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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70012
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi there, I was in court on December 12th over an incident

Customer Question

Hi there,

I was in court on December 12th over an incident involving the police. I was cleared on all charges against me and told I would be able to claim back all legal costs and as I was refused legal aid I had to go private which cost me £1800, I have recently been told I can only expect to be receiving at the very most if I’m lucky £600 which I find extremely unfair as I was found not guilty and cleared of all charges against me. The £1800 was what I paid for my legal representation this does not include money lost for days off of work, travel to and from court and also the stress it caused me throughout the period of this all happening, and I was wondering is there any way I can appeal and or seek to get the money I have lost back from the police or anywhere else. I would be very grateful of your advice kind regards
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

Jo C. :

Hi

Jo C. :

Thanks for your question.

Jo C. :

Of course, it is unfair but the advice that you have had is correct.

Jo C. :

It used to be that you could claim back the fees that you had actually paid out but a few years ago the Government created a law that meant that you could only claim up to legal aid rates which would be about £600.

Jo C. :

And also the criminal courts have never compensated for lost earnings although you do get travel costs in a cost order.

Jo C. :

On your specific point though, the only way you could claim this money back is to sue on the basis essentially of malicious prosecution and that is very difficult to show because you have to show bad faith not just incompetence.

Jo C. :

Your solicitors can appeal any refusal to pay the costs order but the problem is that you have to pay their costs while they do that.

Jo C. :

I have a solicitor that only does privately paying work and he always tells me that there is no point in applying for a costs order now.

Jo C. :

for that reason.

Jo C. :

You can always complain to the chief constable.

Jo C. :

However, it depends what you are describing here.

Jo C. :

The police are not going to accept that a not guilty verdict means you are innocent.

Jo C. :

It doesn't mean you are innocent. It just means they couldn't prove guilt.

Jo C. :

Of course, the reason that they cannot prove guilt is sometimes that people are innocent but there are lots of other reasons.

Jo C. :

And, in fairness, there are not guilty verdicts and not guilty verdicts. Some are reluctant and some are an endorsement of your position.

Jo C. :

Generally speaking though, if you are acquitted at a Magistrates Court then there must be fairly strong evidence in your favour. Its not really like being acquitted at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Jo C. :

It will be interesting to see whether or not Michael Le Vell and others in his position do sue CPS and with what success as they do actually have fairly good cases.

Jo C. :

which might set a precedent for everybody.

Customer:

i was acquitted at magistrates court and the magistrates took less than 2 minutes to come to their verdict and it was quite clear that the evidence against me was false

Jo C. :

Yes, Magistrates don't acquit lightly but the Chief Constable is not going to accept that means the prosecution shouldn't have been brought.

Customer:

some of the evidence giving

Customer:

so if i do want to try and claim full costs back would that mean going against the police

Customer:

the charge against me was assulting police officer which im sure you would agree is quite a serious case and for the maghistrate no aquit me in less than 2 minutes my case must have be extremly strong

Jo C. :

No, as I've said.

Jo C. :

I'm very sorry.

Customer:

because at the minute,


Finically i would have been better off pleading guilty to something i was cleary innocent

Jo C. :

Assault on a police officer is nothing even remotely like serious now.

Jo C. :

I think if you breath on some of them you are charged with assault PC.

Jo C. :

Its always the same officers that are complaining about assaults.

Jo C. :

Most officers never bring such claims.

Customer:

well they sprayed me with cs gas whilst i was restrained and cuffed and fill unfairly treated through out the while case

Jo C. :

In the 1970s and 80s you had to literally break an officer's jaw before they even thought about an assault PC charge. They just used to accept that there would be a bit of a scuffle in the course of an arrest.

Jo C. :

Yes, but thats a complaint about their conduct.

Jo C. :

It might well be that they charged you with assault PC to head off complaints.

Jo C. :

It wouldn't be the first time they've done that.

Jo C. :

Thats a complaint to the IPCC.

Jo C. :

In fact, I'm surprised they didn't have an IPCC representative there/

Customer:

i understand that but at the time i was the one being assulted by other members of the public who were never retained

Jo C. :

The problem with this is that to sue them for bringing a prosecution you would have to prove bad faith on the part of CPS

Jo C. :

which is hard to do.

Customer:

im sorry if im coming across abrupt i know its not your fault just fill so hard done by that i was cleary innocent thwe whole time and now i find my self over £1000 out of pocket along with the stress and starin on my realtionship it has caused i just dont see how this is justice

Jo C. :

No, I understand.

Jo C. :

I have actually often thought about this issue.

Jo C. :

It would wake CPS up a bit if they were at risk of being sued a bit more.

Customer:

would it be worth seeing a no win no fee lawyer

Jo C. :

The problem with this is that you have to show that CPS acted in bad faith rather than just incompetence

Jo C. :

Its not a bad idea to see a solicitor that sues the police.

Jo C. :

Try here

Jo C. :

http://www.tuckerssolicitors.com/

Jo C. :

The only other thing I can think of is suing the police officers in defamation or possibly the constabulary as their employers

Customer:

i just dont want to end up with more legal fees

Jo C. :

Its easier to claim against witnesses

Customer:

its allready causing alot off stress

Customer:

and i thought it was all over with

Jo C. :

Yes, I know prosecutions do.

Jo C. :

And I know that some officers do bring these charges to head off a complaint.

Customer:

i just fil i would have been better of pleading guilty with no represention and taking a fine

Customer:

which still wouldnt be fair but i wouldnt be £1000+ out of pocket

Customer:

if the evidence against me was weak and one of the officers evidence was extremely weak and in somes case very contradicting and proven in somecases to be impossible, and the other officer giving evidence against me admited it would have been impossible for me to see his warrent card and belived me to not know that they were police officers, would that not make my case in getting legal cost back more on my side

Jo C. :

The problem with this is that the allegation taken at its highest was made out. The officers said you assaulted them. I see your point which is that it wasn't credible but thats for the court.

Jo C. :

Thats the answer that you'll get from CPS.

Jo C. :

If you think of an extreme example - the stale sexual offence. There is an allegation and she is sticking to it. Obviously its untrue and made for sinister reasons but thats not for CPS to decide.

Jo C. :

Now the practical reality is that they do reject allegations all the time and they use this as an excuse.

Jo C. :

You can bring a malicious prosecution claim.

Jo C. :

The only other alternative is defamation against the officers or their employers or I suppose negligence on the part of CPS.

Jo C. :

I don't see why CPS could not be sued in negligence.

Jo C. :

That would wake the DPP up a bit.

Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70012
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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