Specialist Murder Lawyers, Manchester and London
Olliers solicitors have significant experience of defending people charged with murder. The types of cases can vary greatly, from a person who kills another person during the course of a fight, to a gangland execution, to a group incident where the accused person is charged on the basis of joint enterprise.
The approach taken to defending such cases is a methodical one. The prosecution evidence is considered in detail. The accused person is seen on a very regular basis to enable full instructions to be taken in the course of preparation of the defence case.
Sometimes the defence case is one of self defence where the accused acted in a proportionate and reasonable way in defending himself or another. Other cases may involve an exploration of the accused’s mental state at the time of the offence which requires the instruction of a psychiatrist or psychologist to assess the accused. There may be issues of causation, i.e whether the accused person’s actions caused the death or another or whether there was an intervening act. On other occasions it may be that the matter in dispute is whether the accused was even present at all at the scene of the incident.
In recent years Olliers have also been instructed in cases of gangland violence where the prosecution have charged a number of defendants with murder despite the fatal injuries being caused by one person. These cases are known as joint enterprise cases where the prosecution seek to establish that all persons in the group activity shared a common purpose and intention, alleging that even someone who inflicted no actual violence was just as guilty as the person who caused the fatal injuries.
The law has previously been interpreted extremely widely enabling secondary offenders to be convicted simply if they had ‘reasonable foresight’ of what the primary offender may do. This aspect was often applied in murder cases to fringe members of group attacks who were lesser involved but shown to have had some foresight that someone could have been killed or seriously injured.This has lead to a number of questionable murder convictions of defendants specifically in cases where their actions were minimal.
This position has now changed as a result of the Supreme Court ruling of R v Jogee; Ruddock v The Queen. The appeal judgement restricted the scope of the law and it will now be harder for the prosecution to convict fringe participants in such cases.
Challenging the prosecution evidence
In many cases where the accused’s presence or his or level of involvement is in dispute, defence preparation involves painstaking consideration of the evidence which in addition to eye witness accounts is often in the form of scientific or medical evidence, CCTV footage, mobile phone cell site analysis and telephone communications data and even ANPR data to establish locations of a person, by reason of the movement of their mobile telephones or their vehicles. On many occasions we instruct experts to comment on and test the accuracy and methodology of the prosecution expert evidence in such areas.
Within Olliers Solicitors, Matthew Corn and Zita Spencer deal with serious crime such as murder and as part of the process of defending a person accused of murder we instruct approved barristers who have significant experience of such cases.
Recent Murder cases include:
- 2018 – Acquittal of client who was prosecuted for murder. He handed himself into a local police station a few days after the incident stating he witnessed another male beat the victim to death in this case. Both males were prosecuted on the basis our client may have been involved due to being present at the scene. Our client was found not guilty with the other male being convicted. Read more.
- 2018 – Representation of defendant facing allegation of murder following fatal stabbing. Read more.
- 2018 – Operation Image; representing defendant charged with a gang related murder at Manchester Crown Court.
- 2017 – Operation Troop – represented juvenile defendant charged with gang related murder at Manchester Crown Court. Defendant acquitted of murder and convicted of manslaughter.
- 2017 – R v T; Represented defendant who pleaded guilty to the murder of his friend – Manchester Crown Court.
- 2017 – Acquittal of youth charged in connection with gang related murder. Prosecution case relied upon joint enterprise. Read more.
- 2016 – Operation Coda; represented defendant in multi handed gangland execution style murder at Liverpool Crown Court.
- 2016 – Chester Crown Court – Operation Reactor; represented defendant charged with murder. Issues relating to causation. Defendant acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter.
Older high profile Murder cases include:
- 2013 – Acquittal of defendant charged with gang killing alongside police killer Dale Cregan. Read more.
- 2012 – R v A; represented defendant charged with planning the murder of his brother in law. Due to disclosure requests made by the defence, the Crown offer no evidence resulting in not guilty verdicts being entered.
- 2009 – Representation of Gooch gang member charged with double murder.
- 2004 – Not Guilty verdict for defendant charged with the Stockport murder of petty criminal David Barnshaw.
- 2002 – Representation of alleged serial killer named by police as being responsible for 1986 murder of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh.
- 1997 – Representation of hit man charged with the 1992 murder of Chorley accountant Michael Austin.