CPS North West Successes - 2013

Paralegal Officer Battles Through Snow To Get Evidence

Carolyn Battersby, Paralegal Officer, Greater Manchester CPS

A 39 year old man from Manchester entered a guilty plea to GBH and was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court in January 2013.

The defendant was charged after repeatedly punching his partner in the face and body causing facial injuries and a broken rib and wrist.

The Judge ordered the prosecution to obtain more detailed medical evidence before a plea was accepted from the defendant. Unfortunately, the officer in the case was off work with meningitis and the defendant was in custody and the Custody Time Limits were due to expire. However, the case could not progress any further until the questions around the medical evidence were resolved.

Carolyn had to act quickly and contacted the medical secretaries at the hospital to arrange for one of them to meet her at the gates of the hospital at 7.30am in the snow to hand over a copy of the medical notes, injury photographs, the case summary and a list of questions for the doctor to address in the medical statement. The CPS received the statement just in time for the court hearing, when the defendant had no choice but to plead guilty.

Ian Rushton, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: With dogged determination, Carolyn sorted out this problem and on her own steam and in adverse weather conditions drove from home to Bolton Royal Hospital requesting in person a further statement. Carolyns actions no doubt significantly contributed to the defendant pleading guilty to the offence and receiving a suspended custodial sentence.

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Conviction For Historic Sexual Offences After 20 Years On The Run

Anne-Marie Nicholls, Senior Crown Prosecutor, and Carolyn Battersby, Paralegal Officer, Greater Manchester CPS

In October 1993, Sean Connolly failed to attend his trial for rape charges. He fled the country before establishing a new life in the south of England. The arrest warrant from 1993 was discovered when he was stopped by a traffic officer in November 2012.

The police and CPS files had since been destroyed and there were no contact details for the victim and witnesses.

Anne-Marie requested the original court papers, which included only the indictment, statements and a witness list. After reviewing the evidence, she decided that the case should again go to trial.

Carolyn quickly asked the police to ascertain if the victim still supported the prosecution. The victim and witnesses were traced and the majority were willing to give evidence.

Carolyn argued against the suggestion that the victim should read her evidence on video as she would be recognised by the defendant and, furthermore, applied for special measures. The victim gave evidence from behind a screen in court.

Just two months after his arrest, the trial commenced and the defendant was convicted and sentenced to six and a half years imprisonment.

Ann-Marie Nicholls said: We were able to assemble a strong case with limited paperwork, even after 20 years which is probably why the defendant decided to skip the original trial.

Carolyn Battersby said This was my first cold case. It does not matter how old the case, we will do everything in our power to support witnesses and victims."

Ian Rushton, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: With dogged determination, Carolyn and Anne-Marie managed to build a strong case even without a file and he was convicted of the charges he thought he had got away with.

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Man Jailed in Explosives Cold Case

Joanna White, Senior Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West Complex Casework Unit

In 1999, Stephen Kay connected a homemade explosive device to the back door of the home of someone against whom he had a grudge. Another person opened the door, but fortunately the device did not explode.

The case was investigated but, at that time, there was insufficient evidence to charge Kay. Ten years later, the police conducted a cold case review.

Joanna White worked tirelessly with Lancashire police to carefully piece the evidence back together. However, there was no direct evidence of Kay committing the offences. Joanna commissioned a report from a clinical psychologist to profile Kay's behaviour and authorised that he be charged. Using this report, she held the Judge's attention for almost an hour outlining the complex evidence. She succeeding in opposing bail and Kay was remanded in custody.

At the trial in December 2012, the Jury did not reach a verdict. However, a retrial was ordered, as the evidence was still compelling, regardless of its complexities. Joanna successfully opposed bail again and Kay remained in custody awaiting the second trial in April 2013, at which Kay was convicted.

Joanna White said: "Regardless of the time elapsed since the offence, I wanted the victims to know that they hadnt been forgotten. I believe that justice has now been served for something that had it worked as Kay had planned, could have killed someone."

