One of the consequences of this media spin has been that the loopholes, if they ever existed, have been closed and the Prosecution now ensure that an appropriate level of care is taken with these cases.
The Courts’ have also been pro-active and have taken steps to prevent what is called a defence by ambush. It is still possible to conduct a case on this basis, but the risk is that the Court will grant an adjournment to enable any technical loophole to be closed. The effect of this could be a conviction and, in addition, what is termed wasted costs. This is the cost caused by the aborted hearing and all associated costs.
But, this doesn’t mean that the role of a good defence Lawyer has been made obsolete. On the contrary the knowledgeable Lawyer will ensure that the appropriate cases are argued with the technical points highlighted.
We had a recent case, involving a Road Traffic matter, in which a technical point was to be argued. We were able to draw a parallel with a case Sainsbury’s had been involved in. The argument was that the wrong Defendant had been named in the summons.
In this case the Company had been summonsed to Court in the name J Sainsburys plc (trading as Sainsburys Supermarket Ltd). Neither existed in law and as such it was the incorrect name to use. The correct name to use was Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited. The supermarket hadn’t attempted to mislead the Prosecuting authorities as to the correct name. As time limits apply in the Magistrates Court, and these had expired, it wasn’t possible to amend the charge and the case therefore failed.
We had identified a similar issue. To ensure we protected our client, as far as wasted costs were concerned, we highlighted the argument in detail to the Prosecution. Eventually the Prosecution conceded the point we had raised, they even managed to do so with a degree of good grace, and the case was dropped without the need for any further Court hearings.
The above highlights the continuing role that a specialist Lawyer can still play. Without the benefit of advice it is likely our Client Company would have been convicted of an offence. Our experience ensured an alternative outcome.
If you do need to contact us about this, or any other Criminal, Road Traffic or Regulatory matter please contact us on 01582 410111. Alternatively view our website: lawtonslaw.co.uk