Pre-Charge Advice

It will inevitably come as a shock when you first find out that the police wish to question you as a suspect in a criminal investigation. Guiding you through what follows, taking steps to protect your career and reputation and insulating your family from any fallout, is our area of expertise.

As our case studies demonstrate we have a track record of intervening early in the course of an investigation and through our pro-active efforts persuading the police and CPS not to proceed to criminal charges.

Clients often call us after they have been questioned by police without a lawyer or represented by a Duty Solicitor. Many are concerned that, after the initial police interrogation, their lawyers have not asked them to provide further information or considered any proactive lines of enquiry. Whilst some lawyers believe that there is little that can be done during the police investigation stage, experience has shown us that taking a proactive approach can reap rewards. These pre-charge enquiries are an essential part of our work.

In many of our cases, our clients are in possession of evidence that may cast serious doubt on allegations made against them. Experience tells us that disclosing rebuttal evidence to the police early on in an investigation can bring it to a swift conclusion without any criminal charges. Thanks to GCG’s pre-charge interventions many of our clients have avoided prosecution entirely as our case studies (below) demonstrate.

In recent cases a decision not to charge or prosecute our clients has ensued after we have presented exculpatory

  • Text and email evidence

  • Fresh witness evidence overlooked by police

  • Video and CCTV footage.

This type of information can often be critical in proving that a complainant or witness may have had an improper motive in making an allegation – such as a desire for mischief, revenge or a financial reward.

Once the police finish their enquiries a dossier is sent to a CPS lawyer (or a Police Evidential Review Officer) who decides if criminal charges should follow.

At this stage GCG regularly intervene by submitting detailed legal submissions – highlighting for example unlawful police conduct – arguing that a prosecution cannot be justified in accordance with the Code for Crown prosecutors and CPS Charging standards.

In fraud and complex crime cases, we are one of the  leading practices in challenging pre-charge police measures such as freezing and restraint orders, search warrants and confiscation orders – see here for more information.

Client A, an Accountant of good character, was accused of GBH following a late night fight after an evening out at a bar. It was alleged that he had punched the counter-party who had suffered a broken jaw as a result. GCG advised the client at a police station interview. Written representations were later sent to the police arguing that our client had acted in self-defence. Following a full CPS review, a decision was made to take no further action.

Client B, a media professional, was the subject of a false complaint made to the police. Acting on the complaint, police attended his address and arrested him. They also searched his home and seized his computer equipment. B sought advice on how to challenge the conduct of the police. GCG initiated judicial review proceedings arguing that the arrest and property seizure was unlawful and the police had misused their s.32 PACE powers. On the eve of trial, the police settled and agreed to pay both compensation and costs. The investigation was discontinued.

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