This is the official blog of Sgt Ellie Bloggs, a real live police sergeant on the front line of England. It's not the official opinion of my police force, but all the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't pay my salary.


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Friday, April 06, 2007

Part Three of My Solicitors' Guide

So far I have explained how to ensure the safety of your client throughout police detention, interview and charge. Now, in the third instalment of my Solicitors' Guide, which national newspapers have described in no way, I will give you tips on protecting your client during the court process.

The important thing to remember is the golden rule: There is no penalty for pleading Not-Guilty. This is because your client can change his/her plea at any time with no likelihood of a higher sentence. In any event, it isn't the solicitor who will go to prison anyway. Alongside the Not-Guilty plea, you should request a series of time-consuming investigative actions from the police without which you will claim your client cannot have a fair trial.

The thinking behind the Not-Guilty plea is that the longer the case goes on for, the higher the chance that one of the following things will occur:

  • The police will lose the file.
  • The prosecution will lose the file.
  • The victim will change their mind.
  • The witnesses will move abroad.
  • The police will fail to do something you asked and you can file for abuse of process.
  • The officer in charge of the case wil leave the force.
  • The defendant might stay clean for a few months and you can use this as a reason for a lower sentence.
  • The magistrates will feel it isn't really fair to convict someone after so long.

If the case does get to court, by no means advise a change of plea before checking the following factors:

  • Has any witness failed to turn up? This can include the guy from the police control room who copies tapes.
  • Are there other trials double-booked for the same courtroom?
  • Can your client produce a medical note stating s/he is ill?
  • Has someone in your cient's family died?
  • Can you produce a mystery witness name at the last minute and say you want them called, for which the case will have to be delayed?

If the answer to any of these is "yes", you can apply for a discontinuance or adjournment. For the reasons why this is a good thing, see above. In the unlucky event that the case goes ahead on the day, only NOW should you read the file and decide whether your cient is so obviously guilty that even a magistrate couldn't help but convict them. In that case, advise a Guilty plea.

Whilst guidelines state that the reduction in sentence for a plea "At the door of the court" (first day of trial) may only be one tenth, in practice magistrates get so excited at the fact this is one of the times they can use their discretion that they will jump at the chance. the sentence wi therefore be no different than if your client had admitted the offence in police interview on Day 1 - but wth a lot more public money wasted in the process. Now that can never be a bad thing!

By the way, thank you for the appreciative comments yesterday - that's more praise than my force has given me in the last three years!

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Copyright of PC Bloggs.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

well here's another comment good blog.
john

06 April, 2007 15:49

 
Anonymous Bao Chi said...

Absolutely spiffing blog actually dear girl...

06 April, 2007 15:52

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have moved your blog up above Gadget all you have to do is continue with your first class bits and pieces - watch out Copperfield she's right behind you........

06 April, 2007 16:16

 
Blogger GirlNextDoor said...

It's the rapier like wit I like, how I can be if people make me cross or wind me up, quite often come to think of it. Only problem is the people who you REALLY want to notice, it's them the sarcasm is wasted on! *sob*
And yes, excellent blog! :o)

06 April, 2007 18:54

 
Anonymous PC Bitseach said...

It's really the CPS's fault - they let the defence away with murder and don't fight anything. I had to attend a family funeral and gave them notice that I could not attend court as a witness but rather than ask for adjournment the CPS "offered no evidence" despite the fact that I had written a statement that would have creamed the little turd that was in the dock, and had I been there, the ar5ey defence would probably have "section 9-ed" it anyway!

I have no confidence whatsoever in the criminal justice system (and how sad is THAT?)

I'd tell you that I love your blog too, but you might get above yourself and think you're special or something, so in the good police tradition, I shall just say, "yeah, not bad" ("for a girl") LOL ;o)

06 April, 2007 21:24

 
Blogger busybizzie said...

Just want to say I think your blogs crap. I only read it every day to see if it can get any worse.
(I'm hoping for promotion one day)

07 April, 2007 10:22

 
Blogger staghounds said...

I am stunned that ANY defendant who is not in jail EVER pleads to ANYTHING. If they all demanded trials, the whole rickety thing would collapse.

As gar as blaming anyone, the blame falls on two actors in the system.

First, the Parliaments, who do not fund sufficient places to put the criminals we catch. Thus "prison overcrowding" drives the catch and release process, early release, parole, etc. Since few criminals are confined or deterred, the courts endlessly reprocess the same criminals for similar crimes against similar victims.

Second the judges, who:

1. collude with and protect the legislators by refusing to pass appropriate sentences; and

2. utterly refuse to WORK and MOVE CASES. It is a mystery to me that Judges kiss everything that will hold still in order to to get the job, then they won't do it.

Make no mistake, court runs the way it does because the judges want it that way. They are the real problem.

CPS lawyers find no benefit to good work, and defence lawyers profit from the way things are run.


Of course all this is correctable by the people. As long as crime is something that happens to the politically inarticulate, or as something that isn't a vote changer, it won't be attacked appropriately.

In the U. S., crime happens to people, and is committed by people, who are almost uniformly on the dole. Those people almost uniformly vote for the Democratic party and are one of its core constituencies.

Crime generally does not DIRECTLY and PERSONALLY reach people who earn a living and don't live near public housing. Republican voters almost entirely come from populations which don't see crime as a personal problem.

So since one party already owns the participants, and the other's voters don't care, no motive for either party to get serious.

Make no mistake, crime could be reduced to Victorian levels again, but only by sufficient confinement. That means enough that there's always room for YOU, if you steal that car or break into that house.

08 April, 2007 16:08

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should stop sulking. The protections are there for all the innocent people being arrested because it's the easier option. I've rarely seen anyone 'get away with it'. Local Judges (at any rate) sentence harshly usually. If you don't want people 'getting off' investigate properly with an open mind and arrest the right people.

10 April, 2007 12:28

 
Anonymous pc stich said...

Too right - for the second time I attended court for xxx driver their defense doesn't bother itself to turn up. What do the mags do? Adjorn for trial to a new date. On the same day an (insignificant) prosecution witness doessn't show - what happens? Discontinued. What's wrong with the world and what planet do magistrates live on. I want to go there because it must be utopian.

13 April, 2007 16:21

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over at the Blog homeofthe greenarrow there is a "plea to serving police officers"
Its really good, obviously written by an ex or serving copper.
This blog is awesome BTW!

13 April, 2007 23:59

 
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