John Dilworth, Head of the Complex Casework Unit, said: "Joanna demonstrated stoic commitment to this case, putting the evidence together in a mosaic process and allowing an ultimately compelling picture of guilt to emerge."

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Fran Gough and Sharon Hicks set new standards in immigration fraud cases

Fran Gough, Senior Crown Prosecutor and Sharon Hicks, Paralegal Officer, CPS North West Complex Casework Unit

Seven members of an organised immigration fraud gang were jailed for 20 years at Manchester Crown Court. The gang leader, Ataur Talukdar, who received eight years imprisonment, organised a group of friends and relatives to illegally assist foreign nationals to remain in the UK. They were found to have criminal assets in excess of £700,000 passing through bank accounts.

This was the largest case that the Home Office Immigration team had investigated; it took three years to complete. Fran Gough and Sharon Hicks worked closely with the Home Office team, including Fran providing unswerving support to a disclosure officer who was new to the role. Their contribution was fundamental to the success of the case and resulted in new standard practices being put in place for all future cases of this type, including training for Home Office staff about what evidence is needed for a successful prosecution.

Fran and Sharon worked alongside Home Office Immigration and Greater Manchester Police to piece together the complex strands of evidence, which consisted of over 10,000 pages including statements from 131 witnesses. They also had to deal with unprecedented defence requests for material held by the Home Office.

The strength of the case resulted in two of the gang members pleading guilty early on in the trial, whilst five were convicted by the jury, including Talukdar, the gang leader.

John Dilworth, Head of the North West CCU said: "No one could have anticipated how large this operation was and how it would snowball over the weeks, months and years that followed. I would like to thank Fran and Sharon for their hard work and commitment in this novel and complex case."

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Alison Mutch, Howard Gough, Joanne Lovick, Lindsay Crossley and Barrie Darby work fast to bring killer back from Holland to face justice

Alison Mutch, Branch Crown Prosecutor, Howard Gough, District Crown Prosecutor, Joanne Lovick, Senior Crown Prosecutor, Lindsay Crossley, Paralegal Officer and Barrie Darby, Crown Advocate and Junior Counsel, CPS North West

Joseph Davies stabbed Kelly Davies at her home in Greater Manchester on 2 June 2012, before fleeing, leaving their young daughter in the house with her mother's body.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) received intelligence that he was in Holland, so the CPS had to work fast to ensure his arrest before he fled further afield. Howard Gough worked alongside GMP finalising a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) application, and there was liaison with the Head of the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division about seeking an EAW on the threshold test. Davies was arrested six days later in a hospital bed, after being hit by a tram in The Hague, and was extradited to the UK. Alison Mutch worked promptly to review the evidence and authorise charges. This was one of the first ever EAWs applied for on the threshold test, and resulted in the CPS legal guidance being amended so that EAWs can be applied for in this way in exceptional circumstances.

Joanne Lovick, Lindsay Crossley and Barrie Darby worked exceptionally hard to prepare and prosecute the case twice. The first trial took place in February 2013. Barrie prosecuted solo on two days in lead counsel's absence, including examination in chief of an expert witness. However, the jury were unable to reach a verdict. The prosecution opposed bail and he was kept in custody to await re-trial in September 2013. Barrie prosecuted solo again for one day whilst assisting four witnesses who required extra support. Davies was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 22 years' imprisonment.

Elizabeth Reed, Branch Crown Prosecutor said: "I would like to thank Howard for his commitment to achieve the EAW in a very tight timescale. Re-trials can be difficult, however the team's perseverance and hard work paid off to achieve this successful outcome."

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Dana Gledhill and Karen Shea pull out all the stops over two trials to secure the conviction of a crooked court administrator and twenty-eight others

Dana Gledhill, Senior Crown Prosecutor, and Karen Shea, Paralegal Officer, CPS North West

David Kelly, an administrator at Liverpool Magistrates Court, was jailed for six years for several offences of conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice. Evidence showed that Kelly had illegally removed points from people's driving licences between 2004 and 2010. Twenty-eight others were also jailed for 21 years in total for paying to have points removed.

