Posts Tagged ‘ Criminal offences ’

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.

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.


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.

Since the early 90’s successive governments have slashed the number of Magistrates’ Courts. Indeed, under the current administration we have even seen Doncaster’s Crown Court all but mothballed.

As courts have closed, so many solicitors have stopped providing a service for criminal clients in smaller towns and suburbs. Criminal solicitors have tended to centre around the courts that are left.

Until recently, Nottinghamshire has had three Magistrates’ Courts in Worksop, Mansfield, and Nottingham. However as of  October 2014 the Crown Prosecution Service ceased to prosecute cases at the Worksop courthouse.  This leaves only Nottingham and Mansfield courts in a county that once had additional courthouses in Bingham, Newark, Retford, and Southwell.

In an attempt to ensure that we avoid the problem of advice deserts, The Johnson Partnership Solicitors’ aim, wherever possible, is to provide a service for clients in their own areas.

The Johnson Partnership’s Mansfield office still aims to reach out to clients in Worksop, Retford and the surrounding areas to ensure that the government’s cuts do not mean that court users have to suffer.

Our commitment to seeing clients at home or at mutually convenient neutral venues means that The Johnson Partnership will still remain criminal solicitors for the people of Worksop and Retford who will now have to travel into Mansfield to attend court. Arrangements with other local firms mean that office space will be available for us to see The Johnson Partnership Worksop and The Johnson Partnership Retford clients on their own doorsteps.

By dint of having a number of members of staff resident in or close to Newark, The Johnson Partnership’s Newark clients can also guarantee that they will have somebody immediately on hand if they are to be questioned by the police at the Newark custody suite. Anyone needing to see a Johnson Partnership solicitor between the police station and court can make appropriate arrangements to be seen either at the offices of Payne & Gamage Solicitors or at their own homes.

Where The Johnson Partnership solicitors at Worksop, The Johnson Partnership Solicitors at Retford, The Johnson Partnership Solicitors at Newark, The Johnson Partnership Solicitors at Sutton in Ashfield, The Johnson Partnership Solicitors at Kirkby in Ashfield, or The Johnson Partnership Solicitors at Hucknall clients are having difficulty in attending court, they, along with clients based in smaller towns within the county, are welcome to contact the office the day before their court appearance to see whether appropriate travel arrangements can be made to help them make the extended journey to either Nottingham Crown Court, Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, or Mansfield Magistrates’ Court.

By providing an outreach service for clients living around Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands, we aim to ensure that problems of access and travel are kept to a minimum for The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Nottinghamshire clients.

Throughout the 1990’s and the early noughties our best advertising was always with Yellow Pages.  Our Nottingham office was marketed with as many as three adverts in one directory, all extolling various benefits of choosing The Johnson Partnership.  The adverts promised everything from solicitors carrying out home visits to guaranteed appointments with women solicitors as well as same day appointments, and all sorts of offers of appointments with solicitors who spoke Urdu, Punjabi, Spanish, German, French, Swedish, Dutch, etc, etc, etc.

Whenever we’ve opened a new office, it was generally on a tide of new Yellow Pages investment.  The Johnson Partnership Derby office opened with a full page advert proclaiming the benefits of a new Defence solicitors in town, promising help for everybody from motorists to murderers.

When our Mansfield office opened, we advertised not only in the Mansfield Yellow Pages but in the Yellow Pages for surrounding areas, confirming that we were indeed solicitors for Worksop, solicitors for Newark, and solicitors for Retford.  We could be visited at our Mansfield office and we would reach out from that office to all and sundry.

Inevitably, the new Chesterfield office was met with a fanfare of Yellow Pages advertising.  The presence of the new Chesterfield office was heralded in the Yellow Pages pushed through letterboxes not only in Chesterfield, but in Dronfield, Buxton, and even Sheffield.

Each September brought new excitement as we discovered exactly where our adverts were, how much bigger they were than our competitors, and how well they stood out.

It is incredible to think that in 2015 our Yellow Pages expenditure and indeed our Yellow Pages exposure will have been reduced to almost nothing.

Rather than employing teams of energetic healthy students to deliver books that Geoff Capes could not tear in half, the 2014 Yellow Pages barely makes a sound when it hits the mat.  Instead of its former majesty, the publication is A5 size and boasts a significant array of insurance adverts.

There is no doubting that as far as The Johnson Partnership is concerned, our advertising has gone in other directions.

Of course, we have fought hard to build up our internet presence.  Rather than buying sponsored adverts on Google’s front page, we have tried to ensure that we have a proper presence, based on our own website as close to the top of the Google index as we can make it.  We have been grateful to our friends at National Solicitors for the assistance that they have given in helping us promote our brand and we are still delighted to say that a good tranche of work comes to us through people enquiring of

A new trend in criminal investigation has been the voluntary interviewing of clients who are not formally under arrest.

