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Confused about the process


Confused about the process

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lotsofquer
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Simon1983 - 8 Jun 20 11:10 PM
I have to agree with the advice of Mr W, once the charges are brought then thats it for the investigation, the police prior to the CPS giving  authority to charge should have checked all devices.

If they have then you might find that you have been charged with specimen counts, in that so they don’t need to look at all the images they will charge you on a special of images taken.

Again your solicitor should be able to explain this.

If you have not read these then it will be worth while 

https://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/information-sex-offence-notification-requirements/

https://hub.unlock.org.uk/knowledgebase/information-relationships-children-dealing-social-services/

In relation to LFF, it is called Inform+ the course they run, i did it back in 2007/2008

I know you have said you have looked at there online modules, but you might find it helpful speaking to them as well put 141 ahead of there number then your number will be withheld.

If you are convicted then part of sentence plan will be to either do the sex offender treatment programme. (I know it is not called that now) while in custody, or when out on licence  or both depending on what your offender manager decides

If you want advice about going into custody then i am happy to share my knowledge ( it might have been over 10yrs ago) but there is still stuff you might want to know, just let me know happy to advise.

Good luck and stay safe  

Thanks for your response.

I'll have a proper look at the links again tomorrow when I'm fresh.

I haven't just looked at the online modules but are going through them in detail with my therapist - although a long way off from getting through them.  I have spoken with LFF on three occasions. Two within a couple of weeks of being arrested in which they were fine and recommend/advised I was suitable for their Inform+ course. The third wasn't such a great experience - in the middle of the first and only panic attack I've ever had and having no one to talk to called them for advice.  The impression I came away with (after calming down and time had passed) was that they(/the operator who picked up the phone that day) expected that I should be calling them regularly and was majorly annoyed that I hadn't been. Life happened since then and I'd begun to think about it again in the last couple of weeks - the key question being....Is the Inform+ course the same as the modules or is it different - do you remember?

Re going in to custody I've learnt a lot from various websites. Might be time to look again but here's the main things I noted down.
Pack a bag for sentencing (would not have known to do this if I hadn't had time to research)
 - Clothes (no black or white,
 - tshirts x 10
 - socks x 10
 - pants x 10
 - shoes
 - jumper (x2)
 - jeans? (not dark or black)
 - good towel x 2
 - flannel x 2
 - toothbrush (electric or manual?)
 - trackies x 2
 - several books?
 - shaver (non rechargeable batteries or mains powered)
 - decent amount of cash for prison account

Power of attorney (for best friend - if he is still around after I tell him and happy to help)
How to end tenancy while still in non break period?
Gas readings and get out of my name
Water reading and get out of my name (and how to get credit back since it's in credit when inside)
Electricity reading and get out of my name (and hot to get credit back since in credit when inside)
Council tax
Property Storage
Bank account access (give to friend in case needed??)

Other things to consider
Mobile - auto topup to keep number while inside??

I've also made a list of most (or maybe all) of what I own with either store, donate, sell, give to friends or throw away (not that I have a lot of possessions to begin with).  I'll be planning to get everything packed up and squared away in this regard - either storing at my friends house or more likely in a storage unit (need to work out if this is worth the cost or not....but I'd imagine starting all over again from scratch at the other side is mildly annoying to say the least).

That's as far as I got when I was researching what things I need to consider. I'm sure there is plenty I've probably missed so any advice on that front will be appreciated.

The one other thing I remember is something about rule 47 (or 49) - VPU - upon entry to prison.  Might be time I refreshed on all the bits of info I gathered from various places I think.


lotsofquer
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Simon1983 - 8 Jun 20 11:40 PM
That sounds a load of bull on the part of the police, if they have issued charges then under PACE they must disclose to the solicitor what they have found under discovery. For them to have got the CPS to authorise charges there has to have been a report of what has been found.

Your solicitor needs to create some fuss on this.

It was the solicitor who said that not the police. I presumed it was normal....I guess that potentially answers the question about the solictor.  One specilist I spoke to way back closer to when I was arrested mentioned that they push the police to get that should of information ASAP etc etc which is not something my current solicitor has mentioned at all (outside of saying it's usually about a week before the court date that they can access it).

lotsofquer
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Mr W - 8 Jun 20 10:59 PM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 10:21 PM
Mr W - 8 Jun 20 9:50 PM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 8:27 PM
Hi

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.

