Posts Tagged ‘ police station ’


PHASED WITHDRAWAL

Written by admin
March 25th, 2019

Within the area of the country covered by The Johnson Partnership offices we have noticed an interesting if worrying phenomenon.

In the town of Buxton there used to be a thriving Magistrates’ Court and a custody suite which covered the entirety of the northwest of Derbyshire from Matlock to Glossop and from Hartington over to Baslow. This is a huge area of land and a good number of people in its radius.

In the second round of cuts, the Magistrates’ Court, which has long since served this thriving market town was closed. Work was transferred to Chesterfield stage by stage. Initially custody cases were transferred to Chesterfield and then there was a total closure leading to all matters being heard in a court over thirty miles away, with no train link between the two and a somewhat ponderous bus service.

The next step was for the custody suite to be downgraded. Increasingly, prisoners who were likely to be in custody for more than six hours, were being dealt with at Chesterfield rather than Buxton. Inevitably, it soon became a police station where a vast majority of interviewees were those attending on a voluntary basis.

The Duty Solicitor Scheme for Buxton has slowly been wound down. Solicitors have to choose their slots on either the Chesterfield or Stockport rotas.

We now therefore have a town with no court, no meaningful custody suite, no Duty Solicitor Scheme, and very very few solicitors serving that entire region.

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.

Trouble with Trading Standards

Written by admin
July 27th, 2018

A small but significant number of prosecutions are brought by the various Trading Standards Departments of councils up and down the land. Each Trading Standards Department is responsible for its own prosecutions and many consult the relatively few Barristers who have experience in this field.

At the present time, the Digital Case System, which operates across the Crown Courts of England and Wales, is not equipped to accept Trading Standards prosecutions. All cases are prosecuted following the provision of significant amounts of written evidence in good old-fashioned paper form.

The usual case management forms, which govern the progress of almost all Crown Court cases, simply don’t apply to Trading Standards cases.

To defend successfully against prosecutions by Trading Standards Departments, it is important to have great skill and resources available to devote to those particular cases.

Where the cases relate to poor trade practices in terms of building, plumbing, electrical work or the like, the selling of products with fake brand names, the misleading of members of the public in terms of paperwork provided or any of the other realms of matters that come Trading Standard’s way, The Johnson Partnership can help.

Many cases of course can be resolved during the investigation stage of the police station by providing appropriate information and entering into fruitful negotiations. Where cases are resolved at this early stage, a great deal of heartache can be saved for both those under investigation and also those who have either been misled or wrongly charged.

Where cases do have to proceed either to the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court, our specialist teams, spread across all of our ten offices, are able to assist. They obtain the best possible results whatever the nature of the allegation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wragg and Hooplah for the Big City!

Written by admin
July 20th, 2018

To strengthen and support our Sheffield Office team, Lucy Hooper and Yvonne Wragg have both transferred their allegiances from the East Midlands to South Yorkshire.

Yvonne has gone to our Sheffield Office as day to day manager and organiser as well as being the lead fee earner.

Lucy Hooper left behind her the good folk of Chesterfield in order to take over the office administration as well as coordinate the police station advice and some Crown Court preparation. Sometimes we are told that our reward will be in heaven, but in Lucy’s case I am delighted the she is not having to wait quite that long. Following her impressive performance at the Sheffield Office Lucy has been offered a training contract with immediate effect which will see her progress through the firm at a rate commensurate with her skills and commitment.

We wish both Yvonne and Lucy all the best and are confident that under their stewardship the Sheffield Office will continue its day on day growth.

THE INS AND OUTS OF LEICESTER

Written by Sian Hall
March 15th, 2018

Isn’t it strange how some journeys are just “too much”. Geographically it may be exactly the same length as innumerable, comparable journeys, but one way or another they never work.

This particular predicament has been highlighted by us being offered the services of not one but two Leicester based solicitors who are looking to jump ship and move firm. Both solicitors are high quality candidates at different points in successful careers. With a Nottingham or Derby base, there could be no doubt that we would be delighted to avail ourselves of their services. Sadly, however, bitter experience shows that a life spent travelling between Leicester and Nottingham or Leicester and Derby tends to be a short one and not a particularly merry one.

Servicing police stations in Leicester never seems to be a problem. To reach into Leicester to attend a police station or at the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court has never been a difficulty. Reaching out from Leicester to do a job based in Derby or Nottingham is something that has just never worked. Derby to Nottingham: yes! Nottingham to Derby: Yes! Nottingham to Lincoln (a longer journey): Yes! But Leicester to Nottingham or Leicester to Derby: just “No”.