Warning clients to attend at police stations, or arranging to see them at their home to facilitate an interview away from the delays and problems of the custody suite is obviously appealing to many officers.

There has long been a concern that clients who are warned to attend for voluntary interviews will be susceptible to pressure to agree to be interviewed without a solicitor.  In fact, in the course of the last weekend, The Johnson Partnership have dealt with five voluntary interviews spread around four separate police stations, none of which have custody suites.

Clients who sought out the Firm either on the internet or through Yellow Pages, have made prior contact with The Johnson Partnership’s on call solicitor to arrange for support, advice and help to be available either when an officer has arrived at their home or when they have attended for voluntary interview at a non-designated police station.

In fact, police officers who have been contacted ahead of interview have generally shown themselves to be open to providing disclosure of their case ahead of time, to assist in avoiding delays when clients’ arrive to be questioned.

Rest assured that wherever possible The Johnson Partnership solicitors and clerks will be available to assist clients who are to be questioned by the police, within striking distance of one of our offices, whenever and wherever that may be.  Simply call our 24 Hour Helplines to make the necessary arrangements.

Sympathetic Service for Travelling Clients

Written by Editor
December 3rd, 2015

The Johnson Partnership Criminal defence solicitors has long had an association with the travelling community at all levels.  Not only have solicitors been involved in providing emergency practical advice to community leaders, but we have also regularly looked after travelling clients at all our seven offices.

A recent demonstration of the demands placed on the Firm by clients of a more nomadic temperament occurred in early January, when Kate Fairburn from the Derby office, found herself making a successful bail application for a travelling client before the Burnley Magistrates’ Court at 10am, before moving onto a monumentally successful plea in mitigation for a client from an entirely different family who found herself bailed to attend at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court at 1:30pm.

It is hard to suggest that the day’s work was a particularly profitable one, but both clients clearly benefited from having a solicitor who knew not only their own stories but members of their wider families to assist her in providing vital and persuasive information to both courts.

The proposed Ministry of Justice cuts in funding will make this sort of supportive and caring service provision less and less common.  Ironically, the increased burden upon a duty solicitor, forced to deal with an untrusting and inarticulate client in highly emotional circumstances would be likely to result in an even heavier financial burden being placed on a system that is all but creaking to a halt!


Written by Editor
November 30th, 2015

Recently it has been noticeable that the Barnsley office Duty Solicitors have been called on to provide more and more out of office cover.

Brian Bushell, Abbie Rowling, Moira McFarlane and the inestimable Eric Bray have all been providing out of hours cover for The Johnson Partnership and Duty Solicitor clients.

As far as follow-up help and support is concerned, the Barnsley office remains a convenient town centre base for clients to visit either with or without appointments.

Abbie Rowling is uniquely placed to help those clients who find that they are having to appear in West Yorkshire courts, having strayed across the border.  Splitting her time between the Dearne Valley and Mansfield, Moira McFarlane is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and well-connected addition to the Barnsley office.

The increased number of on-call solicitors ensures that we are able to cover our own cases in-house, even when Eric’s attending to masses at Oakwell and beyond and Brian is doing missionary work among the heathen tribes of Northamptonshire.


Written by Editor
November 27th, 2015

The group in the Scunthorpe office’s caseload is testimony to the hard work of all concerned.  At a time other local solicitors are closing their doors The Johnson Partnership remains committed to providing a top quality service to the people of Scunthorpe and beyond who find themselves involved in either a criminal investigation or the Criminal Justice system.

With rumours of court closures and talk of government restrictions, we have decided to press ahead undaunted.  At the moment, five fee earners are regularly based out of the Scunthorpe office: Sunny Dhinsa, Rachel Smith and Kate Fairburn and the tireless Tarryn Guest.

Sunny, Rachel, and Tarryn have particularly strong Scunthorpe links, living in and around the town.

Kate Fairburn’s connections are historically much further east at Humberside and Lincolnshire, but with family members in and around Grimsby and a growing familiarity with the local courts and police she is able to bring her own broader knowledge and expertise there on behalf of the people of Scunthorpe.

Ironically, Kirsty Sargent, who works at our Chesterfield office, is someone who is also educated in the Scunthorpe area and knows the town inside out.

With this dedicated group of Criminal Defence Scunthorpe solicitors and support staff, The Johnson Partnership is demonstrating total commitment to growing our Scunthorpe presence and profile.


Written by Editor
November 18th, 2015

At a point at which a number of local practices have shut up shop,  The Johnson Partnership’s Scunthorpe office goes from strength to strength.

In Scunthorpe the recent changes in the Criminal Defence scene have left The Johnson Partnership unscathed.  Our usual team of committed staff have begun to take a grip on a larger share of the local market.

Headed up by Sunny Dhinsa and backed up by Rachel Smith, we provide an end to end service with excellent police station cover available every hour of every day, and superb Crown Court support from the uncompromising Tarryn Guest.

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