Wednesday, September 14, 2005
I went off to deal with a particular case at the Magistrates Court today. My Client was remanded in custody three weeks ago to be sentenced today for a matter of driving whilst disqualified. This Client had seven previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified, and the Court appearance was for the Client to be sentenced for his eighth offence.
I prepared for this case yesterday afternoon, and noticed that we had previously represented the Client. I pulled out the previous file on the Client. His list of previous convictions on the new file suggested that he recently got a four month prison sentence for driving whilst disqualified. The old file stated that he in fact received a four month prison sentence suspended for twelve months! The Client's list of previous convictions was clearly wrong and there was no information on the new file to alert the CPS or Court to the suspended prison sentence.
Solicitors have a duty of confidentiality and therefore it was not for me to put the Court right. Provided that I did not mislead the Court it was perfectly acceptable for me to not correct the Court and just acknowledge that I had seen the list of previous convictions.
The hearing went rather smoothly and thankfully no questions were asked about the suspended sentence that was incorrectly recorded on the Client's list of previous convictions. Rather ironically I was able to keep the Client out of prison and he was given another suspended prison sentence!