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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71032
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was in a situation where I was arrested and charged with

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I was in a situation where I was arrested and charged with perverting the cause of justice yesterday. I completed and sent back a notification to identify a driver, however, when I received a summons to appear in court saying I had failed to do this, I panicked and told them I had sent and received an email confirming this. They arrested me saying I handed as evidence documents that were made up and therefore perverted the cause of justice. The Duty Solicitor advised me if I pleaded guilty it would help my defence and as I have an extremely good track record, the chances of getting a suspended sentence would be likely. Reading various reports etc, I understand the severity of what I have done, but would a custodial sentence be likely? Finally, if I received a custodial sentence, I would loose my job, I am the only provider in a house of 5. My question is what is likely outcome and could a less offense be offered? Just confused!
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Do you have any previous convictions please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, no squeeky clean.

Im not sure I can really give you good news.
All of the case law does say a custodial sentence is the only option. You are certainly at risk of custody.
However, in fairness, I have done a number of these mitigations and people in your position do quite often escape with a suspended sentence. There is no real reason for it. Courts just don't like to send people to prison on a first offence.
Your circumstances will be considered by the Court and they would generally not want to put a person out of work.
There is no lesser offence that would be appropriate here. This is not wasting police time. This is lying to a Court which can only be perverting I'm afraid.
I'm very sorry.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, thanks for the honesty. What kind of custodial sentence is likely to imposed?

This particular type of perverting isn't actually covered on the case law.
The closests cases are false declarations on the S172 form and they range from three to nine months.
This is arguably more serious because it is a lie to the court rather than on paper but there are points in mitigation because the falsehood wasn't maintained for very long.
It would be a sentence in the region of months not years though.
Jo C. and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo

I went to pick up some documents from the court this morning and one of the officers there said off record your act is perjury really and not as charged with perverting the cause of justice... Have I been charged correctly? I am seeing a criminal solicitor next week, but felt worth asking in the meantime.

I would have charged it as a perjury.
It doesn't make a material difference to sentence.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo

Just a thought on this. Happy to pay extra for the additional advise. I did not actually present the documents in court. I highlighted to the police official in the waiting area that I wanted to plead not guilty based on the fact I had these emails. As she needed to investigate this the case was postponted to the 28th August. Based on her investigation I was arrested. Does this make any difference or am I clutching at straws.

If its just that you said something untrue to the police liason officer at court then its not a perjury.
It is a perverting though. There is no way around it.
I am sorry.
The very best you could hope for is a fixed penalty for wasting police time.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo

If say sentenced to 3 or 6 months is this time served in a normal prison for this crime and do you get out sooner for such sentences or do you serve the time given. I am seeking legal advise on Friday and appear in Magistrates next week, but have some many things going through my head.

With short sentences like this you serve half of the actual period imposed and often you are released before that time on home detention curfew.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I obviously have this issue in the magistrates court regarding pleading NOT guilty to identifying a driver. As I did send back the documents and then obviously as the summons arrived I did what I did, how should I proceed? Do you want me to open a new question?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo. I also mentioned briefly to the solicitor I am seeing on Monday about the Fixed Penalty notice for wasting police time. He seemed unsure of this. He said he doubted it as the report was given to a Police Liaison Officer in the court and not a police officer. Obviously this is an avenue I am keen to follow. How do I proceed with this?

Well, it would be a very good deal and its not likely to be offered. Your solicitor can just make that offer though.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi for my own knowledge is this done to the police, cps or when I attend the magistrates?

You have to make representations to CPS at this stage as you are charged.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo. Although I am getting overall good advise from the solicitor I appointed I feel this is an area that is better understood by a barrister. Should I approach a Barrister directly and obtain their advise or guidance at this stage?

You don't appoint barristers for the purposes of criminal matters. They are instructed by solicitors. Some can act under public access but not usually with criminal matters.
You can ask your solicitors to instruct a barrister.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, thanks for your advise to date. Appreciate your time.

