Lincoln House Chambers Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:21:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Neil Usher secures acquittal of female teacher accused of having sex with her pupil Fri, 20 Apr 2018 12:21:13 +0000 Read more]]> Following a seven day trial, Deborah Lowe, 54, was acquitted of all six counts of sexual activity with a child and sexual activity whilst being in a position of trust. Mrs Lowe was a secondary school teacher accused of grooming and then seducing a 15 year old male pupil in her care. She had always denied the offences, whilst admitting that she did have a sexual relationship with the young man, but only after he had left school and at a time when he was 17, not 15.

The case highlighted the importance of full disclosure of telephone downloads. The prosecution initially refused to disclose the download of the complainant’s mobile phone. Neil made a successful application to the court for the download to be served, as evidence (again, opposed by the prosecution but ordered by the trial judge). The complainant initially told the police he was 17 when the relationship with his ex teacher began. The download revealed that days before the complainant changed his story by now claiming he was 15 when the sex began, he had contacted The Sun newspaper to sell his story as an exclusive. The download searches undertaken by Neil also showed that the complainant then browsed the websites of a leading designer clothes shop and Harvey Nichols before giving his new account to the police.

In a case that attracted significant national media interest, the jury took just over two hours to find Mrs Lowe not guilty on all counts. In a press release following her acquittal Mrs Lowe thanked Neil and his instructing solicitor, Jared McNally of Clifford Johnson solicitors in Manchester.

View Neil’s full profile here.
Richard Dawson successfully resists Prosecution Appeal in death by dangerous driving case Tue, 10 Apr 2018 16:57:55 +0000 Read more]]> Glenn Wall was convicted by the jury, by 11:1 majority, in December 2017, of causing death by dangerous driving.  He was sentenced in January 2018 to 2 years’ imprisonment.

The Prosecution, through the Solicitor General, made application to the Court of Appeal that the sentence was unduly lenient.  They sought to argue that insufficient regard had been had to the aggravating features in the case, so that the sentence starting point was too low; and that too much weight had been attached to the mitigating features of the case, so that the final sentence imposed was too low.

Richard was instructed, by Martin English on behalf of Weightmans Solicitors, to defend Glenn Wall on the Attorney General’s Reference.

The Prosecution success rate on Attorney General’s References is in the order of about 90%. On this occasion however, Richard successfully resisted the application and the Court of Appeal were persuaded that it would be inappropriate to interfere with the sentence. Accordingly, the sentence was not increased. The original sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment stands.

On behalf of Glenn Wall, Richard argued that the Solicitor General had erred in his analysis of the sentencing exercise which had been undertaken; the application was misguided; and the sentence was not unduly lenient.  The erroneous analysis of the case by the Solicitor General failed to appreciate that this was not a clear cut case of dangerous driving.  The aggravating features relied on by the Solicitor General were not aggravating features as normally recognised.  Individually, none of themselves amounted to dangerous driving.  It was only in their collective totality that the overall standard of driving could be said to have fallen a long way below the standard to be expected of the competent, careful driver.  The Trial Judge was best placed to determine the true culpability of the offender.  Likewise, he was best placed to judge the appropriate final sentence, in light of the relevant mitigating factors

The Court agreed that the Trial Judge was best placed to determine the weight to be attached to the various factors.  He had presided over the trial and had carefully set out his decision.  He had rightly considered the guidelines and was correct in his assessment that this was Level 3 on the guidelines.  There was considerable and powerful mitigation.  This was not an unduly lenient sentence.

To view Richard’s full profile, click here. Please contact a member of the clerking team for details on how to instruct Richard.

Matthew Howarth Secures Appeal in Licensing Case Tue, 10 Apr 2018 08:56:23 +0000 Read more]]> Following a trial at Tameside Magistrates Court on Thursday 5th April, Matthew successfully appealed a Local Council against a revocation of a Scrap Metal Dealers License.

The Local Council sought to apply the “Fit and Proper Person” Test commonly used for Taxi License appeals. Matthew argued that the “Fit and Proper Person” Test was not one used in the wording of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and thus the high threshold applied to Taxi Drivers did not apply to Scrap Metal Dealers.

The “Suitable Person” test was not similar to a “Fit and Proper Person” and as a matter of law it would not be appropriate to apply a different test not envisaged by Parliament.

To view Matthew’s full profile, click here.

Austin Welch and Leila Ghahhary appointed to Attorney General’s Civil Panel of Counsel Fri, 06 Apr 2018 10:56:37 +0000 Read more]]> Chambers are delighted to announce that Leila Ghahhary and Austin Welch have been appointed by the Attorney General as Junior Counsel to the Crown.

Both Leila and Austin received letters of appointment from The Right Honourable Jeremy Wright QC MP who described the competition for places on the Panel as “fierce”.

As Junior Counsel to the Crown, Leila and Austin will be undertaking complex civil, public law and EU work for all government departments.

Leila and Austin join two other recent appointees, Heather Aspinall and Dan Thomas, on the Panel demonstrating Lincoln House Chambers’ growing strength in civil and public law at the highest level.

Employment law – Vento bands update by Sam Jones Thu, 05 Apr 2018 10:20:02 +0000 Read more]]> The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals of England & Wales and Scotland recently issued a joint Presidential Guidance regarding awards for injury to feelings. The document is the first addendum to a previous Presidential Guidance issued on 5th September 2017.

