Thames and Chiltern CPS member of staff recognised in Successes of the Month - June 2012

09/07/2012

Honourable mentions: Two CPS prosecutors are awarded 'red bags'

Duncan Ritchie, HCA CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, and Matthew Walsh, Crown Advocate for CPS Thames and Chiltern

Two CPS lawyers have recently been awarded 'Red Bags'. Red Bags are given by leading barristers (QCs) to junior barristers in recognition of particularly great work that they have done in court, usually in a particular case. Red Bags are the only bags that etiquette allows in court. Junior barristers may carry Blue Bags, but these are permitted no further than the robing room.

Martin Goldman, CCP for Yorkshire and Humberside, said: "Duncan demonstrates a very high level of commitment and consistency as an advocate, regularly going 'above and beyond' to achieve excellent results at court. He is excelling as a junior and has recently been awarded a red bag by Nicky Campbell QC in recognition of the esteem in which he is held by the local bar. This is a rare honour and richly deserved.  His commitment and skill brings great credit to the Service."

Matthew Walsh was the junior in the case of R v Johnston and others in December 2011 and his leader was Noel Lucas QC.  On Thursday, 24 May 2012, Matthew was awarded his 'red bag''. Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern CPS said: "This is one of the great traditions of the bar. This only happens in exceptional circumstances and is a rite of passage for any barrister. Matthew obviously made an excellent impression on Noel Lucas QC, and is an asset to Thames and Chiltern CPS."

Matthew said: "I was thrilled to have my hard work recognised and to receive the bag, and a letter from the DPP recognising my achievement."

Other successes of the month for June can be read below:

Alex Matic (Lawyer) and Kulwant Sira (Paralegal Officer), CPS London

Alex and Kulwant help to stop 'follow-on''robberies in Redbridge

A gang of teenagers were convicted following a series of robberies during which large sums of money were stolen from vulnerable people as they were leaving banks in Ilford. Members of the gang would wait in the bank and communicate information about their victims to other members who would then pursue and rob them.

In August 2011, three defendants had been charged, but it soon became clear that the robberies were not isolated incidents. Throughout October, November and December the remaining nine defendants were identified and charged.

Originally, all defendants had been charged separately, but Alex Matic drafted the application to link the cases and instructed counsel accordingly. He advised the police throughout the investigation and he and Paralegal Officer Kulwant Sira ensured compliance with court orders about further evidence which was used to prove to the jury that the defendants had been communicating with one another on the days in question. This evidence, coupled with the successful admission of bad character - opposed by all defence representatives - was instrumental in securing convictions. The overall strength of this evidence prompted three of the defendants to enter guilty pleas in January 2012. Three further defendants pleaded guilty before the trial at which the remaining defendants were convicted. The gang were sentenced to a total of 38 years, the longest sentence being for five and a half years. As a result, this type of 'follow-on' robbery effectively ceased in the borough.

Snaresbrook Senior District Crown Prosecutor Lionel Idan said: "This case is yet another example of strong partnership working between the CPS and MPS. This was an evidentially complex case to piece together and the fact that all 11 members of this gang of robbers were successfully brought to justice is a true reflection of all the hard work, ability and strong case management skills of Alex and Kulwant. The positive impact that these convictions have had on the local community in Redbridge is a measure of just how significant and important this prosecution was, and the efforts of Alex and Kulwant and their enormous dedication and professionalism are to be greatly commended."

Stephen Davies (Senior Crown Prosecutor) and Joy Hughes (Casework Manager), CPS Cymru-Wales

Stephen and Joy land convictions to end huge burglary conspiracy

Stephen and Joy have been awarded commendations from Chief Constable Ian Arundale of Dyfed Powys Police in recognition of their sterling work on a major burglary and conspiracy operation that covered Wales and England.
Operation Yak involved the investigation and prosecution of one of the largest conspiracy to commit burglary operations ever handled in Wales. The gang operated from Wiltshire through North Wales, Dyfed-Powys, Gwent, West Mercia and Cheshire and stole property valued at more than £300,000.

