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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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At the start of February I was given a mobile phone from a

Resolved Question:

At the start of February I was given a mobile phone from a pile of year-old unclaimed lost property at a nightclub. This phone subsequently didn't work for my network so I took it to CEX to trade it in but was told this wasn't possible as it had been barred. Since it was now a non-functioning lump they advised me to get rid of it, which I promptly did as I put it straight into a bin upon leaving the store. Now the police have called me to ask about and may request that I come into the station for a voluntary statement and to drop the phone back to its original owner (which I've explained I can't do).

Where do I stand here? At no point did I believe that I was in possession of stolen goods but evidently that is how it was reported to the police.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Am I in trouble legally?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Could you please advise whether I am in any legal difficulty here.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
The answer completely ignored the detail of the question, as if I hadn't actually asked anything.
Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
Hello. I am a solicitor with over 15 years experience. Can you explain a bit more how you came to be offered a phone by the nightclub. Was there anything the police might consider at all suspicious about the circumstances.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

An employee of the club, who was a friend of the person I was with, said they were throwing them out as they'd been sat around for so long. In hindsight it looks a naïve move on my part but I didn't actually believe I was doing anything legally wrong.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
I don't think you did do anything wrong. The possible offence here is handling stolen goods and you are only guilty of this if you knew or believed that the item was stolen when you received it. Clearly you didn't know or believe it was stolen but you may still wish to avoid talking to the police about this.

You do not have to go to the interview with the police or even talk to them at all. You might think that your best idea is to simply ignore them for a while and hope that they give up. There is a very good chance that they will go away. How did the police come to connect you to the phone?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can I really just ignore them? The officer I've spoken to over the phone has said that they aren't suggesting I've stolen it or anything, and his initial voicemail did say I had nothing to worry about, but he didn't sound too satisfied when I said I'd thrown the phone away. Obviously it wasn't what he was hoping to hear. I'm just not at all used to this sort of situation as other that being the victim of crime this is my first dealing with the police, so I'm worried they might change their mind and feel I'm at fault.


At the moment the police only know that I was in possession of the phone, tried to sell it, didn't know or believe that it was reported as stolen, and threw it away. Should I tell them anything more (ie. how I came to be in possession of it) if/when they call me again?


 


They must have obtained my details from CEX from when I tried to trade the phone in. Obviously I had no idea that the phone was going to be barred when I went in there, had I believed that the phone was stolen I wouldn't have tried to sell it, nor would I have even accepted it in the first place.


 


Thank you very much for your help.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
You can just ignore them. I would think it would be sensible to do so. He can only arrest you if he has grounds to suspect you of an offence, he doesn't seem to have any such grounds. The best approach may be to avoid them unless they get very pushy which they may not. If they do, then you can if you want to speak to them.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the advice, I was not aware that I was entitled to take that action. In your opinion though, do the details that I've told you make the situation look worse, and thus more suspicious for me? I don't want to dig myself a hole when I genuinely haven't knowingly done anything wrong.

Expert:  LondonlawyerJ replied 3 years ago.
What you tell me doesn't amount to an offence. But the police can have suspicious minds and not many people acquire phones from nightclubs, sometimes it is just best to avoid them if you can.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hello

I'm very sorry but the answer you have received is wrong.

I'm afraid you are undoubtedly being treated as a suspect here. It might well be that there is insufficient to charge you in the end but they clearly know that you had the phone and that it belongs to another.

If you do not attend voluntarily for interview then they will just come and arrest you. They do not 'give up'. Life is not like that in criminal law. You would not believe how much I wish it were. An allegation has been made to them and they have to investigate it and, in fact, picking you up and resolving this is good for their statistics so you are at risk.

Since you have a defence to offer it would be much better to attend voluntarily so they cannot take your prints and DNA or pictures and offer that account.

If you do not then there is at least a 95% risk they will pick you up on arrest, take your prints, DNA and pictures. They may well not be able to charge you in the end but generally speaking being picked up on an arrest warrant is not a pleasant experience. Neither is attending voluntarily of course but its better than being arrested.

See a solicitor tomorrow and get him to negotiate an appointment for you to surrender voluntarily.

Do not ignore this. It will not go away. They will not give up.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69977
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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