R v O – Croydon Crown Court – Our client was due to stand trial in relation to an offence of wounding with intent, which arose from a ‘road rage’ incident back in 2015. There had previously been a number of hearings in this case, the last of which had been a listing for trial at the end of 2016. Unfortunately, the prosecutions consistent refusal to disclose the complainant’s historic medical records, which the defence had always identified as potentially relevant, prevented the defence from being trial ready. Following an oral application by the defence and despite their opposition, the Crown Prosecution Service were ordered by the Court to deal adequately with this disclosure.

As a result and earlier this year, we received a large bundle of documents and medical records stretching back some years. Careful consideration of this material highlighted the real possibility that some of the injuries and subsequent symptoms complained of by the victim, as being caused by our client, appeared to have been pre-existing.

The case was again listed for trial. Armed with the information we had sought for so long, counsel was able to submit that a guilty plea to the lesser offence of wounding would be appropriate in the circumstances. Both prosecuting counsel and the Learned Judge were in agreement, with the Judge indicating that should a guilty pela be entered, even at such a late stage, he would not seek to impose an immediate custodial sentence in this case.

Our client pleaded guilty to wounding and following mitigation by defence counsel received a sentence of 18 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years together with an order for compensation. Taking into account that had he been convicted of the more serious offence he would have expected a sentence of 6 years imprisonment, this was a truly fantastic result.

Steve Foster of the CWD Private Crime Team said ‘This really is a fine example of hard work and determination eventually paying dividends for our clients. Despite huge frustration and dogged opposition from the Crown, we were able to obtain information not generally available to defence teams. Contained in those papers was precisely the information we needed to keep this man out of prison. If we hadn’t stuck to our guns, together with counsel, we may never had found it. The potential consequence of that for our client was unthinkable. We’re just really grateful to our barrister Matthew McDonagh for putting in so much hard work and also so pleased for our client and his family. They can now start to rebuild their lives following the uncertainty of the last year or so’

Later that day we received a message from a very grateful client:

“I don’t think I thanked you properly, so was ringing to say thank you very much. You’ve been great support and your passion is what has kept me going all throughout. I just wanted to say thank you and wish you the best, hope to meet again in a different more positive place”

Matthew McDonagh of Outer Temple Chambers http://www.outertemple.com/barristers/matthew-mcdonagh/ was instructed by Steve Foster and Paul Coleman of the CWD Private Crime Team