We recently acted for Mr S. He faced a single allegation of common assault and it was being said against him, that he launched an unprovoked and relatively sustained attack upon the complainant, which led to the complainant receiving a substantial number of injuries to his face.
Our client’s position was that he had delivered one blow to the complainant under provocation and that about 5 to 10 minutes later when he had gone to the complainant to apologise, the complainant had assaulted him by way of a head butt and punches to the extent that our client had to use force against the complainant to defend himself. He stated that the injuries that were undoubtedly sustained by the complainant were obtained as a result of this second incident.
He was advised that as far as the first incident was concerned, he was guilty of the offence but on the basis that he had delivered one blow under provocation. He was further advised that as regards the second incident, he was acting in self defence and therefore in law, was not guilty of anything and for this reason we took the view that his position would be best protected if he set it out in a formal written basis of plea.
This was presented to the prosecution at his hearing. It was considered by the prosecutor who confirmed that it would be accepted. The court was also given a copy of this document and directed that they must sentence him wholly on the basis of his plea which they did. He received a Conditional Discharge and was ordered to pay a small amount of compensation to the complainant which was not at all reflective of the level of injury that the complainant alleged to have been sustained against him by our client.
We are of the view that had our client not been represented, there was a danger that he might have unwittingly pleaded guilty to the whole of the allegation against him and would not have been able effectively to put his case to the court. That in itself would have opened the danger of him receiving a substantially more serious sentence because of the fact that the court would probably have sentenced him primarily upon the significant level of injury that the complainant had sustained.
This strengthens what we are continually saying… seek legal advice; and as soon as possible!
For free initial advice contact Chris Bailey on 02476 553181.