New Corporate Tax Facilitation Offence - Part 2 of our Criminal Finances Act 2017 Summary

Roger Sahota's summary of the new corporate tax facilitation offence as published in this weeks Law Society Gazette. 

Corporate Facilitation of Tax Evasion

In recent times the Government has oft-pronounced its intention to target the facilitators and enablers of tax evasion. This new offence is directed at holding companies to account for the actions of their employees in facilitating tax evasion or assisting customers to evade tax. Only a relevant body i.e. a legal entity such as a company or partnership (wherever incorporated or organised) can commit the offence, not an individual. Two new failure to prevent offences apply – failure to prevent facilitation of domestic tax evasion and failure to prevent facilitation of foreign tax evasion. Where a person “associated with” a relevant body commits a foreign or UK tax facilitation evasion offence the relevant body will be vicariously liable. An “associated person’ is broadly defined to include an employee, agent or any other person performing services on or behalf of the relevant body. Any prosecution requires the consent of the DPP or Director of the SFO. Potential fines are unlimited.

 UK Offence (s.45)

The s.45 facilitation offence is founded on tax evasion crimes such as cheating the revenue or other fraudulent evasion offences.  Strict liability offences are excluded. Dishonest intent for the underlying offence as well as dishonest facilitation must be proved. According to the Explanatory Notes accompanying the Bill, aggressive avoidance falling short of evasion or inadvertent or negligent facilitation is not criminalised. In practice, evidence of dishonesty could include concealment, misrepresentation, non-disclosure or even recklessness in the form of turning a blind eye to wrongdoing.

Foreign Offence (s.46)

The s46 offence criminalises non-UK tax evasion by a UK company. It applies where the relevant body has a nexus with the UK, the conduct concerned amounts to an offence where the tax is levied and a dual criminality test is satisfied. Whether the HMRC should have the power to bring a prosecution in the UK for tax evasion in a foreign jurisdiction is a topic of some debate.

Reasonable Prevention Procedures Defence

Modelled on s.7(2) of the Bribery Act 2010, the Act provides for a defence where at the time of the offence the relevant body has in force “reasonable prevention procedures.” HMRC draft guidance is available and states that “If a relevant body can demonstrate that it has put in place a system of reasonable prevention procedures that identifies and mitigates its tax evasion facilitation risks, then prosecution is unlikely as it will be able to raise a defence.”

Much controversy has arisen over the new tax offences. Traditionally, to hold a company liable for the illegal acts of directors, employees or agents it was necessary to show that the individuals responsible represented it’s ‘directing mind or will.’ This approach was criticised for making it too difficult to prosecute companies, particularly large- or medium-sized ventures where the directors are some distance removed from the day-to-day actions of their employees. In the one words of one academic, this identification doctrine ‘works best in cases where it is needed least (i.e. small businesses) and works least where it is needed most’.

In expanding the scope of criminal liability for companies accused of facilitating tax evasion many observers believe that the Government has swung the pendulum too far the other way. Rather than focusing on attributing the criminal act to the company, the offences focus on and criminalise the company’s failure to prevent those who act for or on its behalf from facilitating tax evasion. Because the Act is broadly drafted it is capable of wide application. It has the potential to criminalise inadvertent facilitation in cases where senior management were unaware of and uninvolved in any criminal conduct by employees. Liability also arises even where no benefit has accrued to the company.

Time will tell if the HMRC has the resources to prosecute such cases successfully. What is clear is that the “failure to prevent” model employed here and in the Bribery Act 2010 appears to the preferred choice of Government in its efforts to reframe the law on corporate criminal liability to meet the political imperative of corporate accountability. In March this year a MOJ consultation on proposals for a new corporate liability offence for economic crime came to a close. It should come as no surprise to practitioners if the legislation proposed for this new offence, expected to be announced in the Autumn, adopts a similar format. If so, companies will have an even greater incentive in future to ensure that their compliance procedures adequately address any risk of exposure to economic crime by their employees.

 

 

Unexplained Wealth Orders and Changes to POCA - Criminal Finances Act 2017 - Part 1

Part 1 of Roger Sahota's two-part summary of the provisions of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 as published in the Law Society Gazette on the 23rd May 2017. 

