Posts Tagged ‘ Nottingham Magistrates’ Court ’


YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING OLDER…..

Written by admin
September 23rd, 2019

They used to say you know you’re getting older when the police officers look younger.  Then they used to say you know you’re getting older when the magistrates start looking younger.  For those of us practising in Nottingham it’s going to be a question of you know you’re getting older when the police stations start looking younger.

Back in 1995 a brand new £28m custody facility opened on the banks of the Trent Canal in Nottingham.  It was linked to the new, all-singing, all-dancing Magistrates’ Court.  The Magistrates’ Court itself was something of which the city was so proud they decided to licence its foyer for wedding ceremonies.  Concerts took place on the paved area outside the police station and it was deemed to be “the police station of the future”.

The custody sergeants were housed on a raised platform, which resembled nothing more than the deck of the Starship Enterprise.  There were more computers in the custody suite than there had been on Apollo 11 and the entire facility was watched over by a “new-fangled” CCTV system.

24 years on and it has all changed.  The talk is the closure and the building of a new “all-singing-all-dancing” not to mention “new-fangled” police station on a wasteland in a part of the city which has been calculated to be closest to most of the incidents to which officers are called.  The fact that the new police station will not link to any court buildings and will necessitate hundreds of thousands of pounds per year being spent on transporting prisoners, is a mere incidental.

For those of us who saw the police move from The Guildhall cells and the old Central Police Station to the brand new Bridewell, we can only reflect on the passing of time and the arrival of yet another generation of both police stations and criminal solicitors in Nottingham.

THE MATHS ADD UP FOR LOONY LISTING

Written by Sian Hall
March 27th, 2018

Few can truly doubt the integrity of Crown Court Listing Departments throughout the country. Certainly, Crown Courts in Nottingham, Sheffield, Derby, Lincoln, and Grimsby all bear the hallmarks of hardworking teams of people with a good understanding trying to do their best for everyone.

Nevertheless, the fact that listing is a problem is something that cannot be doubted. This week, on one day, the firm had six trials, all removed from the list at less than 48 hours’ notice. There was undoubtedly good reason for this. The courts in which the cases were due to be heard were busy indeed throughout the rest of the week. With one exception, all of the cases went off to new trial dates in August.

In spite of howls of derision from the profession, the MOJ have stoically refused to do anything about the problem. There is scope to agree to further judge sitting days! There is scope to designate empty Magistrates’ Court facilities as temporary Crown Courts. Sadly, both of the above require extra funding.

It is not just that extra funding hits the MOJ’s current budget. In reality, there is a twofold gain for the Ministry. By not spending money on judges and extra courtrooms, they avoid unintended and unexpected expense. By ensuring that cases are adjourned for a period of four to five months equally ensure that the bills to be submitted by advocates and litigators for those matters fall into the next financial year. Indeed, there is also the third potential benefit of complainants or defendants losing the will to fight, or cases being side-tracked by new charges or new proceedings, which can lead to extra savings as trials fail to take place at all.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that delay and adjournments are the sole brothers and sisters of a financially hamstrung Ministry of Justice.

OUT OF TOWN IS OUT OF MIND

Written by Sian Hall
December 12th, 2017

In a time when more and more firms of solicitors are moving to sites outside of city centres with modern facilities and parking outside the front door, The Johnson Partnership has made a conscious decision to remain true to our inner city roots.

In recent times we have had to give consideration to whether or not we could better serve our clients by moving to locations on business parks or new developments anywhere between a mile or three miles from their local town or city centre.

Although the prospect of ample parking and high speed broadband are immensely tempting, we have always been left reflecting how inaccessible such premises would be to the vast majority of our clients. Even though they could travel to offices by private car they have still expressed the opinion that they would rather tie in a trip to the solicitors with a visit to other city centre locations, rather than having to make a special trip to the middle of somewhere approaching nowhere.

The proximity to courts, police stations, Crown Prosecution Service offices, and the like gives us an unassailable advantage when it comes to looking after clients arrested on warrants, requiring quick interviews or needing urgent conferences.

While it can be true that there is relatively little passing trade for criminal solicitors, it is equally true that many clients with current cases will want to call in for a quick but urgent reassurance.

As far as staff are concerned, the prospect of palatial premises with accountants and government departments as neighbours is tempting; but never quite as tempting as the stores, bars, cafes, and restaurants of a good old town or city centre.

There is of course an argument to suggest that our slightly unusually situated Sheffield office breaks the mould. While not in a new purpose built professional palace, it does occupy the singular and characterful premises of the old Banners Department store loved by thousands!

YES, BUT WHAT ABOUT SKEGNESS?

