Archive for the ‘ Criminal Law ’ Category


During the Coronavirus epidemic Amy-Jo Cutts has been a constant presence at our Barnsley office. Backed up by support staff including Crown Court supremo Carol Schofield, the office is well placed to deal with all sorts of enquiries. Police stations, Magistrates’ Court hearings, Crown Court hearings, are all mean drink to our Barnsley team.

Please contact us on (01226) 785100.

During to Coronavirus epidemic, our Mansfield office will be staffed by Chris Perry and Donna Pursglove with extra help from Andy Bostock. We are available to advise on a 24 hour basis and we are available to attend the police stations either personally or by video link as well as at Magistrates’ Courts both locally and nationally.

Chris, Donna and Andy are staffing the office personally and will be able to respond to enquiries with speed and alacrity except of course when they are involved in court hearings or police station interviews. Please contact us on (01623) 427575.

During to Coronavirus epidemic, our Derby office will be staffed by Theo Addae , Mark Luckett and Shelly Johnson. We are available to advise on a 24 hour basis and we are available to attend the police stations either personally or by video link as well as at Magistrates’ Courts both locally and nationally.

Theo, Mark and Shelly are staffing the office personally and will be able to respond to enquiries with speed and alacrity except of course when they are involved in court hearings or police station interviews. Please contact us on (01332) 370473.

Our Nottingham office remains relatively busy in terms of staff and cases. Our Fraud Department is pressing ahead with their ongoing preparation of long running matters. The Proceeds of Crime team are still able to make progress with all of their customary day to day enquiries on clients’ behalves.

Police stations have been covered throughout the region and beyond either by video link or, wherever possible, by face to face attendance.

Our Crown Court team have been reduced dramatically, but are servicing the shorter hearings that are listed on a daily basis as well as preparing for up and coming longstanding trials.

The Magistrates’ Team have been reduced, but as it is mainly staffed by longstanding Partners of the firm there are plenty of people available to attend at court in person or by video link.

Our Higher Courts Advocate team are daily carrying out as many as a dozen hearings to Crown Courts throughout Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire, Birmingham, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Lancashire.

Our Prison Law team have been perhaps at their busiest. Adjudications are less frequent at the present time, but the Parole Board continue to accept representations and hold hearings either by way video link or by telephone.   The daily flow of Prison Law enquiries is immense, but Euan, Alastair, Shannon, and Iona are all working flat out to make sure that we make contact with people as quickly as possible and try and help them through their difficulties.

Never hesitate to contact us whoever and wherever you are on (0115) 941 9141.

PARKIN ISN’T JUST FOR BONFIRE NIGHT!

Written by admin
December 30th, 2019

A Yorkshire lass with a great Yorkshire name: Sarah Parkin, is the new recruit to our Barnsley Litigator Team.  Replacing the much missed and enormously accomplished Amanda Armitage, Sarah is already showing a thorough understanding of law and tactics.

Having come to us from Thompsons Solicitors, Sarah is now an enthusiastic member of The Johnson Partnership Barnsley team.  Dividing her time between the Barnsley office and Sheffield Crown Court, Sarah is already briefing Counsel, seeing clients at the office, at court or in custody, and giving thoughtful consideration to intricate sets of facts and complicated defences.

Sarah is a great recruit and we look forward to watching her blossom with the firm.

JOINT AND SEVERABLE!

Written by admin
December 24th, 2019

Where a number of people are said to be involved in a particular incident and particularly in a conspiracy of some kind, a question often arises as to whether or not they should all be tried together or tried in groups.  This is never a straightforward decision and needs to be given some really careful consideration in the light of the facts of any particular case.

If you find yourself representing somebody who is said to be a “main player” or somebody who is very central to the allegation, it may be inevitable that the number of others will be tried alongside them.

When you are representing somebody who is “a bit of a tail end Charlie” things are often less clear.  Is it better for that person to shine against a darker background and remain in a trial with some of the “main players” or is it be better for them to be separated entirely to avoid the risk of being “tarred with the same brush”.

So much depends on the particular facts and allegations that a client faces, as well as the actual personality and character of the particular client.

