.  The case was prepared by senior crown litigator Caine Ward.

Late Night Incident in Drink

The incident took place in a fast food restaurant in Nottingham.  Both sides of the incident had been drinking after a night out in the city centre.  Phil’s client was with his parents and his uncle.

In the restaurant words were exchanged with the co-accused.  The CCTV obtained by Phil showed that his client had been involved in the early part of the incident.

conditional discharge at Nottingham Crown Court
Nottingham Crown Court

As a result of his behaviour he was manhandled out of the shop by security staff.

In the meantime a melee broke out involving the co-defendants.   They assaulted our client’s father by punching him.  This led to him being knocked out by one co-accused and then whilst on the floor being stamped on by the other co-accused.

Phil’s client was still being restrained at his point, but made threats towards the co-defendants.

Plea to a Lesser Charge

The Crown accepted a plea from Phil’s client to an offence under s4 Public Order Act.  Phil negotiated this plea on the basis that our client had offered the threats after his father had been knocked out.

In relation to the incident as a whole, thankfully our client’s father made a full recovery.

Conditional Discharge Imposed

Following argument persuasive mitigation from Phil, the Recorder  was prepared to deal with his client separately from the two co-accused, ending the ordeal of court proceedings.  He felt able to take the very unusual step of imposing a 12 month conditional discharge.  If his client is in further trouble during the period of the discharge he can be re-sentenced for the original allegation and any fresh offence.  Otherwise the conviction is ‘spent’.

Contact Us

Nottingham Crown Court litigator Caine Ward

Often the prosecution and court need persuading to look at alleged offence realistically and sympathetically.  As a result you will need a persuasive specialist advocate.  If you wish to instruct us or seek initial advice then please telephone Phil or Caine on 0115 9599550 or email them here.

Vulnerable Client Avoids Custody

Nottingham based in-house counsel Steve Gosnell and senior Crown Court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier worked together to ensure a constructive sentence was imposed on a vulnerable client at Nottingham Crown Court.

Serious Offences

sexual activity child
Nottingham Crown Court

Their client was initially to be sentenced for two allegations of sexual activity with a child. He was 19 at the time of the allegations, but the victim was only 13.

Our client had learning difficulties and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and in the past had problems with alcohol and drug use.  This combination of factors had led to previous incidents of self-harm.

Steve’s client maintained that they were in a consensual relationship. He accepted advice that this believe did not provide him with a defence and guilty pleas were entered at an early stage of proceedings.

In the meantime our client was charged with an allegation of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH).  This was a serious joint attack on an immigrant.  The incident was captured on CCTV.  This showed our client kicking the victim and putting him headlock whilst on ground as part of a sustained group attack.

Again, following advice, he pleaded guilty in the Magistrates’ Court and his case was committed for sentence.  The two others involved were younger than our client.  They were also sentenced but received periods of detention.

Expert Psychologist Report

Sarah correctly identified that the court would benefit from a report dealing with his personal difficulties.  A report was obtained from a psychologist with expertise in dealing with young children and immature adults.

This report was shared with the Probation officer writing the pre-sentence report.  This led to a recommendation of  a suspended sentence including community activities.  Our client had helped himself by voluntarily attending and alcohol treatment program.

Constructive Sentence

Steve made detailed representations about categorisation of both the sexual offences and assault matter.  It was argued that the aggravating features could be properly balanced against our client’s immaturity and the level of his intellectual function.

As a result, the Judge felt able to step away from an immediate custodial sentence and instead suspend sentence with onerous but constructive community elements.  The sentence would operate to protect the public in future by reducing the risk of any repetition of offending.

Contact Steve Gosnell or Sarah Lees-Collier

If you have a case that you wish to discuss with Steve or Sarah then please telephone them on 0115 9599550.  Alternatively you can email Steve here or email Sarah here.


Nottingham Crown Court Sentence

Nottingham solicitor advocate Nick Walsh recently dealt with a sentence before Nottingham Crown Court.  Careful mitigation drew distinctions between his client and two others to ensure that he received a suspended sentence rather than an immediate prison sentence.

