Sentencing at Stratford Youth Court
Nottingham solicitor Derek Brown strayed off the beaten track to travel to Stratford Youth Court in London to represent a client at sentencing. He had dealt with her initially at the Bridewell police station in Nottingham as Duty Solicitor. He continued to provide continuity of representation at several further bail dates at the police station and finally represented her before the youth court in Nottingham.
His client had pleaded guilty to numerous charges of fraud by false representation and being in possession of an article for use in connection with fraud. She had travelled from London to Nottingham with an adult co-accused with a false provisional driving licence to open mobile phone accounts in a number of stores. The total fraud was in excess of £10 000.
Although the offending was in Nottingham, because of his client’s age the case was sent to her local youth court. Understandably, bearing in mind the value of the offences, the Nottingham court has expressed a view that custody must be considered, despite her age and lack of previous convictions.
Bearing in mind Derek had had conduct of the case throughout, and the vulnerability of his young client, he felt it appropriate to continue with his representation of his client rather than pass the sentencing hearing on to an agent local to Stratford court.
Although serious, Derek was able to persuade the sentencing Magistrates that this was a case of misjudgement while under the influence of an older male, and aside from this offending she had a promising future. As a result, the court was persuaded that a custodial sentence was not required and instead his client received a community based disposal, a referral order.
The client had been entitled to legal aid which meant that Derek’s representation in the police station and at both courts was free of charge to her.