Tag Archives: solicitor advocate

Plea to drug offences results in suspended sentence

drug offences solcitor advocate legal representation
Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett

Derby solicitor advocate William Bennett and senior crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier worked together to secure a favourable sentence for their client before Nottingham Crown Court who faced serious drug offences.

Negotiation secured a favourable basis of plea and sentence.

Crown court trial for serious drug offences

Our client faced trial with four others for drug offences.  She was charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis.  A large amount of cannabis had been found in three houses and the boot of a car.  All defendants were connected by a family relationship.

drug offences cannabis growSpecifically, our client was said to have helped with the growing of the cannabis as well as the onward supply.  Although our client accepted growing cannabis she maintained that this was for her own use.  It was medicinal as she suffered from severe arthritis.  Sarah obtained a medical report from her doctor to back up this assertion.

Unfortunately, the prosecution was not prepared to accept what she had said.  They  maintained that she had a key role in what was a substantial conspiracy.  The case was listed for a ten day trial for all defendants including our client.

On the morning of trial there was movement on behalf of both our client and the prosecution.  She was prepared to accept involvement on the basis that her house had been used to grow the cannabis.  her route into cannabis use and this offending remained the same – her illness.

As a result of these negotiations the court was able to sentence our client far more leniently that would otherwise have been the case.  Despite her late plea, William persuaded the judge to impose a sentence of only four months but suspend it.  As a result, as long as our client complies with the community element of the order and does not commit further offences then she will not have to serve the sentence.

Basis of plea and sentencing guidelines

drug offences crown representation
Crown court litigator Sarah Lees-Collier

The basis upon which our clients are sentenced will always be very important.  This is particularly true in cases involving drug supply as the sentencing guidelines can be particularly unforgiving.

For example, whether you have a significant or leading role in a relatively small scale operation supplying cannabis can make a difference of three years to the starting point for sentence.

In this particular case, because of the guidelines, the starting point for the judge in considering sentence would have been twelve months.  Bearing in mind the lateness of the plea, William was able to persuade the judge to reduce the sentence dramatically to the sentence finally imposed.

Contact our specialist crown court team

We have Crown Court specialists based at all of our offices across the East Midlands.  Find your nearest office here.  We will provide you with the most cost effective way to fund your Crown Court representation, whether that is privately or through legal aid.

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VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively, you can contact us using the form below.

Bodycam Footage Helps Secure Not Guilty Verdict in Five Minutes

police bodycam footage trial solicitor
Nottingham crown court

Nottingham crime solicitor advocate Andrew Wesley recently represented a client at trial before Nottingham Crown Court.  The allegation was that his client had assaulted a teenager in the street with a stick.  Fortunately, the aftermath of the incident was captured in police bodycam footage so the jury acquitted five minutes after retiring.

Client was a victim of anti-social behaviour

The background to the case was that Andrew’s client and his housemate had been subject to anti-social behaviour for eighteen months prior to this allegation.  This had involved abuse, threats, damage to property and assaults.  Although the police had been involved time and again, they advised our client that there was insufficient evidence to bring any of the culprits to justice.

The day prior to the allegation, both householders had suffered assaults and damage to the fencing of their address.  The problems started again on the night of the allegation.  The fence was damaged again, youths entered their garden, and threats were made.

As well as calling the police, our client’s housemate went onto the street to try and film those involved.  She was hit with a stick so our client had to intervene and pull her back into their house.

The police were called again, but in the meantime a large group had gathered, including the parents of one of the alleged victims of an assault, and further threats were made.

Bodycam Footage captured initial complaint

The crowd dispersed because the police arrived, and our client and his housemate made a complaint.  This was captured on bodycam footage.  Unknown to them, however, one of the youths had turned matters around and claimed that she was the person assaulted by our client.  Two of her friends backed her up in her story.

Andrew’s client elected to have his trial by jury which in this case was a wise choice.  Although there were obvious problems with the prosecution case, a choice had been made to proceed.

Evidence before the jury that could not be challenged

Through careful preparation, Andrew was able to rely on evidence that could not be challenged by the prosecution so helping the jury decide that his client was not guilty.  This included:

  • the 999 call of the housemate that showed the witnesses could not have been telling the truth
  • the injuries of the complainant were minor so not consistent with the assault described at all
  • footage taken by our client showed the mood of the group after the incident to be threatening and abusive
  • police bodycam footage captured the first complaints of our client and his housemate as well as their demeanour.

Both our client and his witness gave evidence well.

Although the prosecution witnesses also came over well before the jury, there was a large amount of evidence that at the very least suggested that they were not telling the truth.  The jury took no time at all to come to that conclusion so our client was found not guilty.