For claims issued on or after 6th April 2018 in England & Wales, the updated Vento bands are as follows: a lower band of £900 to £8,600 (less serious cases); a middle band of £8,600 to £25,700 (for cases that do not merit an award in the upper band); and an upper band of £25,700 to £42,900 (the most serious cases). The most exceptional cases can exceed £42,900.

The Guidance is not mandatory but the Tribunal must consider it when making an award.

In Scotland, it remains unclear whether the 10% uplift applies. This issue is considered at paragraph 12 of the earlier guidance.

Announcement from Lincoln House Chambers, Manchester Sat, 31 Mar 2018 16:12:12 +0000 Read more]]> The members of Lincoln House Chambers, Manchester fully support the action recommended by the Criminal Bar Association in its announcement this week.

Our members will not be accepting new cases under legal aid representation orders issued after 1st April 2018. We will be working with our colleagues in the criminal justice system to highlight the crisis in underfunding.

The criminal justice system exists to protect the public and maintain the rule of law. The essential pillars of the system must be:

– Access to justice to all who require it, regardless of their ability to pay

– A properly resourced courts system

– Effective probation and aftercare services

– An independent legal profession which provides a high calibre service

Financial cuts and ill-considered restructuring have starved much of our system of the resources which it desperately needs. The system has been able to stagger on only because of the goodwill – much abused – of judges, court staff, probation officers and the legal profession.

With the latest fee scheme proposed for criminal defence work we have now reached the point where goodwill can no longer be relied upon. Over the past 20 years, the profession’s fees have been cut by nearly 40%, mirroring the cuts to resources elsewhere. The profession engaged with the government in good faith over the structure of the new proposals, but the scheme has not been properly funded and there is no commitment to address that problem. We say: enough is enough. We are not prepared to suffer death by a thousand cuts.

The members of Lincoln House Chambers – 63 criminal specialists across all ages and call – have taken the decision individually and with a heavy heart that we will not accept any instructions under the new scheme. We support the action of the CBA in calling for further consideration.

This is a decision which we take with extreme reluctance.  Our professional training and instincts make us extremely reluctant to place defendants in a difficult position. We are conscious also of the impact of the bar’s action on solicitors.  But, this is a decision taken with an eye on the interests of many future litigants and defendants, whose interests will be very severely affected if the present failures are allowed to continue.

For more information, please contact David Wright, Director of Clerking, on 0161 832 5701.

Lincoln House Chambers sponsor egg in charity Easter egg hunt Sat, 31 Mar 2018 05:02:44 +0000 Read more]]> Lincoln House Chambers sponsored one of the thirty eggs that were hidden around the village of Roe Green. The Easter egg hunt took place on Saturday, 31 March and was in aid of raising money for the PTA of St Mark’s Primary School and the Buggaloo Baby Bank appeal.

Matthew Howarth appointed as Junior of the Northern Circuit Mon, 26 Mar 2018 08:43:32 +0000 Read more]]> Matthew Howarth has accepted the appointment as Manchester Junior of the Northern Circuit.  Matthew was sworn in at Liverpool Mess on 22nd March 2018 and will be sworn in at Manchester Mess on the 29th March 2018.

This was good news following Matthew’s successful election as Northern Chair for the Middle Temple Young Barristers Association for a second term at the start of the year.

To instruct Matthew, contact a member of the clerking team on 0161 832 5701.

Alex Leach appointed as Recorder (Criminal) Fri, 23 Mar 2018 16:00:43 +0000 Read more]]> Chambers is delighted to announce the appointment of Alex Leach as a Recorder (Northern Circuit).

Andrew Thomas QC, Head of Chambers, commented “We are very proud of Alex’s success. It was, as we all know, a gruelling process and it is a great compliment to his talent and personality that he won through.”

The Queen appointed 133 Recorders in total (101 for crime and 32 in family) on the advice of on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable David Gauke MP and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Right Honourable The Lord Burnett of Maldon. Alex’s appointment is effective as of 4th April 2018.

Alex was called to the Bar in 2001 and specialises in serious criminal work.

To view Alex’s full profile, click here. If you would like to instruct Alex, or have any further questions, please contact David Wright on 0161 832 5701.

Ellen Shaw & Clarkson Hirst Solicitors secure acquittal in Underley Hall School case Thu, 15 Mar 2018 16:41:04 +0000 Read more]]> Ellen Shaw (instructed by Duncan Nightingale of Clarkson Hirst Solicitors) represented Mr David Hadwin in a trial at Carlisle Crown Court presided over by HHJ James Adkin, starting on the 23rd January 2018 and lasting for 7 weeks. The defence team secured an acquittal for their client who was accused of one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm whilst employed as the Maintenance Manager of the school between 1976 and 2011. The jury returned a unanimous not guilty verdict.

This case was part of “Operation Tweed” an investigation into widespread historic physical abuse in care institutions in Cumbria. Ellen Shaw and Duncan Nightingale are also instructed in the next case from Operation Tweed concerning Witherslack School, due to take place in November 2018.

To view Ellen’s full profile, please click here. To instruct Ellen, please contact a member of the clerking team on 0161 832 5701.