Hi,
My first guess would be that things are slightly different because of lockdown, some second interviews might be falling by the wayside with social distancing being a problem in police stations. During my second interview, there were four of us in a small room, for example. As you've already given a no comment and if you're aware of evidence the police might have found which was enough to charge, then the process might have been sped up and they've sent you your postal requisition. That's how I found out I'd been charged too. Between the knock on the door and my postal requisition was almost a year and a half, it was horrific and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I could be completely wrong. C19 is affecting all sorts of things.

The level of offending will depend on which court you will be sentenced in but oftentimes cases get sent to crown court. Ironically, the only sentencing of indecent images that I know of being dealt with in magistrates was a police officer. There may be more, it's just the only one that I've read, I know magistrates cases aren't in the press as much. Again, in normal times, you can expect the crown court date will be about a month after mags hearing assuming it's a guilty plea.

It depends how much faith you have in your solicitor, have a look on their website and see if they have a history or give off a strong impression that they deal with this often. As you've sent off your charge sheet you'd probably have to act quick to ask for it back if you did want to instruct somebody else. I wouldn't recommend mine but I know JASB recommends a useful legal person.

I imagine it's been tough not telling anyone, but hopefully, this part of your hellish journey will be over soon. Obviously, if any of your friends/people you see often have kids, you will have to tell them at some point after sentencing. As I found it was impossible to second guess how any specific person would react. Good luck.

Thanks for your response.

Yes it could quite likely be due to lockdown.  I had just assumed all charges would come together (not just those relating specifically to the reason I was arrested) which as they haven't starts the brain thinking through various scenarios (have they analysed the devices and found nothing or not enough to charge? does this mean it's worse later on if/when they do analyse the devices as I'll already have a criminal record for similar offences? if I don't go to prison the first time does that mean any later charges are considered standalone and potentially avoid prison again etc etc etc....don't get me wrong I'm fully assuming and preparing for prison this first time round!). None of which is helpful of course as there are no answers to the millions of questions.

Re the timeframe - I was expecting a long time based on various forums I have read and even longer due to lockdown however it's been about 7 and a half months at the moment so a bit shorter than I had expected.

The charges are either way offences but based on what the duty solicitor said and those I've spoken to since I'm assuming sentencing will be in crown court. On the solicitor/barrister bit I think I'll need to sleep on it for a bit - the website of my current solicitor suggests the firm handles a lot of cases like this but then again so do a lot of solicitors websites I've been on. I do think it's probably better going with someone who only deals in these types of offences but have nothing to benchmark this against.

Some friends do have kids however I mostly see them without the kids (and the kids are kids - not mid-teen up which was the age range in my offending....not that it matters). I think I'll have to tell at least my best friend before court (not sure if I should do this before pleading or before sentencing) as I will need help if I do go to prison sorting out lease etc (unless I try to do that from inside which I can imagine will be a nightmare).

It's tricky to attempt to answer those without knowing more about your case and why you're expecting more charges. Hopefully your solicitor might be able to steer you. 
What I do know is that once a charge is brought, that is it for the investigation. Example - Cat C image on a laptop and they've charged you. If they later find a Cat C on a USB stick from the same raid, they can't charge you again. I suppose if they later find a Cat B image on something they seized, then they can charge you but this should have been made along with the first charge. Does that help at all? Perhaps there was no evidence of other charges you might be expecting?

Again, depending on how much time you have, there's nothing stopping you from ringing around a few firms and see which fits the most "comfortably" into your budget.

Re: others' kids - Age does not matter, anyone under 18 is a child according to UK law and social services will contact all parents of under 18s that you will remain in close contact with. I say close contact with because, for example, not all of my family have been told, but I don't see those family members either.

Thanks again for the response.
Without going in to details - the arrest was for one thing and subsequently flat searched and devices taken away. The charges relate to the arrest but nothing about what I would expect they find on the devices. That's the only reason I think they haven't looked through them as I would expect there to be different charges to the ones I've received.