Introduction

The Criminal Finances Act received royal assent on the 27th April 2017. It represents a radical overhaul of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA 2002”) anti- money laundering and confiscation regime. Notably, the Act also creates a new offence that is relevant to solicitors and other professionals providing any form of tax advice. The main provisions are summarised below and will take effect when commencement regulations are announced.

Unexplained Wealth Orders

Unexplained Wealth Orders (“UWO”) In the aftermath of the Panama papers scandal the Government has given law enforcement agencies new powers to seize suspected criminal property without bringing a prosecution. Two groups of individuals – Politically Exposed Persons (‘PEP’s) or those involved or associated with serious crime can be made subject to a UWO. In the case of PEP's no proof of a link to criminal behaviour is required. Orders for disclosure of the nature and extent of their interest in property and an explanation as to how they obtained it can be made by the High Court where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person holds assets disproportionate to their known income. Failing to comply with an order can mean that the property is deemed to be “recoverable” for the purposes of the civil recovery provisions of Part V of POCA 2002.  

Knowing or recklessly providing a false or misleading response is a criminal offence which carries a maximum two-year prison sentence.   Amending the original proposals, the House of Lords lowered the threshold so that a UWO can be made with property valued at £50,000 rather than £100,000. Where it can be shown that any party has suffered loss as a result of serious default on the part of the enforcement authority applying for the UWO after an interim freezing order is made, compensation may be available (new ss362A-T to POCA 2002 inserted.)

Disclosure Orders

Disclosure Orders Powers to order disclosure of relevant information or documents in a confiscation or SFO investigation are now extended to money laundering enquiries (s357 of POCA 2002 amended.)

SARs

Suspicious Activity Reports and Sharing Information Where the NCA refuses consent following an SAR authorised disclosure by a bank or other regulated body the 31 day “moratorium period” can be extended by a court in up to 31 day periods to a maximum additional 186 days. This will allow more time for law enforcement agencies to conduct their enquiries (ss.335 and ss.336 of POCA 2002 amended.) The Act also provides a legal gateway for regulated bodies to share information where suspicions of money laundering arise and the NCA is notified (new ss339ZB of POCA inserted). NCA officers have new powers to apply to the magistrates court for “further information orders” from regulated persons following a SAR. Client confidentiality will not be breached on compliance but LPP applies (new ss339ZH-ZK of POCA inserted).  

New Police Forfeiture Powers

Forfeiture of Moveable Objects and Bank and Building Society Accounts Precious metals, stones, watches, artistic works, face-value vouchers and postage stamps that can be used to move value across international borders are designated as “listed assets” and are the subject of new civil powers similar to the cash seizure and forfeiture scheme of Chapter 3 of Part 5 of POCA. Where there is a reasonable suspicion that such property is the proceeds of crime or that it will be used in unlawful conduct new powers to search, seize and apply for forfeiture apply (new ss303B-Z inserted.)  Similar powers allow for the freezing and forfeiture of monies in bank and building society accounts on application to a Magistrates Court subject to a minimum balance of £1,000 (new ss303Z1-Z19 inserted.)

Civil Recovery

The FCA and HMRC are given powers to bring Part V POCA 2002 civil recovery (i.e. non-conviction based asset forfeiture) proceedings in the High Court in addition to the NCA, SFO and CPS.

City Professional Cleared of Assault

Following an intervention and pre-charge representations by BSQ’s private client department partner Roger Sahota a police investigation into an allegation of assault against our client, a senior city finance professional has been discontinued.

Counsel instructed was Alexander Cameron QC of 3 Raymond Buildings.

Call our Mayfair offices on 0203 858 0851 if you require advice in connection with a criminal, regulatory or fraud prosecution.  

Immigration Adviser Cleared in Regulatory Prosecution

BSQ’s private client department reports another success. Our client, a legal professional was cleared of all charges in the Crown Court following a criminal prosecution brought by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (‘OISC’).

Counsel instructed was Siobhan Grey QC of Doughty Street Chambers together with BSQ partner Goran Stojsavljevic.  

Call our Mayfair offices on 0203 858 0851 if you require advice in connection with a criminal, regulatory or fraud prosecution.  

