Proactive lawyers acting for those under investigation in relation to criminal allegations
What sets Olliers apart from many criminal defence firms is the proactive approach we adopt during a criminal investigation. We have an excellent reputation for representation before the criminal courts but the best possible outcome is when an investigation ends without our client being prosecuted.
We understand the stress and anxiety a criminal investigation can cause. The work we undertake for clients during this stage of the criminal process goes way beyond a police station attendance. Prior to and following an interview under caution, our team will do everything it can to minimise the likelihood of a client under investigation being charged with a criminal offence.
Throughout these pages there is repeated reference to the ‘Charging Standard’, ‘pre-charge engagement’, ‘representations against charge’, the need for a ‘realistic prospect of a conviction’ and the fact that a prosecution must be in the ‘public interest’. This is because our team of over 20 defence lawyers place huge emphasis on the pre charge stage of a case. Put simply, it is what we do.
Our pre-charge strategy
During any investigation we will always look to making successful ‘representations against charge’.
From the outset we will look at early pre-charge engagement with investigators.
We will closely scrutinise whether the ‘Charging Standard’ contained within the 2018 ‘Code for Crown Prosecutors’ is met. Wherever possible we will argue that there is not a ‘realistic prospect of a conviction’ or that a prosecution is not in the ‘public interest’ and that no further action should be taken against our client.
The police want to speak to me. What should I do?
Anyone asked to attend a police interview under caution should obtain immediate representation. We represent clients nationwide. Meticulous preparation for a police interview is crucial. There are now greater opportunities to prepare for voluntary interviews because prior notice of the interview is given and disclosure of a summary of the allegations can be provided to the defence. We will advise as to the best way of dealing with the interview whether in the form of a ‘no comment’ interview, the use of a ‘prepared statement’ or with our client answering questions.
I have been released under investigation. What happens next?
Following an interview, you may be released either on bail or ‘under investigation’. Whilst many defence lawyers adopt a passive approach to this stage, we do not. We will take stock of the situation and consider all questions put during interview. We will look at what additional steps need to be taken to rebut allegations. We will look at early pre-charge engagement with investigating officers.
We never lose sight of our endgame, which is effective representations against charge.
How do the CPS make the decision to charge someone with an offence?
The Code for Crown Prosecutors contains the Charging Standard and the Director of Public Prosecution’s Guidance on Charging 2020 sets out the requirements of investigators when submitting material to prosecutors. The defence lawyers at Olliers have a comprehensive knowledge of investigation and charging procedure ensuring the best outcomes for our clients.
What can Olliers do to prevent a prosecution?
Pre charge engagement is often the most effective means of preventing a prosecution. Pre-charge engagement refers to any voluntary engagement between parties to an investigation after the first interview under caution.
It may involve;
- Giving a suspect an opportunity to comment on further lines of enquiry
- Establishing whether a suspect can identify other lines of enquiry
- Asking a suspect whether they can provide access to digital material
- Discussing ways to overcome barriers to obtaining evidence
- Agreeing key word searches of digital material
- Obtaining a suspect’s consent to access medical records
- A suspect identifying and providing details of potential witnesses
- Clarifying whether expert or forensic evidence is agreed.
We may not always be able to make formal representations against charge; however, we will always look to provide the police or other investigators with sufficient material so as to prevent our client being charged. This may involve drawing their attention to material that supports the defence case, including the following:-
- Texts, emails and other electronic communication
- Social media activity
- Enquiries into CCTV
- Internet and other research
- Medical evidence
- Preparation of timelines and chronologies supportive of the defence
- Tracking down and speaking to witnesses who will support the defence case and subsequently invite the police to speak to these individuals.
On occasions we may draw to the attention of investigators information that sheds light on why a complaint has been made.
Under the code for crown prosecutors the prosecution should only charge someone with a criminal offence firstly; if there is a realistic prospect of a conviction and, secondly; if it is in the public interest to prosecute. In reaching a decision to charge, a crown prosecutor should consider evidence from the police or other investigators and and, this is the really important bit, they should also consider evidence and representations provided by the suspect or his legal representative. So the codes provide specifically for the defence to make representations as to why their client should not be charged with a criminal offence. The message has to be this; if there are representations that the defence can make in relation to their client and why he should not be charged with a criminal offence, those representations should be made.
Some frequently asked questions
Yes absolutely. The duty solicitor is funded to represent you at the police station by legal aid, however, if you are looking to instruct Olliers on a privately funded basis then we can notify the duty solicitor you no longer require their services and inform the police that you have changed representation. We will deal with all of this on your behalf and it is a very easy process.
If you are arrested for an offence but not charged, the police can place you on police bail for an initial period of 28 days. Following this, they can extend your bail for a maximum period of 3 months or 6 months in certain complex cases. Following this the police must either release you from bail or apply to the Magistrates’ Court to extend your bail.
Contact our criminal investigations solicitors
If you would like to discuss how we can proactively assist you in relation to your case at a pre-charge stage, contact us by telephone on 0161 834 1515, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below and we will contact you.