Agreed the law is clear that a child is under 18 and I didn't mean anything by my comment other than I know I'm not a risk to them - obviously what I know doesn't matter as no-one else can know that.

khafka
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Hola - 8 Jun 20 9:31 PM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 8:27 PM
Hi

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.

Hi
Your draft process is close I think.  I went through the process in Scotland, and like your potential solicitor said was only interviewed the once when I attended at the police station.  For some reason, even though I'd gone in voluntarily I was kept in overnight and sent to court the next morning, so I think that's your equivalent = the first appearance.  I can't recall the exact charges (sorry) but they basically gave notice that they had found some images and I was bailed pending the full audit of my laptop.  The main thing was they imposed restrictions on internet access and contact with under 16s.  They also got social work to contact my ex-wife to check my kids were OK etc (they were, my offence was image downloading), so if you have any close relatives with kids you need to be aware they will contact them if you let them know you may be seeing them - in my case my brother and his wife for example.
I've underlined the key parts of the first appearance as they're the ones I think you need to think about.  You will get further charges / confirmation of charges once they're completed the laptop examination and checked emails, whatsapp, FB, etc etc
Finally I was lucky (I think) in that I was seen last on the day, and so the court was empty with no press in the gallery.  I don't want to scaremonger but I suspect this was just luck, and therefore it may be that you won't so lucky, ie if the press are in court your circumstances could be in the local paper(s) by the time of the next edition.  I remember being very worried for 2 weeks until I was sure they had missed my appearance, ie I checked the first Fri after my appearance and then the one a week later also before I was sure
I was fortunate that I could afford an experienced non-judgemental solicitor and I started counselling asap too - I did it for the right reasons, ie get under the skin of what happened and why, but with hindsight I think the contrition it helped demonstrate aided my sentencing.  So, for what it's worth, I'd say do your research and go for a specialist solicitor, plus get counselling / do Lucy Faithful courses so as to maximise the chance of avoiding going to prison. I was dreading that.
Writing this has brought back some bad memories, hope these comments help

I was done through the Scottish process for indecent images.

I managed to avoid the papers twice initially, not sure how as they were there in the court room. My guilty plea was posted online by one local newspaper the following day and then all hell broke loose on my life. I'd managed to keep everything to myself and nobody knew for nearly a year while this was going on in the background. I'd say the papers were a bigger punishment than my actual one.

Thankfully I never went to prison (I got 120hrs community payback, 3 years on the register and to attend the Moving Forward Making Changes program) but the damage caused by that paper and a local vigilante group on Facebook have caused irreparable damage. It does should you some of the true colours of your friends though. I can count on one hand how many people actually reached out and asked me what happened/what was going on.

In terms of the overall process, from memory mine was like this:

  1. The knock - Around 7am
  2. Taken to the local police station for questioning while they ripped my house apart. During this time one of the officers interviewing me claimed they had found a couple of images and was now going to be charged.
  3.  I was then released from the station the same day on an "Undertaking" with a court date around a month later - I had spent maybe 6-7 hours in the station?
  4. Arrived at court, apparently this wasn't for any kind of plea or anything. This was just checking everything was in order for the case.
  5. Second court date was my guilty plea - A further court date was then issued for sentencing as they needed social work reports
  6. Third court date (sentencing) - This was then cancelled/pushed back as the reports weren't ready - This is when I was reported in the local paper
  7. Fourth court date (sentencing Mk II) - This is when I received my sentence - This was also reported on in the same paper
  8. I was due for a court review in May to see how I was complying with the community payback but due to COVID this has now been pushed back to August.

Edited
Last Year by khafka
lotsofquer
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khafka - 9 Jun 20 5:18 AM
Hola - 8 Jun 20 9:31 PM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 8:27 PM
Hi

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.