 

Tougher Penalties For Internet Piracy – Digital Economy Act 2017

Illegal downloading and file sharing is now rife. So far however no one in Britain has been fined and prosecuted for it. That position is unlikely to change because of new legislation that came into force yesterday. The Digital Economy Act 2017 was rushed through Parliament without the usual debating amendments to receive royal assent before Westminster closes down for the general election.

By way of an amendment to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 the maximum penalty for infringing copyright online and making it available is increased from two years to ten years. The ingredients of the offence have also been changed. The offence now requires that a person must either intend to make a monetary gain for himself or another, or know or have reason to believe that his actions will cause loss to the owner of the right or expose the owner to a risk of loss.

Strictly speaking this wording could catch the average student user downloading a torrent of their favourite show. However, targeting individual end users is not the Government’s intention. Instead, the legislation is aimed at pirates who leak and distribute copyright-infringing material for the general public.

So at present there appears to be no plans to criminalise internet users who regularly download from file sharing sites. Rather than enforcement action they are likely to receive educational warning emails from their ISPs who have signed up to the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme.

But they should guard against complacency. The Federation Against Copyright Theft has warned that “While end-users are not our primary target, they may get swept up in one of our operations and become part of the whole criminal investigation, which could lead to prosecution alongside suppliers, retailers and importers.”

 

Private Client Success - CPS Discontinue Case Against Professional Client

BSQ can report another successful outcome for our private client department. A decision was taken by the CPS this week to discontinue proceedings against our client, a qualified and regulated legal professional following an intervention by BSQ partner Goran Stojsvlejvic.

Counsel instructed was Siobhan Grey QC of Doughty Street Chambers.  Consequently, our client is free to continue in practice without a stain on their reputation.  

BSQ Election Briefing – Will BREXIT mean the end of the EAW?

If the opinion pollsters are right there will be a Tory landslide at the impending General election. But, as we await publication of the party’s election manifesto, what position will a new Conservative administration take on the EAW with BREXIT looming? BSQ partner Roger J Sahota considers the implications for Britain’s continued membership of the EAW after June 8th 2017.  

Tory divisions over the EAW system run deep and generally follow the BREXIT fault line. Brexiteers object in principle to the notion of a harmonised single market. They are also up in arms about the Europeans Council’s concomitant ambition of creating an “area of freedom, security and justice without frontiers.” The principle of “mutual recognition” i.e. that EU members should recognise the decisions of each other’s courts gives life to this notion and underpins the EAW.

Mutual recognition in practice means that UK courts have very limited scope to refuse an EAW request. They for example are not entitled to examine the evidence supporting a request which is one of the main bones of contention for the Tory right.  David Davis, now the Minister for BREXIT summed up the Eurosceptic response when he said that “there were some countries like Romania that just do not uphold the same standards of justice that we take for granted in the UK.”

Believing there is no implied parity of justice across the EU, BREXIT campaigners call for UK courts to have greater flexibility to refuse to extradite to countries where fundamental rights cannot be guaranteed than the present law allows. They cite evidence of a lack of judicial transparency or independence or doubts over the right to call evidence in many EU countries.  

They also complain that the new EAW system removed many of the safeguards under the old law before the Extradition Act 2003. No longer is the requesting state required to produce the evidence on which an arrest warrant had been based. Whether the evidence presented is insufficient to prosecute by our standards is now irrelevant.  Avenues for an appeal were also very much reduced.

As for the Government’s position on remaining within the EAW framework, Britain reaffirmed it’s commitment to it under the Coalition Government in 2014. After much controversy, the UK completed the process of having opted out of EU criminal law measures adopted before the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, before opting back in to some of them including the EAW (see BSQ Briefing)

Now, our continued participation in the system will soon be up for grabs. Negotiations over BREXIT are bound to include talks that will determine how Britain and the EU will co-operate on justice and security issues.   

Interestingly, Home Secretary Amber Rudd seemed to suggest some ambivalence in the Government’s commitment to the EAW recently. In an EAW debate in the House of Commons she said that the Government wanted to secure a system that was “as effective” as the EAW post Brexit.

That door seemed to close on the 6th March 2017 however when Rudd then confirmed in another parliamentary debate that it was a British priority to remain in the EAW system.

Noting that it was the then Home Secretary Theresa May that fought to retain the EAW at the time of the Lisbon Treaty opt out in 2014, anti-EAW campaigners may well be dissapointed when the Tories confirms their stance on the issue. Retaining the EAW is likely to be a central plank of the Government’s post BREXIT settlement.