Positive client feedback

We have been provided with feedback as to how we dealt with the case from beginning to end.  It is particularly pleasing to be able to read comments such as:

ilkeston crime solicitor bodycam footage Further, the praise was not dependent upon the outcome for our client:

ilkeston criminal defence lawyer bodycam footage

Finally, we know the stress that police investigations or court proceedings place on both our clients and other people involved in the case.  Our aim is to try and remove as much of that pressure as possible.

ilkeston legal aid solicitor bodycam footage

Contact a Criminal Law Specialist

This case was prepared from our Ilkeston office by experienced crime solicitor Chris Evans.  We are the only firm providing advice and representation under the legal aid scheme in Ilkeston.

You can find your nearest office here but we are able to provide our services nationwide.  Alternatively, you can use the form below to contact us.


Deferred sentence in Class A drug supply case

deferred sentence possession with intent class a
Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett

Derby criminal solicitor advocate William Bennett recently acted for a client facing sentence for allegations of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply.  William’s representations helped secure a deferred sentence.

The starting point for sentence for supply of a single Class A drug after a trial is often in the region of four and a half years.  As a result, William’s client was at real risk of a significant prison sentence.

Two types of Class A drug

The case was unusual.  William’s client, a drug addict, had seen a drug dealer hide drugs in a public place.  He was intending to recover them later. Instead, our client stole the drugs. The drugs were both heroin and crack cocaine.  While he admitted that he would have used some of the drugs  himself, he would have sold some to other drug users for profit.

As set out above, the relevant sentencing guidelines would suggest an appropriate starting point of four and a half years.  This would be after trial.  William’s client had entered his guilty plea only on the morning of the trial.  As a result he would be entitled to a very limited reduction in sentence for his guilty plea.

William’s client had, however, used the delays in proceedings to put his life in order.  He had made massive strides towards becoming drug free and turning his life around.  On this occasion his offending was due to him succumbing to temptation in an opportunistic fashion.

Successful argument for a deferred sentence

As a result, William was able to persuade the Learned Judge to take the truly exceptional step of deferring sentence.  The Judge set our client various conditions to keep to prior to a sentencing later this year.

If he keeps to the conditions of his deferred sentence then he can expect, in due course, to receive a sentence that will not involve immediate custody.

The case was a good example of a robust but compassionate Judge being able to take an unusual course having heard cogent and well thought out submissions from the defence advocate in the case of a defendant who had demonstrated through his actions a determination to change his life completely.

Contact a Criminal Defence Lawyer

We provide advice and representation at the police station, Magistrates’ and Crown Courts across the country.  We have six offices based in the East Midlands.  If you face police investigation or criminal proceedings then you can find your local office here.

If you wish to contact William Bennett then please telephone him on 01332 546818 or email him using the form below.


Section 18 GBH Trial at Nottingham – Not Guilty Verdict

Nottingham criminal solicitor advocate Phil Plant

Nottingham solicitor advocate Phil Plant recently represented a client before Nottingham Crown Court who face the serious allegation of inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent (Section 18 GBH).  After trial, he was found not guilty.

Assault Following False Allegations

Phil’s client was said, along with a co-accused, to have taken part in a brutal revenge attack on the victim following false allegations that he had assaulted a female friend.

section 18 GBH trial
Trial Success at Nottingham Crown Court

The victim had been so badly beaten that was so badly beaten he suffered a displaced fractured of the jaw.  It also led to him suffering  almost total amnesia and his recollection was based on harrowing flashbacks of the incident that continued to haunt him.

Lesser Charge Instead of Section 18 GBH?

Upon conviction, our client could expect a substantial period of imprisonment.  The prosecution had told us that it would accept a plea to the lesser charge of inflicting GBH (Section 20 rather than section 18 GBH).  Phil’s client insisted that he was not involved at all, so chose to have his trial.

The victim asserted that the the complainant named both of the accused as the perpetrators of the attack.  Phil’s client did not accept that he was part of the attack, although he did witness it.

When questioned by Phil the complainant conceded that his client was not the kind of man who would behave in the manner he described, conceding perhaps that it appeared unlikely that his client did indeed take part in the attack.

The other defendant had given given different accounts during the course of the investigation.  At trial he maintained that it was our client who had carried out the assault.

Not Guilty Verdict

Having heard evidence tested through Phil’s expert cross-examination the jury found his client not guilty.  The other accused, separately represented, was convicted of the original offence and received a significant custodial sentence of several years.

Contact Phil Plant

If you wish to instruct Phil to represent you at trial before Nottingham Crown Court then please contact him on 0115 9599550 or email him here.