Hi
Your draft process is close I think.  I went through the process in Scotland, and like your potential solicitor said was only interviewed the once when I attended at the police station.  For some reason, even though I'd gone in voluntarily I was kept in overnight and sent to court the next morning, so I think that's your equivalent = the first appearance.  I can't recall the exact charges (sorry) but they basically gave notice that they had found some images and I was bailed pending the full audit of my laptop.  The main thing was they imposed restrictions on internet access and contact with under 16s.  They also got social work to contact my ex-wife to check my kids were OK etc (they were, my offence was image downloading), so if you have any close relatives with kids you need to be aware they will contact them if you let them know you may be seeing them - in my case my brother and his wife for example.
I've underlined the key parts of the first appearance as they're the ones I think you need to think about.  You will get further charges / confirmation of charges once they're completed the laptop examination and checked emails, whatsapp, FB, etc etc
Finally I was lucky (I think) in that I was seen last on the day, and so the court was empty with no press in the gallery.  I don't want to scaremonger but I suspect this was just luck, and therefore it may be that you won't so lucky, ie if the press are in court your circumstances could be in the local paper(s) by the time of the next edition.  I remember being very worried for 2 weeks until I was sure they had missed my appearance, ie I checked the first Fri after my appearance and then the one a week later also before I was sure
I was fortunate that I could afford an experienced non-judgemental solicitor and I started counselling asap too - I did it for the right reasons, ie get under the skin of what happened and why, but with hindsight I think the contrition it helped demonstrate aided my sentencing.  So, for what it's worth, I'd say do your research and go for a specialist solicitor, plus get counselling / do Lucy Faithful courses so as to maximise the chance of avoiding going to prison. I was dreading that.
Writing this has brought back some bad memories, hope these comments help

I was done through the Scottish process for indecent images.

I managed to avoid the papers twice initially, not sure how as they were there in the court room. My guilty plea was posted online by one local newspaper the following day and then all hell broke loose on my life. I'd managed to keep everything to myself and nobody knew for nearly a year while this was going on in the background. I'd say the papers were a bigger punishment than my actual one.

Thankfully I never went to prison (I got 120hrs community payback, 3 years on the register and to attend the Moving Forward Making Changes program) but the damage caused by that paper and a local vigilante group on Facebook have caused irreparable damage. It does should you some of the true colours of your friends though. I can count on one hand how many people actually reached out and asked me what happened/what was going on.

In terms of the overall process, from memory mine was like this:

  1. The knock - Around 7am
  2. Taken to the local police station for questioning while they ripped my house apart. During this time one of the officers interviewing me claimed they had found a couple of images and was now going to be charged.
  3.  I was then released from the station the same day on an "Undertaking" with a court date around a month later - I had spent maybe 6-7 hours in the station?
  4. Arrived at court, apparently this wasn't for any kind of plea or anything. This was just checking everything was in order for the case.
  5. Second court date was my guilty plea - A further court date was then issued for sentencing as they needed social work reports
  6. Third court date (sentencing) - This was then cancelled/pushed back as the reports weren't ready - This is when I was reported in the local paper
  7. Fourth court date (sentencing Mk II) - This is when I received my sentence - This was also reported on in the same paper
  8. I was due for a court review in May to see how I was complying with the community payback but due to COVID this has now been pushed back to August.

Thanks for your response.  It seems it's slightly different for each case.

Hola
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lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 11:27 PM
Hola - 8 Jun 20 11:06 PM
Has your solicitor had the report of what they found ? If not then I think you will have more charges to come but i’m not a solicitor so could be wrong

Not as yet and they've advised they won't be able to get it until around a week before the magistrates court hearing

My solicitor pushed back on that as originally i was going down the not guilty route and we were going to get forensics done to check their findings, confirm numbers and categories etc.  In the end I pled guilty to reduce publicity, but my point is they ought to be giving the defence longer to review the report.  Does sound like its some form of intermediary hearing you're going to no ?
Hola
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khafka - 9 Jun 20 5:18 AM
Hola - 8 Jun 20 9:31 PM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 8:27 PM
Hi

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.

