Posts Tagged ‘ Criminal lawyers ’


FUNNY HOW ONE LITTLE WORD CAN LEAD TO A SENTENCE!

Written by admin
March 18th, 2019

Yet again today I had the unfortunate experience of sitting in a Crown Court watching a client, who obviously thought that he had done a good deal, and discovering that the deal in question had unexpected consequences.

Without naming the individual or even the court, the story involves a man charged with assault, damage and theft. The offences were alleged in a domestic context and it seemed clear that until today they had been vehemently denied.

Those representing the individual had blatantly negotiated on his behalf with the Crown Prosecution Service that they would discontinue an assault and a theft if he pleaded to a criminal damage. The client, having received only who knows what advice, plainly decided that the deal on offer was good and would bring matters to a swift conclusion.

Unfortunately, nobody seemed to have reminded the defendant that it wasn’t just a question of him saying the word “guilty” and walking away. When he pleaded “guilty” there was inevitably going to have to be some sort of consequence.

In this particular case, the damage amounted to some many hundreds of pounds and involved items of a sentimental nature. The court decided that the defendant ought in fact to receive a custodial sentence, albeit that that sentence could be suspended. The suspended sentence was to be accompanied by some unpaid work and a short curfew. The suspended term, the unpaid work, and the curfew, all plainly came as some sort of surprise to the man in the dock, who it seemed believed that he would be thanked for his trouble and given his taxi fare home having done the decent thing and allowed the case to be brought to an end.

I was left to reflect just how many defendants, when reaching a compromise with the Crown Prosecution Service, actually forget that they will then still have to be sentenced in some way for the matters that they are actually admitting. Equally, I wonder how many solicitors or learned counsel take the trouble to remind their clients of the effect that their guilty pleas may have on them in the future. It is not just a question of them having a criminal record rather than not, but also that criminal record may affect employment prospects, credit ratings, an ability to travel to certain countries, and their standing with social services and adoption agencies, to mention just a few.

Make sure that if you are doing any sort of deals your lawyers take the trouble to explain to you in the detail that our lawyers would about the consequences of any “deals” that you may choose to enter into.

STUMBLING CPS GIVEN A LEG UP BY MOJ

Written by Sian Hall
February 16th, 2018

In recent times it has become apparent that many cases are either failing or being brought to court late as a result of difficulties and deficiencies within the Crown Prosecution Service.

This week, the Today programme was told that over 900 cases have failed in the course of last year because of lack of disclosure. Repeatedly, courts see charges being laid that do not match the facts leaving cases apparently under or over prosecuted. Time and again the Crown Prosecution Service rely on the courts to sort out the difficulties.

It has recently become apparent that a substantial budgetary increase has been afforded to the Crown Prosecution Service to enable them to recruit staff nationwide. Promises of rising pay scales and advantageous pensions are being dangled to lure lawyers on board.

The reality is of course is that most lawyers who are in a position to join the Crown Prosecution Service will either come from the independent bar or the defence community. By offering newly revamped salary packages, the Crown Prosecution Service inevitably put a strain on the defence community by drawing in-house some experienced defenders who are looking for a life without on-call commitments and day to day contact with some particularly difficult clients.

These defence services have struggled to recruit, fighting a losing battle against employers in the civil, commercial, private client, and even family areas, where instant fees can be significantly greater than those available to the average defence firm.

Whilst skewing the marketplace and slanting the playing field in the way that they are doing, the MOJ simply bring more stresses and problems to a different part of the criminal justice process. An equal distribution of funds between the Crown Prosecution Service and the defence community would obviously seem the more appropriate way of ensuring that the entire sector is well staffed. Instead of this, the MOJ have sought to impose a further legal aid cut on the very firms keeping the system afloat.

The only good news is that retention amongst Crown Prosecution Service staff, including those who have joined in the last three to six months, is poor. The lack of job satisfaction, the factory mentality, the lack of thanks and appreciation and the poor morale etc, within the Crown Prosecution Service have seen a number of new joiners leave forthwith, with some of them asking to return to their former posts.

NOTHING MEEK ABOUT THE NEW FORCE IN CHESTERFIELD

Written by Sian Hall
February 1st, 2018

On 15th January 2018, after almost ten years with the firm, Karl Meakin stepped out on his own account in the Magistrates’ Court.  An experienced prison lawyer, Karl is now strengthening the team of Chesterfield advocates comprised of Bob Sowter, Kirsty Sargent, and the inestimable John Wilford.

Karl will also be continuing to carrying on preparation and advocacy work for the Prison Law Team throughout the country.

The Chesterfield advocates are ably backed up by Richard Pell, Lucy Hooper, Yasmin James-Birch, and Lynda Gilbert.

With John’s added qualities as a regulatory specialist, the team has not only depth but considerable breadth.

Bob Sowter brings with him not only massive expertise in terms of adult and youth crime, but also a history of work carried out on behalf of the road haulage sector, which has ably equipped him to deal with a broader than average range of road traffic and vehicle related issues.

The remarkable Kirsty Sargent is the beating heart of the team, an excellent advocate and a superb organiser and administrator.

