Sunday, September 24, 2006

Phew

I recently represented a Client for a matter of driving without due care and attention. As the Client's case did not qualify for legal aid they funded their case on a private basis.

The case took about six months to deal with from start to finish. The trial took place recently and I am pleased to report that I secured another acquittal. Before my critics start jumping up and down suggesting that private money has been the root cause for the acquittal let me explain that this is a case that should not have been prosecuted from the start.

My Client was alleged to have been the cause of a road traffic accident. There were two prosecution witnesses who claimed to have seen the accident. The first witness said that a lorry had crossed through a junction and that because of this lorry the 'other' driver was responsible for the crash. The second witness said that no lorry had been at the junction and she had not seen my Client cause the accident anyway.

At the half way point in the trial when the Prosecution had completed their evidence I made a submission of 'no case to answer'. The Magistrates decided that the Prosecution evidence taken at its highest was such that a Court could not properly convict. At hearing this news my Client began to cry at the sheer joy of being acquitted.

I escorted my Client out of Court as the trial for the 'other' driver continued. Most Clients are fairly unresponsive to being found guilty, being found not guilty, or even being sentenced to prison. Many of my repeat Clients do not consider being sent to prison as something that will overly concern them, and therefore they show very little emotion if sentenced to prison. This particular Client explained that they had been so worried over this case that they had lost sleep and appeared to have genuinely suffered emotionally in the time it took the case to come to trial.

I was rather pleased to see that the result I had secured actually meant something to this Client. What was even better was the fact that the Client had thanked me for the work that I had undertaken on her behalf. Clients rarely say thank you.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a very nice feeling when you do your job and have a satisfied client, who is grateful for your efforts. Those odd days when that happens make the rest worthwhile.

On Friday I represented a client on an appeal to the Crown Court who had been convicted of assaulting a police officer.

His appeal was successful, quite rightly as the police officer's evidence appeared contrived. The judge said so, when allowing the appeal.

There is a real feeling of achievement.

Anonymous said...

I was absolutely amazed on Friday when a client I had represented at the police station rang me upon his release to thank me. My advice had been that he ought to tell the truth as he was raising the defence of self-defence to an allegation. He did so and the police obtained CPS advice and declined to proceed.

I would love to have been able to claim that my advice was the difference between success and failure for the client but I was merely a crutch for my client who almost wanted someone to validate their version of events and give them some moral support.

I told my client this - I firmly believe that it is important to tell them the truth, even when it is unpalatable - and that is why it was so surprising he rang to thank me.

It just goes to show how how much pleasure simple good manners can bring.

Smartie said...

Ahhh its a nice feeling to get such a result, esp when one thinks that the CPS should not have been prosecuting your case in the first place.

I had a similar instance on Friday re. an RTA Careless Driving, failure to stop and report and my client was found Not Guilty - I firmly believed that from the start!

Sometimes I do wonder about the CPS and their criteria for 'charging', but having recently made an application to join, I'd like to think its the higher echelons that are responsible for the crap decisions that seep down ;) hehe.

pakman said...

Would your punter have given evidence if the case had got beyond half time? If he had would the result have been the same?

Gavin said...

pakman,

My Client would have given evidence as this was not your usual "try a half time submission because that is the best hope we have" kind of case.

The Prosecution witnesses could not agree on their evidence, and the more persuasive Prosecution witness appeared to be more of a Defence witness when you considered their evidence.

pakman said...

"try a half time submission because that is the best hope we have"

LOL!

May I suggest a variation?

"try a half time submission because that is the ONLY hope we have"

Anonymous said...

now we wouldn't want the truth to get on the way of a good trial now would we!

A solicitor that advises his client ot tell the truth you must be a rare breed indeed.

Tony H said...

Gavin,
I trust that you were not so flushed with your success that you failed to make an application for costs?
I can recall my first magistates' acquittal- the defendant, who was not legally aided, was acquitted of nicking the blue light from a police car. I was so super-chuffed that I forgot the application for costs. The one and only time i did this!
t

Gavin said...

Tony H,

I always remember to get the bench to say that costs from central funds are payable. That is part of the lure of private work, being able to say to the Client, "If you win you will receive back all reaosnable expenses incurred in defending your case".

Anonymous said...

"I told my client this - I firmly believe that it is important to tell them the truth, even when it is unpalatable - and that is why it was so surprising he rang to thank me."

You are to be commended. I had a "client" i had arrested on a warrant in the back of my police car. He told me a story of how he had been charged with an offence, and he told his defence lawyer he wanted to plead guilty as he "had done it." He stated his defence lawyer told him that if he enetered a plea of guilty he would not represent him, so the guy put in a plea of not guilty, and the result was he was found not guilty! At the end of the day society and the victim's are the only ones that will suffer.

Its nice to see a bit of honesty, and also things from the defences perspective.