A Career Defining Case
by Harriet Parker, Partner
There are moments in your career that you know you will never forget.
In the recent past I found myself called to the police station at the very end of a 24 hour duty. Several men were being investigated for murder. The victim had been shot with a firearm in a drug-related ‘execution’. Two men had requested Shentons and I went on to spend the next 3 days in interview at the police station. In the end one of my clients was charged with providing an alibi to those who had committed the murder and the other was released without charge.
The case proceeded to trial in almost unique circumstances. We were still subject to severe covid restrictions meaning that the trial had to be undertaken over two separate court rooms linked by video. Every defendant had two barristers and the drama was intense. The trial lasted for weeks and at one stage involved the possibility of ‘bugging’ the defendant’s vehicles with covert recording devices.
In the end all the defendants were convicted of murder, except my client who was acquitted. Although you can never guess why the jury reached the decision they did; one differentiating factor was the advice given at the police station. The other defendants had refused to answer any questions in interview whereas I had advised my client to answer questions at the final stages. I didn’t want to subject him to hours of police questioning which can become oppressive, but I felt it was important that he put forward his account at that final opportunity. Police interviews for serious offences run in a very set manner and from my experience I was able to judge the right moment for my client to answer questions and explain his position. The fact that his explanation had remained the same throughout the months of investigation and court proceedings clearly counted for something with the Jury.
Harriet Parker is a Partner of the firm and has worked in Criminal law for over 15 years. She heads up our Criminal Team who cover a wide range of offences from speeding to murder and everything in between.