Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Not Guilty verdict in Public Order Act trial.
Quentin represented Mr MM who was accused of Threatening Words and Behaviour contrary to section 4(1) of the Public Order Act 1986.
MM is an IT professional working within a large financial institution, as such he could not afford to have any criminal conviction against him without the risk of losing his employment and livelihood.
MM was allegedly involved in an inheritance dispute with his half-brother, a police officer, following the death of his mother. The prosecution case was that MM arrived at a property which was the subject of the dispute and following discovery that the locks were changed threatened his half-brother and his half-brother’s pregnant wife with immediate unlawful violence. MM denied the allegations.
Quentin represented MM throughout proceedings, the defence was a challenging one as there were no other witnesses to the alleged offending and there was the evidence of two persons (one of which was a serving police officer) against the word of MM.
The public order act 1986 states that:
s4 Fear or provocation of violence.
(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—
(a) uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or
(b) distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.
(2) An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is distributed or displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.
Quentin argued that no offence had taken place as the words and behaviour were not threatening, that the complainants had not feared immediate unlawful violence and that the porch way of the property (where some of the behaviour took place) was ‘inside’ a dwelling for the purposes of the s4(2) defence as outlined above.
Quentin collected a large body of evidence on MM’s behalf including detailed photographs of the location and character evidence showing that MM was not predisposed to the kind of behaviour with which he was accused.
At trial Quentin subjected the complainants in the case to searing cross examination, uncovering inconsistencies within their own accounts and inconsistencies between their accounts as well as attacking the general credibility of their evidence. He made submissions to the Court that the prosecution evidence was inconsistent, unreliable and could not form the basis for a conviction.
At the conclusion of the matter the Court agreed with Quentin’s submissions and returned a Not Guilty verdict and an award for costs in his favour. MM was able to return to his life and employment without any criminal record or stain upon his character.
If you find yourself accused of a criminal offence and it is vital that you maintain ‘good character’ for your employment, you will need a determined, diligent and hard working lawyer. Quentin Hunt has a reputation as a tenacious Barrister with uncompromising standards who will fight every inch of the way for his clients. If you wish to contact Quentin about an ongoing or potential matter you may do so for a no obligation conversation about your case.