Prison Matter 09/12/2020

Date: 9th December 2020


The Managing Director of this firm, Mr Sasha Sidhu regularly undertakes legal visits with clients to advise on their cases. This includes at HMP Belmarsh where a number of the clients are awaiting trial on very serious cases.

During this pandemic, on a number of occasions Mr Sidhu was prevented from conducting conferences with his clients for not wearing a face covering. Notwithstanding him being exempt due to medical reasons under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Coronavirus Regulations’).

In response to this perceived impropriety our firm lodged a Pre-Action Protocol Letter before claim on the Secretary of State for Justice and HMP Belmarsh. It was our contention that this letter before action should result in the institution correcting matters and avoiding the institution of litigation in the form of an application for judicial review.

Within 7 days, HMP Belmarsh confirmed that they would accede and would permit Mr Sidhu to conduct in-prison legal visits, in the absence of wearing a face covering, in a safe manner.

As a result of our actions, communications have been issued via HMPPS GOLD Command to all establishments reminding them of the exemptions contained in the Coronavirus Regulations and clarifying their applicability to official visits.

A satisfactory result all round.

R V EJ and RBL 09/12/2020

Date: 9th December 2020

We represented a client at the Central Criminal Court who was charged with Murder, manslaughter and possession of firearm with intent to endanger life.

It was alleged that our client was involved in an altercation whereby the victim had passed away after suffering a gunshot wound to the head.

Ms Anna Hogg, Trainee Solicitor of this firm worked tirelessly on this case while Mr Sasha Sidhu, Managing Director, oversaw proceedings.

Our client was represented in Court by Michael Holland QC and Andrew Frymann, both of Furnival Chambers. After a 4 week trial our client was unanimously acquitted after deliberations that lasted less than one day. This was despite there being CCTV evidence which clearly showed the victim being shot in the head and the client admitting to being responsible for the shooting albeit citing an accident as the explanation for what had occurred.

The outcome was in keeping with the established practices of the firm and our firearm related specialism.

Urgent Notification Process

Prison Inspector’s given Urgent Notification Process

The Justice Secretary, David Lidington, has introduced a process so Chief Inspectors of Prisons can alert the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State where there are urgent and significant concerns about the performance of a prison.

The Secretary of State must then publish his response within 28 days with a plan of action. There will then be a long term plan for sustaining improvements. The procedure is set out below.

Nationality Requirement

Defendant’s required to disclose nationality

Changes to the newly introduced Policing and Crime Act 2017, following the Criminal Procedure (Amendment no. 4) Rules 2017, came in to effect on 13th November 2017. According to section 162 of the act, all defendants must reveal their name, date of birth and nationality at their first hearing at the magistrates’ court.

Regina –v– Dinu

Litigator’s Graduated Fees: Pages of Prosecution Evidence – Successful Appeal

SVS Solicitors successfully appealed against the Legal Aid Agency regarding whether or not material served without a Notice of Additional Evidence, would be part of the ‘Pages of Prosecution Evidence’ (PPE) count.

The appeal was successful. It was ruled that provided the disclosure is central, and not peripheral to the case, the documents could count towards the PPE and the Judge stated that in this circumstance, there is no requirement for formal notice of additional evidence.