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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69365
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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MY SON HAS JUST BEEN TO MAGISTRATES COURT CHARGED WITH SECTION

Customer Question

MY SON HAS JUST BEEN TO MAGISTRATES COURT CHARGED WITH SECTION 15(1) 16 (1) AND 22 OF THE FORGERY COUNTERFEITING ACT. HE IS SELF EMPLOYED AND OFTEN GETS PAID IN CASH AND HE HAS A SAFE AT HOME , HE HAD TAKEN SOME MONEY OUT OF HIS SAFE AND GONE INTO TOWN TO BUY SOME AFTERSHAVE, HE HAD NO IDEA THE NOTES WERE COUNTERFEIT , HE GAVE THE ASSISTANT 3 £20 NOTES AND SHE TESTED THEM BUT FOUND THEM TO BE FAKE, HE PAID WITHE GENUINE NOTES AND WAS ON HIS WAY TO THE BANK TO GET THE NOTES CHECKED WHEN HE WAS ARRESTED IN THE STREET, CONSEQUENTLY THE ABOVE CHARGE , THERE WERE 8 £20 COUNTERFEIT NOTES ON HIS PERSON. HIS FLAT WAS RAIDED AND NOTHING ELSE WAS FOUND. THE CASE TODAY HAS BEEN REFERRED TO THE CROWN COURT AND THE DUTY SOLICITOR HAS TOLD HIM TO PLEAD GUILTY TO REDUCE HIS SENTENCE, BUT HE SAYS HE WILL DEFINITELY GET A CUSTODIAL SENTENCE OF ABOUT 12 MONTHS EVEN IF HE PLEADS GUILTY. HE DOES NOT WANT TO PLEAD GUILTY HAS HE HAD NO IDEA THEY WERE FAKE BUT IS TERRIFIED THAT IF HE PLEADS NOT GUILTY AND IS FOUND GUILTY HE WILL GET ABOUT 24 MONTHS. HE HAS A CRIMINAL RECORD FROM 5 YEARS AGO FOR VIOLENCE, BUT HAS NEVR BEEN DONE FOR ANYTHING TO DO WITH FRAUD, THEFT OR COUNTERFEIT NOTES. SURELY HE WONT GO TO PRISON FOR THIS, WHAT DO YOU ADVISE
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi

Would you mind turning your caps lock off? Its very hard to read all caps.

Does he accept this is counterfeit money?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Sorry, he accepted it was counterfeit money when the shop assistant told him

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You will find the offences here

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1981/45/part/II

and basically they have to prove that he knew about it.

I'm afraid though that you can expect a custodial sentence if he is convicted. The leading case is still Howard which says basically that the issue of counterfeit notes undermines the whole economy of the country.

The quantity of counterfeit notes are the issue for consideration for a sentencing court. This isn't the highest amount but I would brace yourself for the Court to take it very seriously.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What length of sentence would it likely to be if he pleaded guilty and could it be suspended as he runs his own business and if he is in jail how will all his bills and suppliers get paid. What does Howard refer to

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

I'm afraid that I don't think your solicitor is far off when he says 12 months to 2 years. Obviously I haven't had vision of the case and there must be some evidence that he knew or there would be no case. Passing counterfeit money carries a high sentence.

They can always consider a suspended sentence and this is a relatively low amount but its not what the case law suggests. The leading case is some 20 years old though.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


When I viewed the website you told me about it says on that you can get just a fine, are you implying the 20 year case is now outdated and not relevant and perhaps the court may now be more lenient

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
That website takes you to the legislation which doesn't say anything about a fine and certainly does not apply to S15 and S16.

A 20 year old case is very definitely relevant and he probably is going to get custody as your solicitor said.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I find that hard to take as a woman in my loal paper today has cheated benefit payments for £186000 and only got suspended 12 month sentence . If he gets custodial sentence he will also lose his home and his business and will end up bankrupt, all for £160 surely they will consider suspending it under these circumstances, even house robbery doesnt always get custodial sentences

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

No, for the reasons above.

Benefit fraud is outrageously under sentenced but the court won't make that comparison. Women generally get lower sentences anyway.

I'm very sorry but I'm not going to be able to assure you that his solicitor is wrong.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Will an early guilty plea shorten his sentence

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

I'm afraid the recent case of Miller involved 3 £20 notes passed and a further 3 on the defendants' person which lead to 2 years reduced to 15 months on appeal. That case involved a plea.

Yes, they have to recognise his guilty plea.

But if he's been in today and hasn't pleaded then it wont be at the earliest opportunity. What happened today exactly?

Delighted to continue with this but please rate my answer.

Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69365
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


he pleaded not guilty but has to go back to magistrates 28 feb dont know what that is for, he pleaded not guilty as the second charge was for trying to purchase an item in marks and spencers, there is absolutely no proof of that at all and he only went into marks and spencers as his girlfriend worked there and wanted to get her hours for the following week, he had no basket, no items in his hand and no intention of buying anything there, he definitely did not do that so felt that he had to plead guilty to both charges, basically he did not buy anything anywhere with fake money, as even in the first shop once he was made aware that his money was fake he immediately gave them some real money.will rate you after your next reply, sorry to keep going on but you have made me feel more worried than ever and my son will be suicidal when I show him all your responses.Incidentally are you in America I was looking at the time difference and wondered if all your points related to american law

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I'm in the UK. I know nothing at all about the States.

I will be delighted to continue with this with either you or your son but please rate my answer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I have rated you so please can you now reply to my previous queries, thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
He has to go back on the 28 for committal hearing. Thats just a committal to the Crown Court.

He may well have a defence that might well succeed. The fact of a serious charge does not mean the evidence is strong.

However, the sentences are high if convicted.

If he pleads guilty at the first possible opportunity then he will get one third off his sentence. He didn't do that so it will be reduced but he would still get a large reduction. He cannot plead now until the PCMH at the Crown Court though.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


I am more depressed than ever since speaking to you and pray you are wrong , my life will be shattered if my son goes to jail for something so minor compared with many other crimes which recieve a much lighter sentence

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Yes, I know its disproportionately sentenced but those are the guidelines and thats the case law.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


in that case the laws an ass and the cases are not realistic guide lines, my son has not harmed anyone, and had these notes passed on to him unknowingly and now his whole life will be ruined.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
The law is an ass in some circumstances but I think the argument is that counterfeit notes undermine the entire economy.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


so does benefit fraud, illegal immigrants, non means tested payments ie pensioners who are loaded getting fuel payments, tax dodgers, people who bring in loads of alcohol and tobacco, they just get it confiscated. . Anyway I have just read about a case where 2 people recieved 6 months each for having 18,000 pds of counterfeit money and 4 other cases involving similar amounts as my son and both got 7 month suspended sentences plus a fine so hopefully the judge will be more lenient than you have indicated

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Its to be hoped that he will but I would brace yourself for the outcome your solicitor mentioned I'm afraid.

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