I am delighted to say that at The Johnson Partnership we have always taken a great deal of time to consider exactly what our preference is.  Spending time with the client, talking things through, getting to know somebody, are all vital parts of making the decision either to apply for somebody to be kept together with others or tried separately.  However big the case may be, and however many people are said to be involved, it is important never to forget that each defendant is an individual with their own circumstances, feelings and characteristics.  If you are feeling like you are just another cog in a machine, the time might have come to talk to us at The Johnson Partnership to get the individual treatment you deserve!

YOU NEVER KNOW UNTIL YOU TRY IT

Written by admin
December 12th, 2019

We have an opportunity in our Advocacy Department for either Junior Counsel or an aspiring HCA who would like to try working with The Johnson Partnership in-house.

The successful candidate would be able to work primarily either in the Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln, Grimsby, or Sheffield Crown Courts, according to their own location and preference.

A short term contract based on maternity cover could easily be extended for a successful and promising candidate.

Working in-house means freedom from the political rambling of Barristers’ Chambers as well as guaranteed holidays with pay and sickness and maternity entitlements.  It would incorporate however freedom rather than the strictures of a 9:00am to 5:30pm working day.

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.

SUCKED OFF BY CPS

Written by admin
September 8th, 2019

At a time when it is increasingly hard to persuade newly qualified solicitors to work in the criminal courts and offer their services as duty solicitors on a 24 hour rota basis.  At a time when experienced expert criminal solicitors are refusing to work on the 24 hour duty solicitor rota because they have done it for the last 15, 20, 25 or 30 years and cannot face it anymore. A new wound is opened up in the side of the Defence community.

Over the last three years there has been a steady flow of Defence solicitors to the Crown Prosecution Service.  The CPS offer a working life devoid of out of hours commitments.  There is no need to work in the decrepit and hostile environment of the police stations.  You will not meet with mentally unwell, drug addicted, or angry and antagonistic clients on a day to day basis.  Finally, you will benefit from all of the civil service benefits negotiated over a lengthy period of time by a skilled and experienced set of union negotiators.

21 years on from the last increase in legal aid rates, wages and conditions at the CPS seem increasingly attractive to the employees and Partners of criminal firms.

If Boris Johnson’s increase in policemen on the ground is to be accompanied by an increase in prosecutors to deal with the new prosecutions and arrests that must surely follow, we can expect more and more people to be sucked away from real or potential jobs within the Defence community.  Let’s face it, there are few enough people who want to work in crime overall.  If the Crown are to recruit more from this limited pool, the effect on Defence firms and duty solicitor rotas is likely to be catastrophic.

SLAUGHTER OF THOSE PROTECTING THE INNOCENT

Written by admin
September 3rd, 2019

Figures published by CLSA and The Law Society indicate a 29% drop in the number of duty solicitors since 2016.  This has caused us to review our own position and the position of duty solicitors in the areas that we serve.

As far as duty solicitors in Nottingham are concerned, there was a time when 104 names appeared on the duty solicitor rota.  In October there will be no more than 71.  Plainly, this fall is higher than the national average.

As far as duty solicitors in Derby are concerned, at the high tide there were 74 names on the rota, but as of October 2019 it will be down to 51.   A dramatic fall for a rota that has to provide duty solicitors for Derby, Ilkeston, Ripley, Alfreton and beyond.

In Sheffield, it is harder to compare numbers of duty solicitors as the closure of the Rotherham court has confused matters to some extent.  The simple reality however is that for a city of well over half a million people there are only 46 duty solicitors on the rota.  With three duty solicitors required to attend court Monday to Friday, this is a real problem area.

In Barnsley, the number of duty solicitors has fallen from 25 to 16.  Doncaster duty solicitors are down from 38 to 23.  In Grimsby there are now 19 duty solicitors to cover an area that used to have both a Scunthorpe and a Grimsby rota handling the work.

The Lincoln duty solicitor rota at current shows 19 names, but this substantial university town is likely to be by no more than 17.

There can be no doubt that the failure to increase rates for remuneration and the growing distance involved in travelling to service “local” clients are factors that are contributed to the disappearance of enthusiastic young solicitors and the early retirement of those who have been doing it for many years.  If ever there was a time for the government to address the factors that have seen this service cut to the bone, it must surely be now.

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