Confused about the process

By lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 8:27 PM


This is more about the process than police specifically but this seemed like the best fit category.

I'm only at the start of the process (arrested, bailed, RUI) however I had worked out that roughly the end to end process was something like the below.  This is for sexual offences if it makes any difference.
  1. Arrested
  2. Bailed
  3. Release under investigation
  4. Invited for interview
  5. Possibly invited for second interview
  6. Invitation to magistrates court to plead guilty or not guilty
  7. (Either referred to crown court or remain in magistrates court at this point)
  8. Pre sentence report
  9. Sentencing
  10. Prison/disposal
  11. Register and any other orders
However I've received an invitation to the magistrates court with three charges listed on it. I haven't been invited to the police station for interview.  I've briefly spoken with my (legal aid) solicitor who said simply that I gave my statement (no comment as advised by the duty solicitor) when I was arrested.  I was also expecting a long list of charges based on the devices they took away however all three charges listed relate to why I was arrested and nothing more.

I'm a little confused about it all and am presuming that they haven't been through the devices yet which would mean additional charges down the line presumably?

I still haven't told anyone yet although was planning to tell my best friend over the summer - as was expecting it to take a bit longer than it has and with the virus/lockdown going on.  I mentioned this to my solicitor who said that I mustn't tell anyone or if I have to only someone I completely trust. (similar to what a lot of people on here said when I posted asking for advice on how to tell friends/family - which was essentially leave it to the last possible minute - but different to my therapist thoughts).

Not really sure I have any particular question other than I would be interested to hear others experiences of the process.

I also mentioned to my solicitor about paying for legal fees for 'better' representation to which the response was that it's the same representation and we use specialist barristers for these kinds of offences regardless. I have questioned for some more details around this when I've sent off the charge letter and bank statements (so they can apply for legal aid) although I'm not sure what response will come back.  I'm conflicted about whether or not I should pay for someone who specialises in these types of offences only or my current solicitor - who I believe specialises but works for a larger firm. I had resolved that I would pay for a specialist but given the short list of charges and the reassurances from my current solicitor I'm now a bit stuck on this decision again.

Any advice would be appreciated.
By punter99 - 13 Jun 20 10:27 AM

lotsofquer - 9 Jun 20 12:09 PM
punter99 - 9 Jun 20 11:43 AM
I try and be brief. I was told by police to expect a second interview, but it never happened. After about 9 months, I received the charges by post, with no prior warning. They had not been through all the devices and weren't going to bother, as they had already found enough evidence to prosecute.
Spoke to LFF on the phone, did the whole online course, but didn't pay for the face to face one. I don't honestly think it matters which one you do, all the judge will want to know is that you did something to address your issues. Do it if you feel it will help you, on a personal basis, to talk to someone. I also did some counselling and spoke to my GP.
I hired a local solicitor, not a specialist. There were two reasons for that. One is that I was pleading guilty, so it doesn't really matter so much. If I was pleading not guilty, then I would have definately considered a specialist. The punishments if you plead not guilty and it doesn't work are going to be much worse. Plead guilty at the mags court and you get a reduced sentence straight away.
Second, the local solicitor and barrister know the judges in their area and the CPS proescutors. A specialist from elsewhere may not.
The barrister told me two things. First, the judges see so many indecent images cases these days, they know the score. A specialist solicitor won't tell them anything they don't already know. Second, what the judge wants to know, is not what you did, or even why you did it, but what are you going to do now to help yourself change. If you are going to plead guilty, then that's where you should focus all your attention. I wrote a letter to the judge setting out a bit of background on my mental health problems, etc, admited responsibility, showed remorse, then all the stuff I'd done, since arrest, like LFF, counselling, anti depressants etc, to get help.
I would strongly recommend that approach. Write a letter, then show it to the solicitor first. Give the barrister as much detail about your life history as you can, so they have something to work with. They will pick the best stuff out, to present to the court.  Good luck!

Thanks very much for your honest response. 

The current law firm I have are not local to my area but the other side of the city so I'm not sure if they will know the judges/prosecutors etc or not. however I guess the specialist I was considering is from out of town anyway so doesn't make much difference in that respect.

I have it on my list of things to do to write a letter to the judge. I hadn't started yet (partly because I thought I had more time and partly because I wanted to do as much as possible - therapy and the LFF course before I did) as I didn't really have any idea where to start. Thanks for the things to focus on in this respect - it helps greatly.

I'm interested in your comment about the barrister and life history.  What is this in aid of? Do they go in to those things in the courtroom (I really have no idea what to actually expect on the day)?


When you go for sentencing, the CPS and your defence barrister will each present their arguments to the court, saying what they think the judge should consider, when deciding your fate. The CPS will highlight all the worst things they can find, from the evidence they have got. They want to portray you in the worst light possible. It's your barristers job to do the opposite, and show the judge your best side. Character witness statements are very helpful, but anything from your life that is positive, can be used too.

You should arrange to have a talk with your barrister, before the sentencing date, so they can get to know more about you, as a person. What they use in court, will depend, on your circumstances. Basically, anything that they think will help, to get you a reduced sentence.