Opus Cases

NOT GUILTY Verdict in Sheffiled Murder Trial

Ben Jones, Director, represented F who was charged with a murder along with his brother and another. F vehemently denied the allegations and a trial was listed.

The evidence on CCTV showed 3 men leaving an area close to the Defendants flat, and travelling to the home address of the deceased. It was alleged the men broke into his home and tortured him to death. A short time later the same 3 men could be seen to return to the area of their flat. Further evidence showed that F was not using his mobile phone or social media at the time the men could be seen on the CCTV- whilst he was using it before and after. Also, blood of the deceased was found in mixed DNA profiles in the flat he owned and resided in.

We quickly set about dismantling the limbs of the prosecution evidence and utilised experts in the field of DNA, CCTV imagery and also a computer and telephonic expert. Large chunks of the prosecutions case were eroded and the expert evidence upon which the Crown relied was strongly rebutted.

Armed with compelling defence material we were able to cross examine the prosecution witnesses and discount  a number of their assumptions. The vital telephone evidence was turned in our favour after the police witness and expert accepted that their charts were unreliable and misleading.

Our Defendant gave evidence and presented an alibi, stating he was not one of the men captured on CCTV.

The jury returned with not guilty verdicts for our client and the other two defendants were found guilty and received life sentences with recommendations of 30 and 27 years before they are considered for parole.

Siobhan Grey QC and Alphege Bell of Carmelite Chambers were instructed in this case.

Read more about the case below.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-41503009

http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/view,murderers-tell-court-theyve-got-it-wrong-as-they-begin-life-sentences_24085.htm

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/pair-jailed-for-life-for-murdering-man-in-his-south-yorkshire-home-1-8787917

http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/view,breaking-two-guilty-and-one-cleared-in-steven-fretwell-murder-trial_24083.htm

NOT GUILTY. Amazing acquittal in difficult case.

In December 2016 G was arrested for the Attempted Murder of his wife, he was charged and subsequently pleaded Guilty at the first opportunity.

G had been a Royal Ghurkha serving in the British Army for 18 years. He had had a problematic marriage culminating in his wife having an affair. They have two children aged 8 and 9 years. In a momentary loss of control he attacked his wife with a Kukri (a symbol of pride for the Gurkha soldier) causing serious life threatening Injuries.

Following his Guilty plea the prosecution brought further serious charges of historical rapes, threats to kill, assault and of demonstrating controlling behaviour. The charges were vehemently denied. A trial was set.

Philip Priestley and Counsel Gerard Hillman of Carmelite Chambers worked incredibly hard on this case,  in what was going to be an uphill battle, based on the fact that the Jury would be aware of his Guilty plea to another linked serious offence. Inevitably the Prosecution would rely heavily upon this fact.

The defendant, who was previously of impeccable good character, was fully supported by his family and ex Ghurkha colleagues with ranks ranging from Private to Brigadier.

During the trial it was exposed that the complainant had previously lied to the authorities to gain entry to the UK, by alleging similar offences had been committed by the Nepalese police, using a false date of birth, and changing her marital status. It was these lies which led the Jury to reach Unanimous not guilty verdicts after only 90 minutes of deliberations.

G now awaits sentence.

The Prosecution Fail in Procceds of Crime Application

The Proceeds of Crime Act leaves debts that do not go away. The prosecuting authority are entitled to bring further proceedings if a Defendant is found to have further assets later down the line, until the benefit figure is met.

The Prosecution in this case became aware that D had assets that they were previously unaware of and now wanted, a BMW motor vehicle and cash in his savings account. The defendant had,  since his release from his prison sentence,  worked hard and legitimately, paying his  taxes and saving his money for a number of years. The prosecution, in law, were entitled to it.

Represented by Phil Priestley of Opus Law, it was advanced that the car was a necessity for day to day life- driving to work and to see his children who lived some 40 miles away. The money in his account was savings for a deposit to buy a home.

The Judge hearing the application was not impressed by the prosecutions application. Having turned his life around the Judge was loathed  to take these assets away, in a move that would have left the defendant somewhat disgruntled. It could also have led the Defendant to seek to hide assets in the future or even turn back to a life of crime.

The judge sensibly rejected the application made and our client kept his car and his cash.

Smart POCA Result for Opus Law Client

Philip Priestley represented T following his sentence for a large scale Class A drug conspiracy at the Bristol Crown Court. The prosecution sought a confiscation order and placed the benefit figure at £1.4 million.

Firm negotiations meant the prosecution were forced to accept a reduced benefit figure of £400,000, a cool million pounds being wiped off the initial figure. The court also authorised a bonus payment of £360 back to the Defendant as well as the return of his Louis Vuitton shoes and bag worth nearly £2000.

Gerard Hillman of Carmelite Chambers was instructed as counsel.

Just Eat Accounts Spear Kebab Shop Owner in Tax Evasion Case

Ben Jones and Mohammed Asif represented T before the Liverpool Crown Court. The Defendant was charged with serious offences relating to undeclared income from his kebab shop based in Warrington. HMRC had managed to obtain his account records with Just Eat, the takeaway ordering website. Those records showed a large amount of undeclared income and led to the case being brought to court.