No problem.
All the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, just to let you know the solicitor has proposed your the offer to the CPS as he feels my mitigation is extremely good and the behaviour was totally out of character. Fingers crossed.

Next question I have is that I do on occasion lecture in colleges / universities lecturer in. Although part time, will any criminal conviction effect this work? Also how long does a conviction like this stay on any CRB or does it never disappear?

Thats really an employment question which is not my area but it will show on dbs im afraid
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, unfortunately the CPS refused the offer we made and now the case pursues to the Crown Court at the end of November. One question I have is that the police ceased my phone and laptop and also the laptop, ipad and phone of my girlfriend, who was in the house on the day of arrest. She does not live with me. How do we go about getting these items back as we need them in order to carry out our daily work. I see no need for them to hold onto them as they have no relevance to the case. I spoke to the arresting officer and can you believe she advises I should seek legal advise as she does not know the process? My solicitor advises I need to wait for the case to end. I cannot understand why?

That was always in the offing so I wouldn't be too disappointed.
If they are using these items as evidence then they should be exhibits in the case or subject to forensic examination to assess whether or not they will be evidence.
If neither is happening then they should be returned unless, of course, there are concerns that you don't own the lawfully.
If the police refuse then you can lay a complaint under the Police Property Act to the local Magistrates Court and seek their return. Its quite simple to do but it is slow and the case may or may not be over before it is heard.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Another thing playing my mind was that when in the magistrates the other day, it was read out that I perverted the course of justice from the 01 Feb until the date of arrest, however, this is not the case. It was simply two emails in July. My solicitor said he would look into it. Does this really matter? Also am I able to view the evidence against me? My solicitor had witness statements and the police report, however, when I asked he mentioned these were currently being reviewed and he would give me an overview once done. Finally, he mentioned to the Magistrates court that I would plead quilty at the Crown Court, when I asked why he said it would speed up the process and hopefully assist with a lesser sentence. Is this correct?

It doesn't matter a great deal except that the charge as it currently is suggests you maintained the lie for longer which is an aggravating feature on the case law.
The charge should be correct though as a matter of principle.
They will amend all of that. The Crown are always amending charges.
The reason it has gone to the Crown is that its indictable only.
An early guilty plea will attract credit.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo, sorry me again. I still have the case regarding not identifying the driver, which I highlighted I was not guilty. Although I did sent the documents back, I had no proof and therefore ended up sending the made up emails. I am due to appear in court on Wednesday regarding this. Do I plead not guilty on the basis I sent the documents back or do I simply now plead guilty? If pleading guilty will this help the case of perverting the course of justice? Hope makes sense.

I'm not really the best source of advice upon that at this stage.
Clearly you are guilty but if the evidence is lacking then it would be worth putting the Crown to proof. This is not a minor charge.
You really need to take advice from your solicitor who has had vision of the evidence though.
In truth, from what you have said, its probably pretty strong. CPS don't prosecute offences against public justice unless the evidence is overwhelming. It is worth checking though.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo.

No problem.
All the best.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi jo. Apologies two things mentioned was a credit for an early plea. What kind of credit can I get for an early plea, is there guidelines for this? Also the solicitor mentioned that although the crown court date is set for the end of November, this could be brought forward due to an early plea. He did highlight to the magistrates that a guilty plea was likely. Does this help in a credit too?

There are guidelines. One third off for a guilty plea entered at the first possible opportunity.
If this is perverting the course of justice then a plea will not be entered at the Magistrates court but at the crown.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Jo it has been sometime since we last spoke. This has now gone to an early plea case on the 14. However i have a meeting with probation service on Monday for a pre sentencing report. Do they have much influence in the sentence and is there any advise on how to handle this meeting?
Not so much in the Crown Court.
I have found generally that probation do not appreciate the seriousness of perverting the course of justice and make ridiculous recommendations so are ignored.
You just tell the truth at the meeting.