Written by Sian Hall
December 7th, 2017

As well as the major courts and police stations served by each office, there is inevitably a penumbra of places that each office will serve. The Nottingham office will serve Grantham, Loughborough, Leicester, and many points south. The Derby office will serve Burton, Cannock, Tamworth and the like. Staff from Chesterfield will be seen at the Buxton custody suite or attending voluntary interviews in Bakewell or Matlock. The Sheffield office can cover Rotherham almost as easily as it can Sheffield. The Barnsley office reaches out to Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and all of the other West Yorkshire towns including the super custody suite at Normanton Top. The Doncaster office covers Goole, Thorne, York, and beyond. Our Scunthorpe and Grimsby offices will jointly look after cases in Goole, Hull, Bridlington, etc. The Lincoln office will happily pull in work in Gainsborough, Sleaford, Boston, and so on. The Mansfield office regularly services work in Newark, Retford, Worksop, and Sutton in Ashfield. All offices then have their own immediate courts and police stations and many more besides.

The question however is which office will service Skegness? Every summer clients stream out to the east coast for sun, sea, sand, and soggy chips. Every weekend in spring and autumn there are dance raves and party events as well as the Butlins weekenders to attract the hordes. Throughout the year there are people visiting friends and relatives who have retired to the coast or simply stepped that way in order to “get away” from who knows what. The custody suite at Skegness is a regular reporter to the DSCC.

Whatever the day of the week, whatever the month of the year, whatever the time of day, the questions always arises Who is going to go to Skegness?”  The Lincoln office remains a laborious hour away. The staff at the Scunthorpe office claim that it would take them at least an hour and a half to get there. The Grimsby solicitors, perhaps geographically closest, swear blind that the roads are so bad that they cannot get there in under two hours. So then, the question perpetuates. Yet for 27 years, one way or another, in spite of its apparent unfeasibility, The Johnson Partnership have been looking after clients in Skegness, be they in the court or the police station, whatever the season and whatever the time.

Inevitably, our hearts go out to those members of staff who have completed their tasks in Skegness in the wee small hours. For them, there isn’t even the solace of a stick of last year’s rock or a soggy slab of cod.

THE LAWFULNESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

Written by Sian Hall
November 7th, 2017

The recent success of our Derby office’s Mark Luckett in completing the Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 13 minutes has caused us to reflect on the ever present link between law and long distance running.

 

There is no doubting that the stamina and endurance called for in seeing a difficult case to its end is matched by the competitive persistence required of a successful distantness athlete.

 

For many, however, the long hours spent in training provide the perfect antidote to a hard day in the office. Over the years a number of our solicitors and Partners have either relaxed, or taken time to get their thoughts in order when pounding the streets of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and South Yorkshire.

 

As well as Mark, perhaps our best and most noteworthy performer was our sadly missed Partner David Graham, who could knock out half marathons in substantially less than an hour and a half. Jo Chadd is a successful conqueror of the London Marathon.  Emma Coverley regularly disappears to both road and fell running events throughout the North and Midlands.  In a slight bizarre but truly historical event Sean O’Brien, Dan Church, and Richard Davies then of our Doncaster office completed the Sheffield half marathon of 2014 which had officially been called off due to a lack of water; all survived and have their medals to prove it!

 

One of our hardest working runners in every sense must be the Mansfield office’s Chris Perry, who has completed more distance events than anyone else in the firm on courses far and near. Based on the edge of the Peak District, Chris is well placed to clock up some good looking miles whilst leaving Mansfield Magistrates’ Court at the back of the pack.

 

Good luck to all, including Sean O’Brien in this year’s Snowdonia Marathon and Emma Coverley and Digby Johnson in the 13 mile festive Turkey Trot around the Vale of Belvoir.

 

TROUBLE FOR TREACHOROUS TACHOGRAPHS

Written by Sian Hall
November 4th, 2017

In recent months, the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court at Nottingham have been particularly heavily populated with Eastern European lorry drivers whose vehicles have been fitted with tachograph override systems.

 

The systems are capable of preventing a tachograph record from showing several hours of journey time each day.

 

The Trowell and Beeston Testing Centres have recently detected substantial numbers of wagons from Eastern Europe, whose drivers have been operating these devices.

 

Whilst the authorities always seek to prosecute the companies who own the vehicles, it is inevitably the drivers who are in the front line.

 

With Polish and Romanian speakers within our fee-earning team, we have been particularly well placed to look after drivers who found themselves before a court for the first time in their lives. Inevitably, we have had to come to terms with the various systems that are employed to override the tachograph.  Not all prosecutions result in guilty pleas and not all of the assertions made by the prosecuting authorities stand close examination.

 

If you know of somebody who finds themselves before the court for this sort of offence please do not hesitate to give us a call, whether the case is in the East Midlands or further afield. Our experienced staff will always be happy to help and are prepared to travel.

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