Why should I have a solicitor at the police station?
Why wouldn’t you? For a start, it’s free. To everybody, no matter how much or how little they earn. That should probably be a good enough reason in itself, but many people still choose not to have a solicitor.
What happens in the police station goes a long way to deciding the outcome of the case
If you end up in court many months later, the Judge and jury, or magistrates, will know what you said or didn’t say in your interview and will pay close attention to it. If you do the right thing in your interview, you might not even get to court. You might be given a caution or your case might be dealt with in another way that means you don’t have to go to court. You might not even be charged.
It doesn’t make you look guilty
If you were ill you would go to a doctor. If your car breaks down you go to a garage. You get help from someone who knows that they are doing and is there to help you.
You won’t have to wait hours for a solicitor; at least not for one of our solicitors
When you are arrested there is usually a lot of work for the police to do before you are interviewed. It is that work that takes time, not waiting for a solicitor. If you say you want a solicitor as soon as you get to the police station, we will be contacted by the police and can arrange to attend when the police are ready to deal with you. If you are attending by appointment (often called an interview by appointment or caution +3), we will meet you there.
Just because you feel you haven’t done anything wrong, doesn’t mean you don’t need a solicitor
In fact, it makes you need one even more because if you say or do the wrong thing, you might end up getting charged with something you didn’t do.
If you are in a cell in the police station, there is no such thing as ‘not very serious’
Calling us to come and represent you is not ‘bothering us’. It is what solicitors are there for.
You can call us during office hours on 020 7388 1658 or 24 hours a day on 07939958767. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org
John Howey, Senior SolicitorRead More
Victory against unlawful stop and search
Duncan Roberts recently represented a client charged with possession of a bladed article.
The client had been present at the scene of an incident he had witnessed and was assisting police. Almost an hour after the police met him they decided to search him. They recovered a knife in the pocket of the jacket he was wearing.
Duncan argued that the officer who had been speaking to our client had no reasonable grounds for suspicion, and as such could not legally search our client. The officer claimed that he was relying on his superior officer’s suspicion. Duncan argued that as that officer had not been named and no statement provided by them, those suspicions amounted to hearsay and therefore could not be repeated before the court.
This meant that the Officer who conducted the search had no lawful reasons for searching our client.
There were also a number of other aspects of the search which were not conducted in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).
The result of this argument was that if the search was unlawful, the fact that the knife was found could not be relied upon and there was no case to answer.
4 Main procedures in a stop and search
- The police officer must identify himself appropriately;
- must show his warrant card;
- must identify the item sought;
- must provide a written record of the search or inform a suspect that a record can be made available for them.
If one or more of these procedures are failed, the search itself could be unlawful, and therefore weaken the case against you.
If you have been found in possession of a weapon, drugs or anything else illegal and are unsure whether the search was lawfully conducted contact us. We can advise on the procedures the police should undertake and whether they have conducted a stop and search appropriately.
How can we help?
If you need specialist advice in relation to any criminal investigation or prosecution, from the initial investigation through to court proceedings, please get in touch with. Call John Howey on 020 7388 1658 or email email@example.com. Let us help.
If you are contacted by a client who suspects that there is a European Arrest Warrant issued for their arrest, that person can contact the National Crime Agency to confirm this and arrange a surrender to their local police station. If a client knows that there is a European Arrest Warrant in their name (or a warrant from a Part II country outside the EU) it is often advisable for that person to surrender to their local police station or to Westminster Magistrates Court, as this will greatly increase their chances of being granted bail later on.
Practical steps that clients can take to help themselves
If their passport or ID card has not been seized, they should try to have it brought to the police station. It will need to be surrendered if the client is to be granted bail, and only if the police can confirm they have it; it will save time later on. Steps should be taken to put a security in place. In extradition proceedings, it is incredibly rare for someone to be granted bail without a security being paid into Westminster Magistrates (a surety usually isn’t sufficient, either).
Following arrest, the client must be taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court “as soon as practicable”. In practice that means the same day if they are arrested very early in the morning, or they live near London. If not, it is likely to be the next day. Westminster is the only Magistrates Court in the country that deals with extradition cases. There have been occasions when a client has been charged with an offence in this country, remanded to appear at their local magistrate’s court and only after they have appeared there are they brought to Westminster. That is not ‘as soon as practicable’; they have to be brought to Westminster first. If they are not, then the extradition proceedings are likely to be discharged. If they also face criminal proceedings in this country, the extradition case will then be put on hold until the criminal case has finished.