Hi
Your draft process is close I think.  I went through the process in Scotland, and like your potential solicitor said was only interviewed the once when I attended at the police station.  For some reason, even though I'd gone in voluntarily I was kept in overnight and sent to court the next morning, so I think that's your equivalent = the first appearance.  I can't recall the exact charges (sorry) but they basically gave notice that they had found some images and I was bailed pending the full audit of my laptop.  The main thing was they imposed restrictions on internet access and contact with under 16s.  They also got social work to contact my ex-wife to check my kids were OK etc (they were, my offence was image downloading), so if you have any close relatives with kids you need to be aware they will contact them if you let them know you may be seeing them - in my case my brother and his wife for example.
I've underlined the key parts of the first appearance as they're the ones I think you need to think about.  You will get further charges / confirmation of charges once they're completed the laptop examination and checked emails, whatsapp, FB, etc etc
Finally I was lucky (I think) in that I was seen last on the day, and so the court was empty with no press in the gallery.  I don't want to scaremonger but I suspect this was just luck, and therefore it may be that you won't so lucky, ie if the press are in court your circumstances could be in the local paper(s) by the time of the next edition.  I remember being very worried for 2 weeks until I was sure they had missed my appearance, ie I checked the first Fri after my appearance and then the one a week later also before I was sure
I was fortunate that I could afford an experienced non-judgemental solicitor and I started counselling asap too - I did it for the right reasons, ie get under the skin of what happened and why, but with hindsight I think the contrition it helped demonstrate aided my sentencing.  So, for what it's worth, I'd say do your research and go for a specialist solicitor, plus get counselling / do Lucy Faithful courses so as to maximise the chance of avoiding going to prison. I was dreading that.
Writing this has brought back some bad memories, hope these comments help

I was done through the Scottish process for indecent images.

I managed to avoid the papers twice initially, not sure how as they were there in the court room. My guilty plea was posted online by one local newspaper the following day and then all hell broke loose on my life. I'd managed to keep everything to myself and nobody knew for nearly a year while this was going on in the background. I'd say the papers were a bigger punishment than my actual one.

Thankfully I never went to prison (I got 120hrs community payback, 3 years on the register and to attend the Moving Forward Making Changes program) but the damage caused by that paper and a local vigilante group on Facebook have caused irreparable damage. It does should you some of the true colours of your friends though. I can count on one hand how many people actually reached out and asked me what happened/what was going on.

In terms of the overall process, from memory mine was like this:

  1. The knock - Around 7am
  2. Taken to the local police station for questioning while they ripped my house apart. During this time one of the officers interviewing me claimed they had found a couple of images and was now going to be charged.
  3.  I was then released from the station the same day on an "Undertaking" with a court date around a month later - I had spent maybe 6-7 hours in the station?
  4. Arrived at court, apparently this wasn't for any kind of plea or anything. This was just checking everything was in order for the case.
  5. Second court date was my guilty plea - A further court date was then issued for sentencing as they needed social work reports
  6. Third court date (sentencing) - This was then cancelled/pushed back as the reports weren't ready - This is when I was reported in the local paper
  7. Fourth court date (sentencing Mk II) - This is when I received my sentence - This was also reported on in the same paper
  8. I was due for a court review in May to see how I was complying with the community payback but due to COVID this has now been pushed back to August.

Very similar for me except i was at work when house was raided, but the rest is almost identical, even down to reports not being ready.  I also avoided prison which for lotsofquer is the main reason I'd say go for a specialist - but I got 250 hrs community service and 3years on the SOR - but no other conditions so as I now live in England sentence is clear and no longer have to declare as it all happened over 7 ys ago.  
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Hola - 9 Jun 20 8:44 AM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 11:27 PM
Hola - 8 Jun 20 11:06 PM
Has your solicitor had the report of what they found ? If not then I think you will have more charges to come but i’m not a solicitor so could be wrong

Not as yet and they've advised they won't be able to get it until around a week before the magistrates court hearing

My solicitor pushed back on that as originally i was going down the not guilty route and we were going to get forensics done to check their findings, confirm numbers and categories etc.  In the end I pled guilty to reduce publicity, but my point is they ought to be giving the defence longer to review the report.  Does sound like its some form of intermediary hearing you're going to no ?

Based on the charges I'll be pleading guilty to those (I think they'll have the evidence). I think that if all the charges were in that I was expecting/imagining in my mind) then (based on what the specialist solicitor I spoke to said) absolutely a week is not enough time to do own forensics etc.

I'm not sure it is an intermediary hearing. The postal requisition talks about answering the charges, discounts for early guilty plea and a statement of means (which wasn't included) that I should fill in and bring on the day in case I'm fined.

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Hola - 9 Jun 20 8:49 AM
khafka - 9 Jun 20 5:18 AM
Hola - 8 Jun 20 9:31 PM
lotsofquer - 8 Jun 20 8:27 PM
Hi

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.