Many takeaway owners are unaware that the small print in a Just Eat contract sets out that they will provide accounting records to HMRC, and in this instance that led to major problems for our client.

The prosecution charged T with allegations that amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Our expertise allowed us to assess this figure to be grossly inflated, and we therefore instructed Forths Forensic Accountants to interrogate the figures.

This exercise led to the figures being greatly slashed and our clients sentence was therefore substantially reduced.

Read more about the case below.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/lying-kebab-shop-boss-who-13658794

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/kebab-shop-owner-jailed-179000-13660260

 

NOT GUILTY Verdict in Serious Bristol Assault Case

Phil Priestley of Opus Law represented I, a defendant who stood trial at Bristol Crown Court charged with a serious offence of  Section 18 Wounding. The complainant suffered multiple stab wounds and it was alleged that I also stamped  on the neck of the complainant.

The defence case was meticulously prepared and a pathologist instructed to deal with the injuries described by the prosecution expert.

The Jury was sworn and a 4 day trial took place, during  which the defendant ran self-defence. The jury deliberated for only 3 hours before returning a unanimous verdict of NOT GUILTY.

Afterwards the defendant who had been in custody for 6 months and his family thanked his legal team for their superb efforts.

Counsel: Gerard Hillman of Carmelite Chambers London

NOT GUILTY in Modern Slavery Allegation Case

Ben Jones, Director, was instructed by a man and wife who appeared as co-defendants before the Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court charged with offences of modern slavery. Both defendants were professional people of previous good character.

It was alleged by the prosecution that the couple had intentionally arranged or facilitated the entry of an Indian girl into the UK and then held her in slavery or servitude by her acting as an au pair for their one child.

The allegations were vehemently denied and the matter listed for trial. In the course of the preparation of their defence, two lengthy and detailed defence case statements were served along with a vast amount of exhibits. A number of defence witnesses were traced and statements taken from them.

A tactical decision was made to “show our hand” to the prosecution and all defence evidence was served. As a result of this course of action the prosecution offered no evidence and NOT GUILTY verdicts were obtained for our clients.

Throughout proceedings our clients were the subject of onerous restraint orders and we assisted them with making the orders as manageable as possible to allow them to lead as normal lives as possible.

Below are a number of articles published upon our clients arrest:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/12156748/Man-and-a-woman-charged-with-slavery-offences.html

http://news.sky.com/story/man-and-woman-charged-with-slavery-offences-10167529

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-35574470

D Avoids Prison in Large Cash for Crash Conspiracy Case

D instructed Ben Jones, Director, in relation to a 37 defendant conspiracy to defraud case before the Carlisle Crown Court. The case, known as Operation Atrium, was so large that the sentencing hearing took place over two days and needed two courts to house the multiple defendants and legal teams.

D pleaded guilty following the commencement of her trial and was later sentenced to a suspended sentence meaning she did not serve an immediate term of imprisonment.

Sanjeev Sharma of Equity Chambers represented the accused.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-38026224

http://www.itv.com/news/border/2016-11-18/crash-for-cash-ringleader-sentenced-to-prison/

https://www.cumbria.police.uk/News/News-Articles/2016/November/Police-smash-600k-cash-for-crash-fraud-operation.aspx

http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2016/11/18/cumbria-police-smash-600k-cash-crash-fraud-gang/

NOT GUILTY Verdict in Cash For Crash Case

Ben Jones, Director, acted for G before the Nottingham Crown Court in relation to a large cash for crash case named Operation Skipsea. G appeared before the court along with 13 co-defendants charged with a conspiracy to defraud. At an earlier hearing G pleaded not guilty and Opus Law set about preparing her case for trial.

A robust defence case statement was served along with a lengthy list of disclosure requests, which we felt would undermine the prosecution case against our client specifically. Once further unused evidence had been extracted from the prosecution we formally asked the CPS to carry out a full review of the evidence against our client. This was done and the prosecution made a decision to formally offer no evidence and not guilty verdicts were recorded.

Roxanne Morrell of Carmelite Chambers was instructed to represent G.

C Avoids Immediate Jail Term in Large Publishing Fraud

C was represented by Ben Jones, Director, in relation to Operation Spinnaker before the Nottingham Crown Court. C was prosecuted by Trading Standards, along with 11 others,  following an investigation into a large organization which was in the business of selling advertising through regional telesales offices. It was alleged that sales were achieved through “breath taking dishonesty on an industrial level”. The dishonest gain alleged was well over £1 million.

C pleaded guilty and submitted a basis of plea. A strong mitigation was produced supported by character and expert evidence. Due to this hard work our client was one of the few defendants to escape an immediate jail term.

The prosecution sought a Proceeds Of Crime Act order of over £1 million. A forensic accountant had been instructed at a very early stage and allowed us to agree, at sentence, a POCA order of £121,000.

Grahame James of Carmelite Chambers was instructed along with Forths Forensic Accountants.

Read more about the case here…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-37797738

http://www.itv.com/news/central/2016-10-28/company-md-which-mis-sold-millions-of-tv-adverts-jailed/

http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/multi-million-pound-fraudsters-jailed-for-total-of-more-than-15-years/story-29849483-detail/story.html

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/exposed-massive-multi-million-pound-12087306

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