Karl could hardly be joining a finer group of lawyers who should ease him to greatness at an early stage.

A TALE OF TWO RACHELS!

Written by Sian Hall
January 30th, 2018

Clients contacting our Scunthorpe or Grimsby offices may well now face a new question: Would you like to speak to Rachel Hunter or Rachel Poma?”

Having long had the pleasure of the company of the experience, warm, caring, and ultimately capable Rachel Hunter, we now have a second Rachel in town.

In January we were fortunate enough to secure the services of Rachel Poma, nee Pullin. Rachel has previously worked on a qualified and non-qualified basis with at least two local firms, but we are delighted to say that she has agreed to join The Johnson Partnership, dividing her time between the Scunthorpe and Grimsby offices.

Rachel is an enthusiastic duty solicitor, with great ideas and a lovely court presence. We look forward to Rachel getting to know both us and our clients, as well as introducing us to many of her old friends and contacts. We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have secured Rachel’s services, in an area where there are relatively few enthusiastic, young and hardworking advocates.

HALF A YEAR, HALF A YEAR, HALF A YEAR ONWARD!

Written by Sian Hall
September 6th, 2017

As a number of the Partners at The Johnson Partnership approach the second half of their careers the issue of sabbaticals has raised its head.

 

A lengthy period of unpaid leave which allows the beneficiary to completely unwind and reconsider their position in the world is something that many value really highly. A sabbatical provides the opportunity to reset and start off in a new direction or simply reboot and go back to an existing post with new approaches, new thoughts, and new enthusiasm.

 

No specified period has been chosen, on the basis that each person availing themselves of the opportunity will have their own ideas about what they would like to do and how much time they would like to take off. Three months, four months, and even six months sabbaticals are actively being considered.

 

Interestingly, it is those who are towards the middle of their careers, rather than approaching the end who seem most keen to step back and consider what the next 20 or 25 years hold for them.

 

Any sabbatical inevitably puts extra demands on colleagues and assistants alike, but it also gives younger staff the chance to come forward and prove their worth and try out new ideas and ways of working.

 

All in all, the sabbatical seems an entirely sound way of moving forward. Within the firm we are truly fortunate to have sufficient supervisors already qualified to be able to allow for a seamless transition.

FLEXIBLE COURT PILOT IS PARLIAMENTARY REFLEX

Written by Sian Hall
August 28th, 2017

All of our staff who regularly work around the Sheffield Magistrates’ Court seem likely to be caught up in the government’s new flexible court pilot starting in September.

 

The proposals will see the Sheffield Magistrates’ Court opening for business at 08:00am and sitting until 6:30pm.

 

There has been a lot of focus on the effect this will have on the personal lives of court clerks, ushers, prosecutors, Defence solicitors, and those appearing before the court as witnesses or defendants.

 

Many firms fear that there will be difficulties in staffing courts at unusual times because of the contracts of employment enjoyed by well-respected, trusted, and time-served employees.

 

In a recent offer of employment we have been pleased to confirm to a new member of staff that their start time can be put back to enable a small child to be delivered to school. These sorts of arrangements that are borne out of practicality and common decency are now likely to result in the onus for covering out of hours courts falling on partners or potentially self-employed contractors.

 

In other firms we have heard that open conflict is breaking out between solicitors who are and who are not able to vary their working days to cover the court pilot.

 

All of these changes stem from nothing more than a desire by the Ministry of Justice to be seen to be keeping the use of their buildings and the systems within them under constant review. Nowhere, outside of the Ministry, has there ever been any pressure from anyone at all for the piloted changes to be introduced.  If the pilot is to come, it may be short-lived and ill-fated.

LINKED-IN IN LINCOLN

Written by Will Bolam
May 2nd, 2017

Well, it’s happened! The Lincoln office is finally open for business. Phone lines installed. Desks erected. Filing cabinets primed and ready for action.

It is hard to express just how exciting it is to start a new office from scratch. The last time that The Johnson Partnership opened an office that wasn’t linked to an existing practice was July 1st 1990 when we first opened as a firm.

Taking us back to those early days of counting up how many police station cases we have dealt with and court appearances we have attended by week. Horrible disappointments of case-less days and the wild excitement of having to bring in more people to cope with the sudden influx are almost too much to bear.

The unbridled enthusiasm of Vicki Clayton and her team is a joy to behold. There can be no group of legal professionals who are as desperately dedicated to providing a class client service as The Johnson Partnership Lincoln squad.

The desire to make something work both from scratch is undoubtedly one of the most powerful drivers in any service industry.

With help available from the Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Mansfield, and Nottingham offices the Lincoln team know there is a massive reservoir of help at hand as well as a big crowd waiting to cheer their success.

OH MY GOODNESS – WHAT THE DICKENS!

Written by Will Bolam
December 22nd, 2016

The King of Krowle!

At this festive season The Johnson Partnership are delighted to announce the recruitment of our own Dickens’ Solicitor! Chris Dickens has agreed to join us after a successful career as partner and freelance consultant for a number of local firms.

Over the years, Chris’ own firm boasted premises not only in Lincolnshire and South Humberside, but also in London.