Karen and Dana worked alongside Merseyside police throughout the three year investigation. Both worked long hours, including weekends, during the two trials whilst managing their other workload. Karen assisted at first appearances and she attended hearings when she was on leave.

Karen was presented with a series of challenges during the trials, from managing legal requests to supplying cushions and a kettle for the witnesses and magnifying glasses for everyone in court. She facilitated additional evidence overnight from an insurance company which was available to use in court the next morning.

The team's hard work was acknowledged by Merseyside Police, prosecuting counsel and the judge.

Martin Hill, Senior District Crown Prosecutor, said: "I have been tremendously impressed by the teamwork that Dana and Karen have shown in dealing with this complex case. They have really gone the extra mile. They have both embodied the CPS Values to achieve a great result, setting an example for their colleagues."

Chris Long, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said: "Both have worked tirelessly, going well beyond expectations. Their dedication and commitment has been impressive and evident throughout with praise from the police, counsel and the judge. Their focus and resilience has helped to ensure justice has been served."

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Kevin Richards' determination ensures justice for an extremely vulnerable young victim

Kevin Richards, Paralegal Officer, CPS North West

In October 2013 husband and wife Ilyas and Tallat Asahar were jailed for a total of 18 years after trafficking a vulnerable young girl from Pakistan into the UK. She was held captive in a cellar, used for forced labour and repeatedly raped by Illyas over a number of years.

Kevin Richards was tirelessly committed to the case - which posed exceptional challenges for the Criminal Justice System - ensuring a successful conclusion.

A first trial took place in 2012, but the jury could not agree on a number of counts and a re-trial was ordered. The defence then appealed against convictions for matters proved at the first trial. Kevin liaised with counsel, the Court of Appeal and the defence and the appeal was successfully resisted.

Kevin made sure that every conceivable consideration was given to the victim, who is profoundly deaf and unable to speak, has no formal sign language with which to communicate and no family or friends in this country. He organised a complex sequence of arrangements with intermediaries. The principal intermediary is deaf and without speech and constructed his own bespoke sign language to communicate with her.

The original intermediary had to be replaced for the re-trial. Kevin found someone who was qualified to stand in and ensured she was properly briefed for the trial.

Ian Rushton, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor said: "This was an extremely challenging case; at the heart of it was a vulnerable young victim. With commendable determination, the measures which Kevin almost singlehandedly arranged were truly special in every sense of the word. His hard work and dedication enabled the victim to give her evidence in the two trials and the defendants were brought to justice for their appalling actions."

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Cheryl Hramiak leads the way in developing staff potential

Cheryl Hramiak, Senior District Crown Prosecutor, CPS North West

Feedback from recent staff surveys was that staff at CPS North West wanted and needed increased awareness of the job application process and the skills needed to apply for jobs within the Service.

In April 2013, Cheryl Hramiak volunteered to design and deliver a continual training and development programme, to cultivate in-house talent and initiate succession planning (developing staff to take on more senior roles in future). Administrators, aspiring managers and new managers were identified as potentially benefitting from the programme.

The first session was delivered two months later, with seven full-day courses delivered so far with CPS East Midlands and CPS Mersey-Cheshire staff also attending. More are planned.

The interactive sessions are delivered by experienced staff and Cheryl then provides follow up support. Cheryl Hramiak said: "It is crucial we develop a pool of managers who are in a good position to apply for promotion as positions arise. It is extremely rewarding to see people getting promotions and achieving their goals."

Usman Iqbal, Performance Officer said, after attending the course: "I found it very useful. Having applied for various roles and promotions previously but not got past the initial assessment, I have since secured a temporary promotion which I start in a few weeks' time."

Jim Brisbane, Chief Operating Officer said: "This programme is one of the finest and most relevant initiatives of the last few years and I'm delighted that some of its elements will be incorporated into the wider programme to develop talented staff across the CPS."

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