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Saunders Law success continues with another caution removal

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A police caution (now known as a ‘simple caution’) is a formal alternative to prosecution for minor criminal charges. It might look an easy way out at the time, but it is disclosable by police in a CRO and DBS check, so it can affect your job prospects if you want to be a teacher or stop you from getting a USA visa.

Saunders Law acts for clients who may have been wrongly given a police caution or accepted a caution after being misinformed of the law. For example, we recently secured the deletion of a caution and all personal data held by the police for our client, Ms T.

Facts

T was issued with a caution in 2007 for harassment putting people in fear of violence contrary to Protection from Harassment Act 1997. T was living in constant fear at the time of two men wearing balaclavas and attempting to break into her car on several occasions. T received no assistance from the police and put up a banner with an attempt to deter these two men away. Unbeknown to our client, the wall that she hung her banner on, belonged to her neighbour, who called the police in fear of what the banner said as the text were allegedly abusive.

Saunders Law made an application for deletion of the caution from the Police National Computer on T’s behalf for the following reasons:

1. T was misled regarding the offence she was accepting a caution for

At no point was T made aware that she was being cautioned for Harassment. T had a solicitor present at the interview, but she was never advised on harassment as the disclosure provided before the interview did not include harassment and the discrepancy should have been flagged up by the officer in charge.

2. There had been no realistic prospect of a conviction.

28. A decision-maker may only decide that a simple caution is appropriate if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in respect of the offence if the offender were to be prosecuted.

“When deciding whether there is enough evidence to charge, Crown Prosecutors must consider whether evidence can be used in court and is reliable and credible, and there is no other material that might affect the sufficiency of evidence. Crown Prosecutors must be satisfied there is enough evidence to provide a "realistic prospect of conviction" against each defendant.

Is it in the public interest for the CPS to bring the case to court?

A prosecution will usually take place unless the prosecutor is sure that the public interest factors tending against prosecution outweigh those tending in favour.”

There would not have been a realistic prospect of conviction as T should have been advised there was insufficient evidence to convict T for harassment.

3. The implications of a simple caution were not explained as required

The Ministry of Justice have provided guidance in relation to the issuing of cautions “Simple Cautions for Adult Offenders”.

Paragraph 28 of the Ministry of Justice guidance states:

28. A decision-maker may only decide that a simple caution is appropriate if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in respect of the offence if the offender were to be prosecuted.

In addition, paragraph 64 of the guidance sets out:

64. Before a simple caution is administered, the police officer seeking to do so must ensure the offender understands the implications of accepting a simple caution and consents to receiving a simple caution.

T worked at the time in a position where a caution would cause huge detriment to her career and future aspirations. Had the implications been properly explained, T would never have accepted the caution.

4. It is not in the public interest

It is not in the public interest to give T a criminal record for an offence where there was no prospect of conviction, little to no evidence and whose actions were unintentional and out of fear.

Our application was successful, and the caution has been removed from T’s record. T can now pursue her career aspirations and not be limited in her career opportunities.

Being interviewed at a police station can be stressful and terrifying, and many are pressured into accepting a caution when there is no real prospect of being convicted. Anyone accused of crime should have legal representation at the police station.

The criminal team at Saunders Law is acting for several clients in making application for their caution to be removed. If you feel you have reason to challenge a police caution, please contact Saunders Law either via our enquiry form or by calling 0207 632 4300

0 to speak to a member of our team. Please note that Saunders Law crime department only takes on private paying clients.

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We have partnered with Law Share from JMW Solicitors LLP to refer instructions and clients to them, when we are unable to act. By answering yes to this question, you agree that we may pass your details on to Law Share in such circumstances. You are under no obligation to instruct JMW Solicitors LLP after being referred. We may receive a payment from JMW Solicitors LLP further to this referral.

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    We have partnered with Law Share from JMW Solicitors LLP to refer instructions and clients to them, when we are unable to act. By answering yes to this question, you agree that we may pass your details on to Law Share in such circumstances. You are under no obligation to instruct JMW Solicitors LLP after being referred. We may receive a payment from JMW Solicitors LLP further to this referral.