A skilled and consummate advocate, Chris has had a lifetime of experience in the magistrates’ court and in recent years has plied his trade before the crown court bench.

We look forward to enduring Chris’ wit and wisdom and being able to draw on his substantial knowledge of the law and the local area

A recent audit of The Johnson Partnerships work showed that the vast majority of the firm’s clients benefit in some way from legal aid.

In spite of reductions in the scope of work covered by legal aid and reductions in the number of people who are eligible for legal aid, the scheme still helps a great many people.

The Johnson Partnership have an absolute commitment to legal aid. From our Senior Partners to our newest recruits, all our staff are involved in providing a high quality service to all our legal aid clients, although a number will also carry out work on a privately paid and indeed pro-bono basis.

We are happy to provide non-means tested legal aid cover for all The Johnson Partnership clients in police stations throughout England and Wales. From our own offices we are happy to provide legal aid solicitors for Nottinghamshire, legal aid solicitors for Derbyshire, legal aid solicitors for South Yorkshire, legal aid solicitors for Humberside, legal aid solicitors for Leicestershire, legal aid solicitors for Lincolnshire, legal aid solicitors for West Yorkshire, and legal aid solicitors for Staffordshire.  On many occasions our solicitors and clerks will also be happy to travel throughout the length and breadth of the country to look after both existing and new clients where the case demands and where undue delay can be avoided.

As far as criminal fee earners are concerned, we have the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Nottingham, the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Mansfield, the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Derby, and the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Chesterfield available to look after the firm’s clients, be it at court, at the police station, in long term custody, or wherever the case requires.

With a range of full and part time staff, The Johnson Partnership can provide a comprehensive service for those requiring legal aid solicitors in South Yorkshire, whether they be at Sheffield or Doncaster Crown Courts, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley or Doncaster Magistrates’ Courts or at police stations in Sheffield, Ecclesfield, Barnsley, Rotherham, or Doncaster. Our South Yorkshire legal aid solicitors are able to reach out to clients detained at police stations in West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, and across the Pennines.  From the offices of The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Doncaster and The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Barnsley we are well placed to reach courts and police stations throughout the area.

The Johnson Partnership Criminal Solicitors Scunthorpe office is located close to the police station and the Magistrates’ Court. From this base we provide legal aid solicitors for Scunthorpe and Humberside.  Full and part time staff enable us to provide a flexible service for clients requiring a legal aid solicitor in Scunthorpe, a legal aid solicitor in Grimsby, a legal aid solicitor in Goole, a legal aid solicitor in Hull, a legal aid solicitor in Beverley, and all of the smaller communities in between.

THE JOHNSON PARTNERSHIP CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS

Written by Editor
December 15th, 2015

In the early 1990’s Derbyshire boasted many Magistrates’ Courts. As well as Derby, which had two courthouses, there were also Magistrates’ Courts in Ilkeston, Alfreton, Ashbourne, Belper, Matlock, Bakewell, Chesterfield, Buxon, Renishaw, and Glossop.  By 2013, courts were only being held in Derby, Chesterfield, and on a relatively limited basis in Buxton.

Inevitably, a number of Derbyshire clients requiring the service of Derbyshire criminal solicitors have found obtaining the services of a Derbyshire criminal solicitor more and more problematic.

Many of The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Derby and The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Chesterfield clients have grown used to timing their appointments to fit in with other occasions when they will be in either city or town centre. Bearing in mind the limited resources of many of our clients, we at The Johnson Partnership Solicitors understand the importance of reaching out to clients in their own homes and communities.

As ever, we maintain our firm commitment to seeing clients in their own homes, but we understand that this is not always convenient or appropriate. By networking with other firms of solicitors, many of whom do not provide a criminal service, as well as local libraries and local businesses, we have been able to create a network of mutually convenient neutral locations at which clients can be seen.

Accordingly, The Johnson Partnership Criminal Solicitors Alfreton clients, Ilkeston clients, Long Eaton clients, Matlock clients, Ashbourne clients, Bakewell clients, Buxton clients, Glossop clients, Dronfield clients, Swadlincote clients, Spondon clients, can all be seen on their own doorsteps albeit that the solicitors that they see will be more regularly based on The Johnson Partnership’s Derby or The Johnson Partnership’s Chesterfield offices.

In addition to having a broad range of solicitors available for all of the county’s courts, we also have police station advisors on hand within easy reach of St Mary’s Wharf Police Station, Ripley Police Station, Chesterfield Police Station, and Buxton Police Station. We are happy to attend clients who are being interviewed at home in their own houses, which we aim to do without delay or inconvenience.

Those clients who find difficulty in meeting the cost of travel to court are welcome to contact either The Johnson Partnership Chesterfield or The Johnson Partnership Derby office in order to discuss the possibility of special travel arrangements being made to helping getting to and from court. Whilst it is not going to be possible to help everybody make difficult journeys, where we can help, we will be pleased to do just that.  As you know, we aim to offer a comprehensive service to all of our East Midlands based clients to ensure that where East Midlands criminal defence solicitors are concerned, The Johnson Partnership remains the number one East Midlands criminal solicitors firm.

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