At Westminster Magistrates’ Court, a copy of the warrant, arrest statement and PNC will be provided by the Crown Prosecution Service. The arrest statement should state when your client has been arrested and when he or she was given a copy of the warrant. The District Judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court will have to be satisfied that your client is the person identified in the warrant, and that he has been taken to court and provided with a copy of the warrant as soon as practicable. If the Judge is satisfied with these preliminary issues, then consent to extradition will be put to your client.
If your client wishes to consent to the request for their extradition, then this has to be given in writing. The legal advisor will prepare this form for your client to sign. If your client wants to resist extradition, then the issues or bars to extradition will need to be identified. The Judge will then conduct a case management and set a date for the full hearing.
A bail application will then be heard. This application can be heard regardless of whether your client consents to extradition or not. There is a presumption in favour of bail if your client is wanted for trial (known as an “accusation warrant”). There is no presumption in favour of bail if your client is wanted to serve a sentence (known as a “conviction warrant”). However, most Judges will be minded to grant conditional bail so long as a substantial security is available.
The Judge will most likely make a direction that legal aid is applied for within 7 days. All persons arrested in extradition proceedings will pass the ‘merits’ test. They are subjected to the same ‘means’ test that is carried out when you apply for legal aid in the Magistrates’ Court.
John Howey, Senior SolicitorRead More
What happens from the time you are arrested can be vital in determining the outcome of the case. The first thing you should do is get a solicitor. We always have someone from our team of experienced solicitors and police station representatives on call and available to help.
Once arrested it will generally be because the police wish to question you in relation to your suspected involvement in a criminal offence. By having legal representation at the police station you can ensure that your representative protects your legal rights and advises you on the strength of any potential case against you from an early stage.
The things you say and do from the moment you are arrested and cautioned can potentially be noted by a police officer and used against you as evidence if your case is taken to court.
By having a solicitor at the police station you can ensure that any potential defence you may have is raised from the outset. This could avoid an adverse inference being drawn against you if your case is taken to court.
Remember advice and assistance at the police station from one of the JFH Crime team is free and independent. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If a member of your family or one of your friends is arrested, you can get a solicitor for them, if they don’t have one.
Contact us or call us on 020 7388 1658 to speak to a qualified and experienced criminal solicitor if you require our help. In an emergency you can call our 24 hour helpline on 07939 958767.
Jonh Howey, Senior SolicitorRead More
If you are facing extradition it can be difficult enough, without listening to lawyers using words and phrase that you may not understand, even in your own language. Here is a guide to some of the most common words you will come across;
Requested person; the person who is wanted by the country who have issued the warrant.
Judicial Authority; The people who have issued the warrant. They are represented by Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)
District Judge; usually called the ‘DJ’, he or she is a qualified lawyer who hears the case and makes the decisions.
European Arrest Warrant (EAW); the actual document that has all of the information about the person who is wanted, what they are wanted for and so on
Accusation; if you are wanted to go for a trial, and have not been found guilty already, you are ‘accused’
Conviction; if you have already pleaded guilty to the offence, or been found guilty, you are convicted
Bail; if the DJ decides you can go home until you are next in court or are being taken back to the country that wants you
Consent; at the beginning of the case you will be asked if you consent to your extradition. In other words do you agree to it? If you do, the DJ will order your extradition and that is the end of the case. You cannot appeal and you should be extradited within 10 days.
Issues; the reasons why you should not be extradited. The extradition Act lists the reasons that can be given, including Human Rights issues. ‘I don’t want to go’ is not a reason under the Act.
Full hearing; the hearing where the D J will hear the evidence, listen to the lawyers and then decide if you are going to be extradited.
Judgment; the D J writes down his decision. This is called the judgment, and it has the facts of the case, the arguments put forward by both sides, the law and the reasons for the decision.
Discharge; if the DJ decides you do not have to be extradited, you are discharged and are free to go
Permission to Appeal; if the DJ decides you should be extradited, you can ask the High Court for permission to appeal.Read More