We win public order cases – at trial or by getting them dropped!
We do not accept the police view of the case. They might not know the context or meaning of what was said. Police often believe lies or even lie themselves. They may not understand that the ‘victim’ was really the aggressor, that it was self defence, or you were protecting someone in trouble. If this is the case, we fight for the truth to come out.
Getting the case dropped requires a specialist approach
In public order cases where there has been no injury or property damage, it is very often a possibility that the police or the prosecution can be persuaded to drop the case. The defence lawyers need to have a perfect handle on the evidence, including where the gaps are in the prosecution case. The prosecution are more likely to negotiate when they have been persuaded that they have a weak case.
The defence team also needs to know if any aspect of the client’s personal or professional life makes him or her more vulnerable if convicted. This can be a powerful tool in getting the case dropped.
If the case reaches trial
The defence team need to have already discussed in detail with the client exactly what happened and have considered why prosecution witnesses or police may be lying, and how the client’s behaviour at the time could be considered proportionate and reasonable. The defence solicitors will need to have witnesses ready to give evidence.
This includes the client, who must be aware of the areas in his or her evidence that the prosecution will focus on. It also includes defence witnesses who were there and who can say what happened, and character witnesses who can say that the behaviour that has been alleged is not consistent with the person they know, especially if racism is alleged. A client with no previous convictions should be given the benefit of the doubt. The lawyer has to make that point forcefully.
Consequences of a Public Order Act conviction
- S.5 Disorderly Behaviour and S.4A Disorderly Behaviour (with intent to cause alarm, harassment or distress) usually ranges between a fine and low level community order. S.4A can result in prison on conviction.
- S.4 Threatening Behaviour and S.3 Affray usually range between a medium level community order and a prison sentence of months or years (for Affray offences) for more serious cases. If offences are racially aggravated, prison is more likely.
- S.1 Riot and S.2 Violent Disorder ranges between a heavy community order and a sentence of 3 – 5 year for more serious cases on conviction.