India Extradition – Closing Submissions 

After a week long hearing before the Westminster Magistrates Court, closing submissions have concluded in BSQ’s contested fraud extradition case concerning a request made by the Government of India. The Court heard evidence from our Indian legal expert and Indian officials concerning Indian legal procedure and prison conditions in response to our submissions these were not in conformity with international human rights standards. 

Judgement is expected in May.

Extradition requests from India are rare and the decision in this case will be of interest to extradition and international criminal lawyers. Roger Sahota is the instructing solicitor. 

Roger Sahota appears at ICTY War Crimes Appeal

BSQ partner Roger Sahota is due to appear at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) next week to deliver closing submissions in the appeal against sentence and conviction of Berislav Pusic.  Roger is the only Solicitor to have appeared in a contested trial at the ICTY. Roger also features on the list of counsel eligible to practice at the ICC. 

Mr Pusic is one of six Accused standing trial in the case of Prlic et al, one of the longest running cases at the ICT. The original trial began in 2006 and finished in 2011.

Roger has been instructed throughout as counsel for Mr Pusic.

 

BSQ Briefing - Indecent Images - Time to reform the Law?

For more information about our indecent images specialisation visit our indecent images practice page

Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection made headlines last week when he called for law enforcement agencies to focus their resources on pursuing high risk offenders who viewed indecent images of children online. He complained that with 400 men a month arrested for this type of conduct, police forces were stretched to breaking point in dealing with these cases.

In making these remarks Mr Bailey drew a valuable distinction between those individuals whose online activities are targeted at making contact with children with a view to committing serious sexual offences and those who are not.

There can be no argument that law enforcement agencies should be vigilant and use all available means to apprehend those criminals who pose a risk of contact offending.

But, from our experience the vast majority of those individuals accused of viewing or downloading indecent images do not pose such a risk.

BSQ’s criminal defence team has extensive experience of representing individuals who are either under investigation or facing prosecution having viewed illegal material online. By and large our clients are professional individuals with no previous criminal history. Normally the police will be alerted to their online activities from reports submitted by their ISP providers, not from concerns from any chatroom activity. There is often little indication from their personal or family background that would suggest they pose any risk of contact offending. Many times their behaviour can be described as solitary and compulsive – typically an individual may have downloaded huge amounts of adult legal porn and other material as well as illegal child porn. They may not have viewed all of it. There will be no history of social media or other online interaction with children.

Sadly, this type of behaviour sadly appears to far more widespread that the headline statistic of 400 arrests a month would suggest. A recent report by the NSPCC suggests the number of individuals looking at such images could exceed half a million and constituted a "social emergency". The scale of the problem explains why some police forces, rather than arresting suspects in these cases are issuing cease and desist warning notices to first time offenders.

Against this background we believe efforts to divert those offenders who do not pose a risk of contact offending away from the criminal justice system to treatment within the community deserves urgent attention.

More immediately, amending the sentencing guidelines for the offence of possession or downloading of illegal child porn (p.75-81,  which makes no specific reference to a low risk of contact offending) should also be considered. Where this can be shown from expert evidence (we routinely instruct an a  psycho-sexual expert in these cases) and is coupled with evidence that an offender has made efforts to address their behaviour, it should be recognised as an additional mitigating factor.

If rehabilitation is the primary objective, criminalising those men who do view this type of material but pose no appreciable risk of contact offending is not the answer.     

Online Justice Proposals for Fare Evasion Prosecutions Criticised

New Government proposals aimed at allowing individuals accused of fare evasion to plead guilty online have been discussed in Parliament. Under the guise of promoting efficiency it is proposed that anyone charged with fare evasion will be able to plead guilty, have a case disposed of by way of a fine and make payment over the internet.

At BSQ our private client department specialises in defending individuals in these type of cases. We are concerned that these proposals risk causing injustice as they may encourage defendants to plead guilty out of convenience.

BSQ partner Roger Sahota commented that:

“Anyone charged with fare evasion should consider seeking legal advice for two reasons.

First, in the vast majority of cases we have been instructed in, particularly with first time offenders, we have managed to secure out of court settlements by negotiating with the rail companies.

