A Case Study
The police stopped Charlie Ritcher in central London and accused him of using his mobile phone whilst driving. (This was an allegation of using the phone to have a conversation as opposed to using it as a sat nav). One officer claimed he had watched as Charlie drove by with the phone to his ear. Charlie and his passenger denied it from the outset. Charlie’s father, Geoffrey Ritcher, contacted me and asked what he should do.
Geoffrey had worked for solicitors in the past and was able to undertake the preparatory work himself. Consequently, I advised him to take detailed witness statements from his son and passenger whilst the details were still fresh in the memory. Then, father and son came to see me. I took down detailed instructions and tendered advice on case preparation. Based upon what I had been told I advised on completion of the Single Justice Notice Procedure Form setting out the basis of the defence, which witnesses we would be calling and how we challenged the police case. This was important in that certain matters were put formally on the record by the way this Notice was completed.
8 months had elapsed from the time of the incident until the day of the trial. We attended at Lavender Hill Magistrates’ Court in central London. We all met very shortly after 0900 hours at court. We were first to arrive and sign in with the court usher. There were 4 matters listed in the trial court at 10 am. Clearly, there would not be time for all 4 matters to be heard and some might have to be adjourned. Consequently, we had arrived early in the hope we would be called on first. We were. The case was heard. We won and Charlie was acquitted with reputation fully intact.
Early case preparation whilst matters were still fresh in the memory can be critical in providing the basis for a solid defence. In this case, we were much better prepared than the CPS who were outmanoeuvred and, frankly, embarrassed in court. Charlie was kind enough to post a testimonial the same day:
‘…Sunil presented my case fantastically and got the result I was hoping for. I was found not guilty. I would just like to say a huge thank you and I would highly recommend Sunil at Kent traffic law.’
Geoffrey emailed me the next day: ‘Just wanted to write and thank you once again for making sure Charlie had a voice in court yesterday, we could not have done it without you. Charlie was amazed at your performance so much so that he said he wished he could have been a barrister, you really impressed him!’