Nottingham Crown Court
Nottingham Crown Court

Struck With a Bottle

Nick’s client, along with others, had pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.   He was one of five people who had attended a house party.  Everyone present was drunk.

The behaviour of one of the group led to concerns from the victim that a female party-goer was to be assaulted.  As a result, the victim took hold of the aggressor.  He was then set upon by the group. During the assault he was punched and kicked and struck over the head with a bottle.

As a result of the assault he received a fractured jaw and had to undergo immediate surgery.  He was discharged from hospital two days later.

Negotiation of Lesser Charge

Only three of the five had been charged with offences.  They had originally been charged inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent to case really serious injury.  Negotiation at the Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing persuaded the prosecution to accept pleas to the lesser charge.

The probation service had prepared a pre-sentence report.  In that report, Nick’s client had accepted that he was the person who had struck the victim with the bottle.

Sentencing Guidelines

The sentencing guidelines relating to this offence can be found here.

One interpretation of the Guidelines would have placed this offence as one of greater harm, it being a sustained assault, and higher culpability as a weapon was used in the attack.  Had that been the case, the starting point for sentence for a ‘Category 1’ offence would have been three years imprisonment.

Further negotiation with the prosecutor and detailed representations to the Judge allowed the case to be treated as falling within Category 2 of the guideline.  This was due to the absence of pre-meditation.  As a result there was now a starting point of 18 months custody.

Careful Mitigation at Nottingham Crown Court

Although 17 at the time of the incident, Nick’s client was 18 at the point of sentence.  Nick was able to rely upon his client’s youth and more importantly what he had achieved in the ten months since the incident.  He had found work and broken off ties with his co-accused.  He also had compelling mitigation relating to his upbringing.

As a result, although it was Nick’s client who used a weapon in the incident the Judge at Nottingham Crown Court was able to distinguish between him and the others in the dock.  He received a sentence of 8 months suspended for 18 months with community requirements.   His co accused, however,  each received sentences 14 months’ immediate custody.

Contact Nick Walsh

Nick deals with clients at the police station, Magistrates’ and Crown Courts.  As a result he can provide you with continuity of representation.  If you wish to instruct Nick in any case then please telephone him on 0115 9599550 or email him here.


Cannabis Production Plea in Mansfield

Mansfield crime solicitor Tim Haines represented a client for an allegation of production of cannabis recently.  Although there were only 8 plants discovered, they were found in situ with a sophisticated hydroponic system, cash, mobile phones, scales and what the police alleged were dealer lists.

As is common, the police had sought a statement from a police expert who maintained that all of these items of evidence were important, and in combination he was sure that the client was involved in the commercial supply of cannabis.

VHS Fletchers Cannabis

If that was the case, the sentencing guidelines for production of cannabis would place the client as having a significant role in a category 3 offence.  This would mean that the starting point on sentence would be 12 months custody, within a range of 6 months to 3 years.

Tim took full instructions from his client.  These were that the client was a cannabis user himself, and although he accepted supply to others, this was only to a limited number of people who were his friends and also cannabis users.

These instructions were at odds with the Crown expert.  As a result, there was a risk that the client, even on entering a guilty plea, would end up before the Crown Court for a hearing to decide the basis on which he would be sentenced, and for eventual sentence.  This would add to the client’s understandable anxiety as the proceedings became protracted.

Tim’s experience and familiarity with such cases meant that he was able to engage in credible negotiations with the prosecutor.  He was able to persuade the prosecution to disregard the conclusion of its own expert, and instead to proceed to sentence on the basis of his client’s account.

Carefully prepared mitigation built on the concession by the Crown and Tim was able to persuade the Magistrates that the case could be kept in their court.  Instead of a custodial sentence, a community order with unpaid work was imposed.  Confiscation proceedings were not pursued.

Cannabis Production Mansfield Solicitor
Mansfield Magistrates Court

Tim was able to represent the client under the government funded legal aid scheme which means that his representation was free of charge to his client.

If you are to be interviewed by the police or face charges for drug related offences please contact your nearest office.  Alternatively you can email us here.  If you wish to speak to Tim directly then telephone 01623 675816 or email him here.