Q. Do you do legal aid work?
A. No we do not but dependent upon where you live we may be able to refer you to a criminal legal aid firm who can assist you.
Q. Do you do appeals against conviction and/or sentence?
A. It is rare that we will do an appeal. They are so difficult to succeed with and are soul destroying both for the lawyers involved and Appellants. Dependent upon the nature of the case and how compelling the potential appeal is, we will consider it.
Q. Will the police tell me in advance of the interview what the allegations are?
A. If you are arrested or a volunteer, if you have representation (duty representation at the police station or our firm) the police will almost definitely give an outline of the case against you so that you are aware of who is complaining about you and what it is that you are said to have done wrong. In some cases, where the police have been examining devices such as phones and laptops, they will often give information in relation to their findings on such devices, in anticipation of the interview. If you are arrested and taken to a police station and you do not have us in attendance, this should not matter.
Q. Can I take any action against the Complainant when no further action has been taken against me?
A. It is highly unlikely. We are not the firm to ask this question to. It is particularly a matter for the police and the CPS as to whether anybody who has made a seemingly false complaint is questioned and/or prosecuted. The vast majority of Complainants can complaint with impunity.
Q. Why are Social Services involved in my case?
A. If you have relevant children ie children under the age of 16 or are dependent upon for some other reason for example they have some kind of disability, the Social Services will want to do a “safeguarding” assessment of you and your family unit. This may mean that if you are on bail, one of the conditions is that you have no unsupervised with a person under the age of 16 or 18 years and in the alternative you may be asked to live somewhere other than at your home address (where your children presumably reside). Any contact that you have will need to be supervised by your partner, a social worker or someone else over the age of 18. However, once the assessment has been concluded, bail or otherwise, it is likely that you will be allowed to return home and/or be allowed to have unsupervised contact with your own children. Applications can sometimes be made to the police for bail restrictions in relation to one’s own children to be varied so that the restriction remains in place as regards any other child but not one’s own children (of course this would not be the case if one’s own children were the Complainants).
Q. How long will it take for my devices to be forensically examined?
A. This can take a very long time. Sometimes it can be as little as six months but we have known cases to be 12 months and more. If you have more than one device that needs to be reviewed then you are more than likely to be in the longer waiting time, than the shorter.
Q. Can I seek compensation if I am found not guilty or no further action is taken against me?
A. We do not get involved in cases like this. It may be possible but we do not have the expertise to deal with these matters. We advise that if you “walk away” from these cases it is probably best for you to be satisfied with that and let the matter rest where it is. It could become a very expensive exercise to try to take action of your own against the person who has complained about you.
Q. Can you take on my case?
A. We will certainly try to take your case. Much will depend upon the present state of your case for example, if you are due to have a trial in the following week then it is unlikely that we will take the case. However, if you require assistance at a police station, post police station interview whilst waiting a charging decision, having already been charged and awaiting a Magistrates Court hearing, post Magistrates Court hearing in anticipation of a first Crown Court hearing and even sometimes, after the first Crown Court hearing, we will certainly consider your case.
We do not do legal aid cases but may be able to refer you to the largest criminal legal aid firm in the country, dependent upon where you live and where they practice.
Q. Can you guarantee the case will be “dropped”?
A. Nobody can guarantee this. We will certainly try to “make the case go away”, if it is at all possible. Each case is different and one has to consider that if you have already been charged ie to go through the Court process, the Prosecution have already passed what they believe is the test making the case one that they believe that they can win ie have you found guilty of.
Q. Can I have a free consultation?
A. We offer a free telephone or live chat consultation for up to a maximum of 30 minutes, in one call or as an aggregate of more than one.
Q. Do you offer the legal aid duty scheme at the police station stage?
A. No we do not. We may be able to put you in touch with the largest criminal legal aid firm in the country, dependent on where you are and where they practice.
Q. Should I pay privately for my legal assistance?
A. That is entirely a matter for you. Some people simply cannot afford to pay for their legal advice and must use the legal aid service.
However, if you are minded to pay privately for your legal advice yet you would otherwise qualify for it, you will not get a Costs Order ie part of our costs returned to you, if you are eventually found not guilty following a trial.
Q. Do I qualify for legal aid at Court?
A. You may well do. We can have you assessed by an independent assessor from a large criminal legal aid firm although eligibility is determined by the seriousness complexity of your case and your financial means.
Q. Can I transfer away from the duty firm that I used at the police station?
A. You can use which ever firm of solicitors you wish. It is entirely a matter for you. You may have difficulty, once you have legal aid in place, moving from one legal aid firm to another legal aid firm but you can most certainly move to our firm, and pay privately, should you wish to do so.
Q. Can I pay for some quick/short advice?
A. We have a minimum fee equivalent to two hours work because it is not simply a case of advising you for say one hour but we have to open the file and give due consideration to any relevant documents therefore you can have some “quick/short” advice but there will be a minimum fee.
This is also explained in our terms and conditions, a copy of which we will send to you upon request.
Q. Can I have a face to face meeting with you?
A. These days, particularly post Covid, and bearing in mind that we cover the whole of England and Wales, the majority of our meetings are done by telephone or via the Zoom app. You can have a direct face to face meeting although that will more than likely cost you more money and we suggest that you save your money for other purposes.
Q. What if I want to take some action against the party that has accused me?
A. We cannot help you to make a case against the Complainant or advise on any civil claim you may bring. You would need a solicitor who deals with civil law matters.
In the alternative, if you believe that the Complainant has wasted police time or attempted to pervert the course of natural justice, you can ask the police to investigate on your behalf.
Q. Should I say “no comment” in the police interview?
A. A no comment interview has its place however, in most sexual offence allegations, we know that our clients will say that they have not done what they are accused of.
If that is the case, we will advise you to put forward your “defence”. In cases where you have been arrested or are suspected of having indecent images of children on your phone or computer or if you are accused of having a conversation with a person under the age of 16 in relation to sexual content or under the age of 18 in relation to the exchanging of photographs then it may be worth your while saying no comment at an early stage until the police have conducted their investigation rather than you doing the police’s job for them by making admissions, if you are minded to make such admissions.
To read our Sexual Offences FAQs please click here.