Mold Crown Court heard 114 house burglaries had been committed. Over 30 properties were targeted along the A55 corridor from Ewloe, through Holywell, Denbigh, Abergele, Bangor and Caernarfon where unoccupied houses were broken into and jewellery and cash stolen.

The two gang ringleaders, Krzysztof Karmaciuk and Ryszard Elert, were jailed for seven years each at the end of May. At the conclusion of the case, Judge Nick Parry commended the quality of the investigation and case preparation work undertaken by the team.

In a case that involved six police forces, Joy and Stephen, working from the CPS office in Newtown - one of the smallest in the country - put in an immense amount of hard work from pre-charge stage right through to conviction, working most closely alongside colleagues in Dyfed Powys Police to ensure that this huge and complex case reached a successful conclusion.

In his commendation citation, Dyfed Powys Chief Constable Ian Arundale comments: "The team are commended for taking the lead on this demanding and complex case - in particular their tenacity and diligence, as well as the sustained level of attention to detail necessary in the preparation of a significant case file to bring offenders to justice."

CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, Humberside District and Yorkshire and Humberside Complex Casework Unit

Driving up performance, despite challenging times

The Humberside District has consistently driven up performance despite challenging times.

Jan Hills, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS Humberside said: "Humberside has continued to succeed through good communication, motivation and delegation. This is borne out in their performance figures. They have achieved the lowest unit cost in the country and are consistently in the top four districts for their performance in tackling rape and domestic violence.

"They have managed to perform at a consistently high level, achieving some of the best outcomes on homophobic crime in the country with a 0 per cent attrition rate (cases that do not result in conviction) in the last quarter of 2011-2012 and are one of the lead districts nationally on domestic violence (17.4 per cent) and rape (27.3 per cent). The team combines this quality with lowest average unit cost in the country in 2011.

"During a recent visit, the DPP described Humberside Witness Care Unit as the 'best in the country'. They regularly attract praise from lawyers, admin, courts and police colleagues but most importantly they are recognised by the victims and witnesses they work with. They've had flowers, cards, and offers of dinner by way of thanks from the victims and witnesses they have supported - and the figures back this up with witness attendance at 91 per cent, compared to the national average of 88 per cent."

In terms of wider Area achievements, Yorkshire and Humberside Complex Casework Unit has worked hard to reduce costs.

Karen Wright, Area Business Manager for Yorkshire and Humberside said: "Average costs have reduced by more than 20 per cent in the past year. This has been achieved by the whole team having a continuous focus on costs and is thanks to the combined work of all the paralegal assistants, paralegal officers and lawyers on the team."

Simon Jones, Crown Advocate, and Nick Maguire, paralegal officer, CPS Wessex

Excellent handling of a difficult murder case

Simon Jones was junior counsel in the recent case of Elliott Turner. Turner, 20, was convicted of the murder of his 17-year-old girlfriend, Emily Longley. His parents were convicted of perverting the course of public justice.

Simon kept contact with Emily Longley's family throughout the trial, explaining the different stages of the trial and keeping them informed and supported.

During the case, Tim Mousley QC asked Simon to cross-examine the mother of the defendant who was subsequently convicted of perverting the course of public justice. She is waiting to be sentenced.

While the verdict was being awaited, a further legal issue cropped up, which could have caused problems. However, Simon acted quickly and calmly and the situation was resolved smoothly.

Emily Longley's family, who travelled from New Zealand for the trial, said that they felt really supported by Simon, Tim Mousley and Dorset Police and they thanked the prosecution team when they spoke to the media after the trial.

Tim Mousley QC said: "This was a prosecution for which Wessex CPS can feel very proud. The investigation began with inconclusive pathology as to the cause of death, but it ended with convictions on every count for every defendant.

"Nick Maguire was excellent in his caseworker role - enthusiastic and thoroughly reliable.

"Simon continues to impress. Above all, he has really sound judgment. I did not hesitate to let him loose in cross-examining the third defendant."

Simon Jones said: "I felt really proud to be part of the Prosecution team in this case.  The strong partnership between the CPS and Police was evident throughout. I would like to thank everyone involved."