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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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my son was out on a birthday night out in Feb 2014 while

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Hi my son was out on a birthday night out in Feb 2014 while in a bar a fight broke out between friends of my son and three unknown males, my son and his friends were arrested for Affray and detained at a police station over night, (one of my son's friend was hurt and taken to hospital with a fractured eye socket due to having his head stamped on by one of the unknown males) my son was questioned (without a solicitor present) the next day the police showed my son the CCTV evidence of the fight at this point my son I can only imagine terrified and confused as to what happened (he has never been arrested before) the police asked who started the fight and did he know the unknown males my son stated that during the questioning he was confused and was not quite sure as to what happened (he did state that he did not know the unknown males )he was then released on police bail with conditions that he did not enter the city centre between 9:00 pm until 6:00 am unless it was work related he was advised to return to the police station in March 14 when he returned to answer bail he was advised to again return to the station in June 14 he again returned to the station and was advised to return to the station again in Aug 14 in August he was charged with Affray his friends also was charged with the same offence (one of the unknown males was charged with GBH with intent)my son was summoned to the Magistrate Court (with his solicitor) and was charged with Affray and it was to be heard at the Crown Court in January 15 my son's solicitor has since received the police interview transcripts and the CCTV evidence his solicitor has advised that the CCTV and interview transcripts do not collate my son's involvement in the fight is extremely minimal but the transcripts are stating that he is full of remorse and that there was a possibility that he may have thrown punches etc when the CCTV clearly shows he did not the only contact he did make was he placed his two hands on his friends arms to possibly separate or stop the fight there is a problem that an unknown male in the images looks similar to my son and he is seen to be punching etc to be fair my son looks like he is panicking and appears to be in fear of the situation his solicitor has advised that he will contact the CPS for the possiblity of lowering the charge to common assault but there are no guarantees my son is currently employed as a civil servant since the charge he has been suspended on full pay until the outcome of the verdict, he is fully aware that there he if found guilty will lose his job the solicitor advised him that if he had received legal advice at the time of the police interview he is more than certain that my son would not be facing a court trial I know that I am his mother but I know my son is a good person who has been brought up to realise right from wrong I am asking in your opinion would it be correct for my son to plead guilty for being confused and stating yes when he probably should have said no while being interview etc?

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

What exactly do you want to know about this?

If he should plead not guilty based on lack of CCTV evidence/
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


my main concern is that his solicitor has advised him that should he plead not guilty then if found guilty he may get a longer sentence than if he pleads guilty at the earliest opportunity his solicitor did also advise that should the judge direct the jury that should one be found to be guilty then under joint enterprise they could in with effect receive the same sentence I am assuming the solicitor has to make him aware of the worst case sernario

I just want the best outcome for him to me it appears to be an awful situation all round

Are you asking if he should plead?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, I am asking whether this is the right advice due to the fact that the CCTV evidence clearly shows that he played hardly any involvement at all and that his solicitor states that he would be more than likely not be facing any charges if he had received legal representation at the police interview is the fact that the transcripts and CCTV in his solicitors opinion do not collate is enough to warrant a guilty plea?

Well, it is difficult to tell really here what exactly the evidence is.
If the essence of this is that he has admitted throwing punches in interview then that is a problem. Had he made a no comment interview he probably would not have been charged but he didn't and he is and there is no way around that now.
Even if the CCTV doesn't show the punches they will just say it happened off camera.
If he has admitted throwing punches then probably he does need to be looking at a guilty plea for something. Whether it really amounts to an affray is another matter. The Crown might accept S4 or common assault.
The point the solicitor is making is not that there are inconsistencies but that he has admitted an offence which is a problem I'm afraid.
Sorry if that is bad news but I can only give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

many thanks for your response all I can say is that my son stated that during the interview he was confused and that there appears to be an unknown male that is very similar in appearance to him that is throwing punches and that he was unsure when answering the questions is there any way that his solicitor can argue that fact in court? in your opinion what is the chance of having the charges lowered?If found guilty do you think it will carry a custodial sentence it being his first offence and he is of good character etc?

Realistically, if he has admitted throwing punches interview then it is game over from the point of view of defending it. The Crown will say that any attempt to argue he was confused was self serving and, in truth, it really doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.
That said, they might well reduce the charges. It depends on the nature of the incident. Affray is a bit of a catch all charge.
Affray is going to lead to custody I'm afraid. Whatever his circumstances. There is a chance of avoiding it but he is certainly at risk.
S4 or common assault would not.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


His solicitor has advised that should he plead guilty or be found guilty it will be highly likely he will receive a suspended sentence/community service etc due to this being his first offence and is of good character I only hope this is the case if this has to be the outcome thank you for your advice.

If he pleads guilty he is less likely to face custody but if lesser offences are available then he should be looking for those.
No problem and all the best.
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