Shentons Solicitors & Mediators



  By Harriet Parker

Whether you are a computer ‘nerd’ or just an average Joe, the world of computers can be a daunting place if you are accused of a crime.  Do you know the true meanings of terms like ‘IP address’ and ‘browser cache’ and most importantly their evidential significance?

Crimes involving computers have become something of a speciality for me following a number of complex cases I have conducted in the last couple of years.  With the ever-growing use of smart phones, the terminology and evidential significance of computer terms are becoming hugely relevant to many cases where they previously would not have featured.  As lawyers we cannot be complacent and simply leave these issue to the ‘experts’ as we need to understand the case from the outset and be able to advise our clients accordingly.

With the Police and Crown Prosecution Service under strict budget control we are often now served with stream-lined reports that give a bold conclusion indicating illegal activity but lacking any detail as to how the expert has reached this conclusion.  I regularly employ the services of Lee Bottomley of Leyson Data ( to check and analyse the evidence that we are presented with and often together we can build a case to show that the evidence is not as it first appears.  For example, in a recent case Lee and I identified evidence to support the client’s contention that material on his mobile phone had resulted from his e-mail account being hacked.

Once a case reaches trial the next step is to ensure that the Jury are going to full grasp the technological evidence and the point that you wish to make.  It is therefore vital that we employ a barrister who again grasps the terminology and is able to present it in a clear and coherent way.  Nick Tucker of 12 College Place chambers has worked on such cases for 25 years and is adept at presenting the evidence to people who may have no previous experience of computer technology. His meticulous approach allows him to advise Lee and myself as to how we should progress the case and build the defence for our client.

Nick Tucker (

If you are accused of such a crime – contact us today for advice.

Law Talk Issue 1, 2018

February 20, 2018CarolineLaw Talk










In this issue:-

  • Conveyancing Today – there’s no substitute for face-to-face advice…..
  • Dealing with the public? Are your charges transparent?
  • Council Triumphs in Care Cost Limitation Claim

The information in these downloads is provided for your use but we do not accept responsibility for their content and they should not be regarded as an alternative for taking legal advice.

If you would like to go on our mailing list for Law Talk please contact Caroline Jones to be placed on our database.





Personal Style

Shentons Solicitors and Mediators invite you to an exclusive evening talk by the multi award winning personal stylist Nicola Davis of My Personal Style to raise funds for our charity of the year, Solent Mind.

On Thursday 22nd February 2018 from 6.15pm until 7.45pm.

Venue: courtesy of Hotel Du Vin, Southgate Street, Winchester

Cost: a donation of £20 all of which will go to Solent Mind to include a drink & canapes.

After the talk, there will be an opportunity to discover tips on fashion, accessories and make-up which complement your individual style and to try out some products, as well as meeting other business colleagues.

We would like to thank Nicola and the Hotel for supporting this event free of charge to maximise the amount that can be raised for Solent Mind.

RSVP to our Practice Manager Adrienne at by Friday 16th February.

Cheques are payable to Shentons or ring our Practice Manager for details of our bank to make a BACS payment.

Solent Mind is a registered Charity 1081116 providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Whilst part of a wider network, its focus is to support people living in Hampshire.

Shentons provide legal support to individuals and businesses in the Winchester and surrounding area- see more at

Nicola Davis is the owner of My Personal Style running transformational services of colour me beautiful. Details of her products and services can be found at

Law Talk Issue 4







In this issue:-

  • So you think you’re insured to drive?
  • Commercial Court imposes prison sentences on Directors
  • Thinking of giving your home away?

The information in these downloads is provided for your use but we do not accept responsibility for their content and they should not be regarded as an alternative for taking legal advice.

If you would like to go on our mailing list for Law Talk please contact Caroline Jones to be placed on our database.

So you think you’re insured to drive?

September 22, 2017Chloe JayUncategorized

by Alex Chessum

Paying for everyday items by direct debit is easy and straightforward.

It’s extremely common with car insurance providers. You pay for your car insurance by direct debit every month and the policy expires at the end of 12 months.

When the 12 month is coming to the end, your car insurance provider writes to you, or as is more likely nowadays, emails you the reminder letter that the policy is due for annual renewal. The certificate of insurance for the next 12 months is included. The policy for the next 12 months looks fine. “You don’t have to lift a finger.”

You renew the policy, the direct debit amounts continue to be taken from your bank account and nothing changes.

A few month later a police car stops you.

You are not speeding.

You haven’t been drinking.

The police officer tells you that you are driving without insurance.

But you tell the police officer that you pay by direct debit.

The police officer checks and there is no insurance in place.

When you ring up the car insurance company they tell you the direct debit was never taken and they have cancelled the policy.

They wrote to you but you have never received a letter. They propose to send you a copy of the letter. But you’re now facing a criminal prosecution.

I acted for a client who found themselves in this exact position:  Assuming that the direct debit was being taken and driving whilst completely unaware that no valid insurance policy was in place.

Driving without insurance is a strict liability offence; if you don’t have valid insurance in place you are guilty. Your intention or whether you are reckless do not factor into whether the offence can be proved.

Being guilty of driving without insurance carries a minimum penalty of 6 points.

If you already have 6 points and receive another 6 points you become a “totter” and are automatically disqualified for 6 months.

So what are your options in this scenario?

Whilst your honesty and your reasonable  belief do not play a part in whether you are guilty of the offence, you can argue that there are ‘special reasons’and therefore you should not receive 6 points.

As a lawyer I had to find previous cases where the Courts had explored what could constitute ‘special reasons’.(For the purpose of this article I am focusing purely on the offence of driving without insurance. I will address drink driving in a separate article.)

The case of R v Wickens (1958) identifies 4 criteria that must be established for special reasons to exist. Special reasons go to the heart of how the offence has occurred. On behalf of my client I submitted that not being insured to drive by virtue of the direct debit not being taken without their knowledge and the insurance cancelled without their knowledge met the Wickens criteria.

It greatly assisted my client’s case they had kept the paperwork sent by the car insurance company before the policy was due to expire. This supported the client’s honest and reasonable belief that they were insured up until the police stopped them.

The client had also kept a note of the conversation which they had with the insurance company after the police stop. The note showed the steps the client had taken to try and work out why the insurance was not in place. It also supported the point that my client did not know about the letter the insurance company had allegedly sent out saying that the policy was cancelled but the client had never received.

Fortunately for my client, the Magistrates found there were special reasons and did not endorse my client’s licence with any points. The Magistrates ordered an absolute discharge (they did not receive any formal punishment).

There is a lot of caselaw that identifies what is not a special reason, for example, if your license is endorsed with more points you will be disqualified (by virtue of “totting”). The fact you do not have previous convictions is not a special reason.

For further advice on any driving case give us a call.…..

Shentons Solicitors & Mediators, Star Lane House, Staple Gardens, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 9AD

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 844544
Facsimile: +44 (0) 1962 844501
DX: 2503 Winchester 1


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