Successful appeal against sentence for client in high-profile case
In a highly unusual and high-profile case, a civil servant accused and convicted of voyeurism received a custodial sentence at Edinburgh Sheriff Court. MTM was brought in to appeal the sentence, which was reduced to a community payback order. This was a case that received copious media across Scotland.
By its nature, an appeal indicates that there has been a miscarriage of justice. At MTM, we thought the Sheriff had got the original sentence wrong; more importantly, we were able to convince appeal judges that the original sentence was wrong. The case illustrated the realities of dealing with difficult cases, which always require due diligence and the persistence to see things through to the end.
Sentence reduced by over a third on appeal
In appeals work, decisive action is required just as much as legal expertise and expert representation: there are strict time limits on appeals. In some cases, as a client you may have only 7 days to act. Clients wishing to appeal need to seek legal representation immediately to be sure they get the best result.
MTM has represented a client in a Sheriff Court who had pled guilty to four separate charges on four separate complaints. He had over 50 previous convictions and had previously served many sentences of imprisonment. The Sheriff ordered that he should serve a total period of 19 months imprisonment in relation to the four complaints.
Despite the fact that our client had over 50 previous convictions, we were still successful in persuading Senior Appeal Court Judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal that the sentences were excessive. The Court, rather dramatically, slashed the total sentence of 19 months imprisonment imposed by the Sheriff and ordered a new sentence of only 12 months imprisonment, removing over a third of the original sentence.
Road Traffic Appeal improves on result for client
MTM's expertise in appeal cases was once again to the fore when one of the firm’s Solicitor-Advocates identified a point of appeal in a case at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
The case, which went to the Appeal Court this month, was seen as being of legal importance and was therefore adjourned from a bench of two judges to be dealt with by a bench of three judges, which would provide a more authoritative decision. The Sheriff had failed to allow the client a discount in the period of her disqualification in the original road traffic case, even though she had pled guilty to the charge at the first opportunity.
At the Court of Criminal Appeal, we argued that our client should have been allowed a full one third discount in the period of her disqualification because of the stage at which she pled guilty to the charge, which was the pleading diet. The Crown opposed her appeal.
Nevertheless, as a result of legal research and submissions in this case, MTM saw things through and was able to persuade the Appeal Court to reduce the period of 4 years disqualification to only 3 years. That period could be reduced further to 2½ years in the event that our client successfully completed the drink driving rehabilitation scheme. Even though the Sheriff had disposed of the original case, MTM was still able to get a better result for the client by targeting novel and complex legal issues and arguing them in court.
Young client saved from ‘lengthy’ jail sentence
Ten months is a long time when you are 16. An MTM client was recently facing the prospect of spending that time in jail, having been convicted in the Sheriff Court of a number of charges of breach of the peace. MTM was able to persuade the Appeal Court to makes the sentences concurrent, which meant that the sentence was reduced to five months. The client was immediately released as he had already served the time, so he was able to go free five months earlier than anticipated.
Reputation restored on appeal in racial conduct case
An MTM client, a person of unblemished character and with hitherto no previous convictions, has been cleared of a conviction for racial conduct under the Criminal Law Act 1995. Our client, a gentleman in his sixties, had always denied committing the offence, but had been convicted at Falkirk Sheriff Court.
Fines overruled and re-assessed
An appeal client who had been convicted of a course of conduct of stealing diesel from garages and also of driving without insurance has had all his fines radically reduced.
MTM appealed against the imposition of the fines applied by the Court, and in all four charges an MTM Solicitor Advocate was successful in persuading the Court that the initial fines had been excessive and that they should be reduced. As a result of the work we did in this case, the fines in the JP Court were overruled by the Appeal Court, which imposed new fines at only half the level that had previously been imposed.
Disqualification period reduced
In another appeal case, this time of drink driving with a level of alcohol over three times the legal limit, an MTM Solicitor Advocate has succeeded in persuading the Appeal Court that a discount in the period of disqualification should be allowed to the offender, given that he had pled guilty at the first opportunity. This was a novel situation and the Solicitor Advocate was able to persuade the Appeal Court to set a new precedent
The Sheriff had imposed a sentence of 30 months disqualification. Following careful research, the MTM Solicitor Advocate uncovered new legal cases which suggested that the disqualification period imposed was too high. Submissions based on this new information were instrumental in securing the discount in disqualification.
MTM successfully appeals custodial sentence in theft case
An MTM client has had a 60-day prison sentence quashed and substituted with a one-year probation period in respect of a theft charge. MTM’s appeal was based on the fact that the client had stayed out of trouble for the best part of nine years or so preceding the conviction and that the offence was therefore outwith the pattern of his recent record of behaviour.
MTM persuades High Court to take an exceptional view of case
An MTM client who pled guilty in a High Court case to a charge of supplying class A drugs with a street value in the range of £40,000 - £65,000 has been sentenced to only 300 hours of community service. The leniency of the Court was the direct result of MTM having persuaded the Judge to take an exceptional view of the case and to impose a community service order. It is a remarkable result for the firm and the client, and an opportunity for the latter to reassess his life.
Successful appeal in DSS fraud case
An appeal by MTM has resulted in a client’s sentence of 8 months imprisonment being commuted to 200 hours community service. The appeal was based on expert knowledge of recent sentencing guidelines issued by the High Court in respect of DSS cases. In addition, the client had originally faced an allegation that they had defrauded the DSS of a sum in excess of £28,000; the client pled guilty to a sum of around £10,500 and we were able to secure a sentence of community service. The client was also delighted because the prospect of facing Christmas in prison and away from family had also been removed.