Hi
Your draft process is close I think.  I went through the process in Scotland, and like your potential solicitor said was only interviewed the once when I attended at the police station.  For some reason, even though I'd gone in voluntarily I was kept in overnight and sent to court the next morning, so I think that's your equivalent = the first appearance.  I can't recall the exact charges (sorry) but they basically gave notice that they had found some images and I was bailed pending the full audit of my laptop.  The main thing was they imposed restrictions on internet access and contact with under 16s.  They also got social work to contact my ex-wife to check my kids were OK etc (they were, my offence was image downloading), so if you have any close relatives with kids you need to be aware they will contact them if you let them know you may be seeing them - in my case my brother and his wife for example.
I've underlined the key parts of the first appearance as they're the ones I think you need to think about.  You will get further charges / confirmation of charges once they're completed the laptop examination and checked emails, whatsapp, FB, etc etc
Finally I was lucky (I think) in that I was seen last on the day, and so the court was empty with no press in the gallery.  I don't want to scaremonger but I suspect this was just luck, and therefore it may be that you won't so lucky, ie if the press are in court your circumstances could be in the local paper(s) by the time of the next edition.  I remember being very worried for 2 weeks until I was sure they had missed my appearance, ie I checked the first Fri after my appearance and then the one a week later also before I was sure
I was fortunate that I could afford an experienced non-judgemental solicitor and I started counselling asap too - I did it for the right reasons, ie get under the skin of what happened and why, but with hindsight I think the contrition it helped demonstrate aided my sentencing.  So, for what it's worth, I'd say do your research and go for a specialist solicitor, plus get counselling / do Lucy Faithful courses so as to maximise the chance of avoiding going to prison. I was dreading that.
Writing this has brought back some bad memories, hope these comments help

I was done through the Scottish process for indecent images.

I managed to avoid the papers twice initially, not sure how as they were there in the court room. My guilty plea was posted online by one local newspaper the following day and then all hell broke loose on my life. I'd managed to keep everything to myself and nobody knew for nearly a year while this was going on in the background. I'd say the papers were a bigger punishment than my actual one.

Thankfully I never went to prison (I got 120hrs community payback, 3 years on the register and to attend the Moving Forward Making Changes program) but the damage caused by that paper and a local vigilante group on Facebook have caused irreparable damage. It does should you some of the true colours of your friends though. I can count on one hand how many people actually reached out and asked me what happened/what was going on.

In terms of the overall process, from memory mine was like this:

  1. The knock - Around 7am
  2. Taken to the local police station for questioning while they ripped my house apart. During this time one of the officers interviewing me claimed they had found a couple of images and was now going to be charged.
  3.  I was then released from the station the same day on an "Undertaking" with a court date around a month later - I had spent maybe 6-7 hours in the station?
  4. Arrived at court, apparently this wasn't for any kind of plea or anything. This was just checking everything was in order for the case.
  5. Second court date was my guilty plea - A further court date was then issued for sentencing as they needed social work reports
  6. Third court date (sentencing) - This was then cancelled/pushed back as the reports weren't ready - This is when I was reported in the local paper
  7. Fourth court date (sentencing Mk II) - This is when I received my sentence - This was also reported on in the same paper
  8. I was due for a court review in May to see how I was complying with the community payback but due to COVID this has now been pushed back to August.

Very similar for me except i was at work when house was raided, but the rest is almost identical, even down to reports not being ready.  I also avoided prison which for lotsofquer is the main reason I'd say go for a specialist - but I got 250 hrs community service and 3years on the SOR - but no other conditions so as I now live in England sentence is clear and no longer have to declare as it all happened over 7 ys ago.  

Yeah I'm thinking I'll try to speak with the specialist solicitor again today. He isn't cheap but a little cost now may go a long way (or may spiral out of control if these are only the first charges). Either way I'll be preparing for prison regardless as there is no guarantees and I have no idea how my best friend will react when I do tell him and whether or not it will help me (with things like ending lease/bills, storage of stuff etc) so I have to be prepared to do it all on my own before sentencing.

Can't wait for the day I won't have to declare etc - long way off for me obviously with lots to go through in between.

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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!

GO


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