Following up from our previous blog on funding your case and legal aid - we now look at the different stages of a criminal case.
Before a prosecution is brought the police conduct an investigation. They will gather evidence and sometimes conduct an intrusive investigation, searching premises, seizing property and making arrests. It is at this point that key decisions are made by the police and prosecutors about who is to be taken to court and upon what charges. Obtaining expert assistance at this time can be pivotal. Effective representation may prevent a matter being taken to Court or significantly improve the prospects of success.
Everyone is entitled to free legal advice and representation at the police station. It is essential that, if you are to be interviewed under caution by the police, you have a legal representative present at that interview. Many cases are won or lost on the presentation of the case at the police station.
Magistrates Court Cases
All criminal prosecutions commence at the Magistrates Court. The most serious matters will then be transferred to the Crown Court to be dealt with.
There is a group of offences of moderate seriousness which may be tried at either the Magistrates or Crown Court. Other less serious offences, including most road traffic offences, are heard at the Magistrate Court. It is important that you have expert representation as soon as possible.
Even relatively minor offences may have a profound effect upon your life or career. We are able to provide clear advice as to the evidence you face and as to the likely progress of your case.
Defending road traffic prosecutions, for example, requires detailed knowledge of this specialist area of law together with access to the best forensic experts and barristers in the field. We are able to provide a comprehensive service. We understand how important it may be for you to keep your driving licence and we have an excellent record of success in this area.
Crown Court Cases
The most serious matters are heard at the Crown Court. We have successfully represented numerous defendants on cases of the utmost seriousness. We have experienced Crown Court Advocates as well as a national network of barristers that we can call upon.
We have a reliable network of the best forensic and medical experts and are able to put forward well researched, cogent and credible defences. You can be sure that every avenue will be explored on your behalf. We will give reasoned and reliable advice on the weight of evidence.
Mistakes can be made by Courts and the appeals process is set up to seek to rectify those mistakes. An appeal can be taken from the Magistrates to the Crown Court and from the Crown Court to the Court of Appeal. Mistakes arising from points of law may also be heard at the High Court and, where there is a point of public importance, an appeal may go to the Supreme Court and unusually to the European Court.
The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an investigatory body set up to refer cases back to the Court of Appeal where new evidence or law justifies that.
We have a wealth of experience and have conducted cases at each of the above Courts. We can provide comprehensive advice on all the options to correct a miscarriage of justice
A wrongful conviction can be devastating and we understand the need to ensure that where things have gone wrong they should be put right. Appealing a conviction is never easy and we will not mislead you about the difficulties that may ensue. We are however uniquely placed in Manchester to give good quality coherent advice on all aspects of appeal.
Further information on the criminal defence support we offer is available or you can call to speak with a member of the team on 0161 975 1900.