Quentin Hunt secures annulment of guilty pleas on the basis of procedural error
Quentin Hunt appeared at the Southwark Crown Court representing Mr FA and Miss SK in respect of alleged breaches of s179 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
The two defendants contacted Mr Hunt following committal for sentence to the Crown Court from the Magistrates. They were unhappy in respect of their previous solicitors and the advice they received that led to guilty pleas being entered on their behalf. They wished to overturn or vacate their pleas and contest the matter.
Quentin conducted a thorough review of the evidence and analysis of the case and advised the defendants that they would have a valid argument in respect of the vacation of their pleas as well as an argument that the correct procedure in the Magistrates Court was not followed. He advised that this may have the result of rendering the whole magistrates Court proceedings a nullity.
The matter was heard as a full day argument at the Southwark Crown Court and was vigorously contested by the prosecution who were seeking over £600,000 from the defendants under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Mr Hunt argued that the proper procedure had not been followed in the plea before venue hearings at the Magistrates Court. This related to compliance with s17 of the Magistrates Court Act 1990 as a precursor to successful committal to the Crown Court under s70 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Mr Hunt persuaded the Learned Judge that the proper procedure had not been followed in the Magistrates Court and the Judge agreed with his submissions that this rendered the entire process in the Magistrates Court a nullity.
As a result, the matter was remitted to the Magistrates Court, the Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings were quashed and Mr A and Miss K were free to enter Not Guilty pleas to the allegations in accordance with their original wishes.
If you have pleaded guilty to a criminal matter that you believe did not reflect your wishes at the time that the plea was entered you may be able to vacate your plea. Quentin Hunt is recognised as being the leading Criminal Barrister in the area of vacation of pleas. You may contact Quentin directly for a free, no obligation conversation about your case.