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Current Criminal Case

Sample Question  1

My son Darius has been arrested and charged with assaulting someone whilst out on a Saturday night.  He has been taken to Court and granted bail but has been told that his case has been sent to Exeter Crown Court.  He is charged with Grievous Bodily Harm, otherwise known as a Section 18 Wounding.

The allegations against Darius are that whilst he was in a bar he smashed a bottle of beer over the head of a drunken soldier.  It appears that the suggestion is that Darius was arguing with this individual and assaulted him for no apparent reason.  The incident has been caught on CCTV footage which shows the bottling taking place.  A number of witnesses exist in relation to the matter.

As the case has only recently been sent to Exeter Crown Court I have been told that it will take 8 weeks before the case papers are served and that a further 3 weeks later, the matter will be listed for a Plea Hearing.

In interview Darius was advised to go no comment.  His defence however is that he acted in the defence of his girlfriend and thereafter the defence of himself.  He alleges that the drunken soldier approached his girlfriend and tried to touch her breasts.  His girlfriend pushed the soldier away and walked over towards Darius, he was standing by the bar.  The man then approached her again and indicated that she was a “slag” and also stated to Darius “that when he had finished with her he should send her over to him as he still had a bit of loose change in his pocket”.  Darius indicates that when he approached this man and told him to go away and leave his girlfriend alone the man became violent and attacked him.  He states that the soldier was getting the better of him and as a result of this he hit the soldier in the head with a bottle in order to protect himself.  Darius believes that unless he had done so the soldier may well have caused him some serious harm.  

Darius used a local Duty Solicitor that was provided to him at the Police Station.  The Solicitor seemed to be very tired when he turned up and had indicated that he had represented 6 or 7 different clients the same night.  He had very little to say about the matter and simply said that as there was CCTV footage showing the bottling incident, no account should be put forward.  Darius got the impression that the Solicitor wanted to get out of the Police Station as soon as possible.

Darius had been granted bail but to live outside the area of London.  This affects his ability to work and to also see his family.  Darius at present earns £40,000 a year and has his own house.  An application for Legal Aid has been made on his behalf but he has been told that due to the fact that the threshold is about £35,000 that he is unlikely to receive Legal Aid and that even if he was it would involve a hefty contribution being made.  No Barrister has yet been instructed.

Darius has asked his current Solicitor, Mr Smith of Smith Turbot & Jones about the likely sentence.  He has been told that it is a very serious offence and that the offence can result in a sentence of up to life imprisonment.  Darius is very worried about this as he has never been in any trouble with the Police before.  He has always been a good boy and has been to University and graduated with a Marketing Degree.  He is now working for a good company and has been doing so for the last three years.  He is 27 years old and is due to be married to his girlfriend next year.  His girlfriend is willing to give evidence on his behalf.  

I would like an advice as to whether Darius has a defence to this case and the potential strengths of the same.  I would also require assistance in being able to find a appropriate Barrister and potential Solicitor who will be able to assist in relation to this matter as well as obtaining some overall guidance as to how Darius’ defence could possibly be bolstered to show his innocence.


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