POSTAL REQUISITIONS FROM HELL

Written by Sian Hall
February 25th, 2018

The idea of people being posted and goods or services being requisitioned immediately brings back memories of old World War II movies on black and white Sunday afternoons.

In their wisdom, the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunal Service decided some little time ago to replace the time served summons with a new postal requisition. The postal requisition requires somebody to attend court at a particular time on a particular date and is posted to the last known address of the would-be recipient.

With voluntary interviews away from custody suites becoming more and more common, and with defendants being called to attend at court long after they have been allegedly released under investigation, the postal requisition is now in its heyday.

Having somebody back at the police station in order to charge them and give them a new date face to face, on which they were required to attend at court, obviously had a level of direct drive certainty about it. The postal requisition has introduced endless vagaries and uncertainties into a previously quick and efficient process.

Perhaps the weirdest and wackiest use of the postal requisition is to commence proceedings against someone who is still known to be a serving prisoner. A document is posted to the individual at the prison, but it is rarely sent out along with an order calling on the prison to produce that person to court. The prisoner sits in his cell, the court wants to know where they are, and the connective tissue of the production order has never been put in place.

Now that the West Yorkshire Police are rolling out trial mobile fingerprint scanners, perhaps the day of the mobile custody suite, with all the certainty and clarity that that entails, may not be far hence and the days of the postal requisition may yet be numbered.

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.

WHO NEEDS AN INTERVIEW ROOM?

Written by Sian Hall
December 4th, 2017

In recent weeks Doncaster police seem to have largely given up on the old practice of interviewing detainees in the custody suites. A quick note in a policeman’s notebook or an interview on camera in the back of a police car seem to be sufficing.

Rather than arresting people, the police are warning them to attend the police station for the sort of informal chat that might see them on their way to the Crown Court before they know it.

This sort of informal interviewing, coupled with an apparently casual approach to questioning, that can have dire consequences, is something to look out for.

If you find that there is an officer wanting to ask you questions please remember that somebody from The Johnson Partnership is constantly available. Whether the police are proposing to interview you at your home, at a neighbourhood police station, or in the back of a police car, you are still entitled to have somebody present and we would recommend that you do.

Please contact our Doncaster office as a matter of urgency if you find yourself in this position on (01302) 360606.

A SUNDAY LUNCHTIME THREESOME IN MANSFIELD

Written by Sian Hall
November 26th, 2017

I wouldn’t want to create the impression that Mansfield is a sleepy town with not much happening. I wouldn’t want to create the impression that Mansfield has an under-worked police station.  Nevertheless, the throughput of work is generally steady and can be handled by one member of the firm moving steadily from job to job.

From time to time of course, particularly when we are or have been the 24 hour duty solicitor for Mansfield, it can be necessary for a couple of people to deal with interviews in tandem to make sure that everybody is moved through the investigation process as quickly as possible.

Last Sunday, we were a little taken aback to find that our lead police station advisor was dealing with four matters, the backup with three and there was another matter requiring urgent attention. Rather than a sleepy Sunday in Mansfield we found ourselves with three people working flat out to try to clear clients out of the police station before their Yorkshire Puddings went cold.

What you are doing is unfair and unkind.

A NEW STAR RISING IN THE EAST

Written by Sian Hall
August 22nd, 2017

 

At our Annual Partners’ Meeting Donna Pursglove from our Mansfield office was nominated as a potential Partner to be voted on by the Equity Partners in August of this year.

We are delighted to announce that on 2nd August 2017 all eight Equity Partners offered up a resounding “Yes” to the question “Would you like Donna Pursglove to be a Partner in the firm?”

 

Hardworking, caring, well-organised, thorough, humane, and supportive Donna Pursglove is an exceptional recruit to the Partnership. A skilled lawyer and tactician, Donna knows every possible twist and turn of Magistrates’ Court life.

 

As well-loved in the police stations as she is at court, Donna is a special favourite of everyone involved in the North Notts Criminal Justice and Criminal Investigation systems.

 

Much loved by colleagues and Partners alike, we can’t wait for Donna to join us for our September Partners’ Meeting but there is some fear and trepidation about the speech that she is likely to make about us all at her first Annual Partners’ Meeting next summer.

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