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CPS Agrees to Drop Serious Violence Prosecutions for Two Clients

Our clients were charged with an offence of serious violence, carrying a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment. Hill Twine Solicitors represented DF and GF at every stage in the proceedings, from the police station through to the Crown Court. Our clients were represented by Kevin Hill in the Crown Court, where the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was persuaded to drop the prosecution for serious violence. Read on for more information.

Following an altercation at a pub, our clients were charged with an offence of actual bodily harm (ABH), contrary to section 47 of the Offence Against the Person Act 1861. This offence carries a maximum sentence of 5 year imprisonment.

Hill Twine Solicitors represented the clients throughout the proceedings, from the police station through to the Crown Court.

Our clients were represented by Philomena Murphy at the first hearing in Poole Magistrates’ Court. Our clients did not accept that they were guilty of the ABH offence, but accepted they were guilty of the offence of assault by beating (contrary to section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988). This offence, also known as ‘common assault’, is a far less serious offence which carries a maximum custodial sentence of 6 months. Although their acceptance of a lesser offence was put to the prosecutor, the CPS refused to agree to drop the more serious offence. As one would expect an expert criminal lawyer to do, Philomena advised the clients on what she considered to be the most appropriate way to proceed so as to put themselves in the strongest position of being dealt with only for the offence they accepted they were guilty of. The magistrates’ court sent the case for trial in Bournemouth Crown Court.

Our clients were originally charged with an offence of ABH, which carries a maximum of 5 years’ imprisonment

Our clients were represented at Bournemouth Crown Court by Kevin Hill. Our clients maintained their innocence to the ABH offence and continued to accept the less serious assault offence. This time, the CPS indicated the pleas to the less serious offences were acceptable and agreed to drop the prosecution for the ABH offences.

Kevin took full instructions from the clients and addressed the court successfully on their behalf. As well as advancing their personal mitigation, he drew the Learned Judge’s attention to the fact that the clients had been willing to plead guilty to the less serious offence from the outset of the court proceedings. He argued that the clients should receive full credit for their guilty pleas on the basis they were willing to plead guilty at the magistrates’ court but could not do so because of the stance taking by the CPS.

The Learned Judge was persuaded by the mitigation advanced by Kevin on the clients’ behalf and agreed to give our clients full credit for their pleas. This meant that he reduced the sentence he would have otherwise given on conviction after trial by one-third (the maximum reduction allowed). Not only that, he was persuaded by Kevin to depart from the sentencing guidelines and gave the clients 18-month conditional discharges instead of sentencing them. This means that he considered the circumstances to be such that he would discharge the clients for the offences on the condition that they do not re-offence within the next 18 months (if somebody re-offends during the period of a conditional discharge the court can sentence them for the new offence as well as sentencing them for the offence which was originally dealt with by way of a conditional discharge).

In the Crown Court, the CPS agreed to drop the prosecutions against both of our client for the ABH offences

Cases such as this demonstrate why it is so important for people charged with criminal offences to be properly represented by expert criminal lawyers. As in this case, you may accept parts of the prosecution’s case against you, but not others. In such circumstances, you need to be represented by criminal lawyers who are willing to fight your position and have the skills to do so. Achieving outcomes such as the one in this case is not easy nor straightforward and can only be done by lawyers who are proficient in court procedure and adept at advising clients on the best options to take without putting themselves in a worse position. As this case demonstrates, the lawyers at Hill Twine Solicitors are particularly skilled at achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients in all the circumstances. We pride ourselves on doing so.

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