Posts Tagged ‘ police officers ’


CLOSENESS IS TOO COSY FOR COMFORT

Written by admin
March 15th, 2019

The arrival of a new super custody suite for South Humberside throws up all the usual questions for the Defence solicitors in the area. Traditionally, Defence solicitors in South Humberside are based either in Scunthorpe or Grimsby. Strictly speaking, the new custody suite is not in the centre of either of these two population centres.

Obviously, there is the possibility for new offices to be opened close to the new custody suite, but as ever, this begs the question of whether an office close to a police station really does bring the expected return.

How many people leave the police station and decide the first place that they want to go rather than home, the pub, their drug dealer or McDonald’s is actually their solicitor. How many people arrive at the police station under their own steam only to think at the last minute “Oh that’s what I forgot! A solicitor!” Those arriving in custody having been transported by the police tend to arrive at the rear of police stations and do not pass the open arms of the Defence solicitors whose offices have been invitingly opened nearby. Even those who are driven to the front of the station are unlikely to take in the subtleties of the names of particular firms.

Inevitably then, it seems likely that The Johnson Partnership will not be opening a new office near to South Humberside’s new custody centre.

In recent times, a small rank of well-established Defence firms have opened in the proximity of Derby’s St Mary’s Wharf custody suite. One of our competitors, when relocating within Chesterfield city centre, decided that an office, cheek by jowel with the town’s police station, was a good investment. Within our area, only the wise folk of Sheffield seem to have decided that relocating to the unlovely, unprepossessing, inconvenient and unwelcoming area of the new Shepcote Lane custody suite would be a poor idea.

Discussions with clients show that they tend to be suspicious of many Defence solicitors who are seen as part of the establishment. The Duty Solicitor Scheme has, from time to time, fallen into disrepute, because clients have believed that duty solicitors were “police solicitors”. To do anything to bolster this idea of cosiness seems to be, if not commercial suicide, certainly a serious commercial illness which might result in some haemorrhaging of clients.

Whether it be Nottingham, Derby, Chesterfield, Mansfield, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Scunthorpe, Grimsby or Lincoln, The Johnson Partnership are pleased to assert our independence, whether it be from police officers, prisons, the Youth Offending Team, the probation service, Judges, prosecutors, or whosoever else may be part of our system.

Who needs reasonableness!

Written by admin
November 22nd, 2018

We all know that knife crime is on the rise. Not to the levels of Victorian times, not to the levels of 1993, when criminal offences across the board were at their highest. In fact, knife crime is rising towards the levels experienced in 2010 and 2011.

It is obvious that the government wants to “do something”. Legislation imposing vaguely mandatory sentences on those convicted of carrying bladed articles or offensive weapons for a second time has been a future of the sentencing process for many years.

Not satisfied with this removal of discretion from the judiciary, the government now wishes to attack a different part of the criminal justice process.

Certainly, out of nowhere, there are calls for a re-evaluation of the old “stop and search” powers. This much malign and often inflammatory procedure has, in recent years, been kept in check by the requirement for police officers to have a “reasonable suspicion” before stopping or searching an individual. A number of members of the government are now suggesting that the requirement for a “reasonable suspicion” be removed.

Any action that can be carried out unreasonably, or without the use of reason, is obviously likely to lead to concerns and difficulties. Imagine that someone allegedly acting in “self-defence” did not have to show that they had acted “reasonably” just that they had acted in self-defence. What sort of mayhem might ensue?

Where the power to be used “unreasonably” is a coercive power, as in the case of stop and search, the perils for us all are enormous. Those of us who remember the Bristol riots around the Black and White Café, the Brixton riots of the early 1980’s and the Toxteth riot of similar vintage remember just how much violence and disorder ensued from the hatred and loathing that had built up after the misuse of “stop and search” powers.

If widespread civil disorder and a break down in the relationship between the police and the public are the price to be paid for this cack-handed attack on knife crime, it may be felt that the account would soon become unbalanced.

IT’S BEEN A PRIVILEGE

Written by admin
October 1st, 2018

In a number of recent cases members of the Firm have been asked to assist Police by providing information about clients who are now deceased.

Enquiries often stem from the fact that there has been long running bad blood between the deceased and another individual, members of a particular family, or members of an opposing gang.

The previous history of conflict and dispute is often something that has given rise to previous sets of criminal proceedings. Those with whom the deceased has been in conflict may have been witnesses, complainants or indeed simply attended Court to express a view or to cause trouble for a client.

Inevitably, clients are more likely to have commented to their Solicitor about such groups or individuals and may well have divulged all sorts of information about threats, harassment, even the use of violence.

Inevitably, Police Officers are keen to put together information which may go to motive or to bad character if adversary are now charged with offences arising from the death of an individual or perhaps ongoing problems involving friends or family of a deceased.

Bad character and motive are obviously very relevant issues for the Investigating or Prosecuting Team to pursue. Nevertheless, it is always worth remembering that the discussions between a deceased client and their Lawyer remain subject to privilege. That is not a privilege that can be waived by Executors or Beneficiaries or an Estate. It is not a privilege that can be waived by a Lawyer who might now be desperate to anything to assist an old client, to whom they feel a strong emotional attachment.

It has to be said, where a Solicitor does or does not disclose information they can still find themselves on the wrong side of a lot of abuse. Where a Solicitor may feel they have a duty or a waiver, where the breach of privilege is concerned, they are likely to find themselves victims of hostile treatment from anyone against whom that statement is used or the friends of that person. Where a Solicitor refuses to disclose information that may be thought to be of use to the Prosecution, a deceased’s family may themselves turn hostile believing that the Solicitor is in some way betraying their dead friend or relative. As ever, there are many who might feel that as a hard working trusted Solicitor, you are not in a very privilege position.

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