More importantly, a fare evasion conviction should not be regarded a trivial matter. A conviction can lead to a criminal record. This may cause problems for individuals working in or wishing to enter the professions or seeking accreditation from a regulated body.

In our experience too many defendants fail to grasp the possible implications of a conviction for fare evasion and either ignore correspondence until it is too late or fail to take legal advice to see if they can defend or divert a prosecution."

See our fare evasion practice page for more details. 

BSQ Briefing - New pre- charge police bail rules are "flawed" says expert

New rules dictating the length of time that suspects in a police investigation can remain on bail pending a decision on charge are due to take effect in April 2017. Helpfully, the Home Office has issued guidance in advance of their introduction from the College of Policing on how the new scheme will work. While the changes are to be welcomed, defence lawyers advising individuals waiting for months or in some cases years for a CPS charging decision will find little to cheer about.

The proposals address some of the criticism raised in the media (see earlier blogs) particularly after the collapse of several recent Operation Yewtree investigations (including that concerning the DJ Paul Gambaccini, who has written a book (“Love Paul Gambaccini”) about his experience).

But the new rules are flawed because they place no limit on the length of time that a suspect can remain on bail while the CPS consider whether or not to charge. This was one of the main issues highlighted by Gambaccini who remained on bail for over a year pending a decision to proceed with the allegations of sexual misconduct made against him.

Nor will there be any opportunity for defendants to ask magistrates to review the length of time the CPS takes over a decision to charge. In our experience charging decisions can take months, if not years in some cases, a situation which is clearly unacceptable and arguably in breach of ECHR guarantees that criminal investigations should be carried out within a reasonable time.

However, there is much to be welcomed in the proposals which bite in the context of police bail investigations where enquiries are still being carried out before a file is passed to the CPS for a charging decision. The proposals include provisions that;

-       Police bail during an investigation must be reviewed at regular intervals i.e. at 28 days, 3 months and 6 months by an authorising officer of the rank of inspector or above (although the clock will stop whenever a file is with the CPS for a charging review);

-       Defence Lawyers will be allowed to make representations to the police re e.g. conditions imposed on bail and the length of time an investigation is taking;

-       There is an onus on the police to keep suspects informed of the progress of an investigation;

-       Suspects will be able to ask a Magistrate to review the grant of bail in certain circumstances after an internal police review;

-       Bail can only be extended beyond a period of 6 months if a case is deemed to be “exceptionally complex” with the approval of an authorised prosecutor;

Importantly, the police will be able to opt out entirely of the regime if they deem that a suspect can be released without granting bail – there is no barrier to an investigation continuing in this situation.

Practitioners can also expect some interesting litigation concerning the interpretation of when it is “necessary and proportionate” for bail to be granted by senior police officers and the courts.

Finally, perhaps the most useful aspect of the new regime from a defence lawyers point of view will be the ability to appeal to a magistrates to review a decision to extend police investigative bail. From disclosure requests and by cross-examining the officer in the case in the course of this application clients will have a tactical opportunity to obtain far more information about the progress of an investigation than the police currently disclose or may necessarily wish to disclose.

 

 

The importance of instructing a Defence Expert in indecent images Investigations

Roger Sahota, an acknowledged authority in this area, explains why it is essential that the technical evidence relied on by the police and CPS should be properly scrutinised.

In any indecent images investigation the critical evidence that will largely determine the outcome of a case will be the Crown’s expert forensics examiners report.

Commissioned by the police at the pre-charge investigation stage, the report will be compiled by a police officer from the hi-tech crime unit or independent forensics expert.  The identity of the expert will be important – police officers who are asked to produce these reports can often be challenged on grounds of bias or because they do not meet the definition of an expert.

The report will contain an analysis based on an electronic audit of what is recovered from a hard drive, RAM or digital storage seized by police during the searches of property connected to a suspect. Importantly, the report will not just confirm if illegal material has been found. It should also identify when, where and by whom the device was used at the time any material was downloaded or viewed.

Surprisingly, the work commissioned by the police is often riddled with errors. Our research suggests that, for example, 40% all the images located in the police data base are incorrectly graded according to the sentencing guidelines matrix.

Moreover, with the impact of swingeing cuts to police budgets, many police forces are limiting the scope of the work they ask their experts to conduct in order to save costs.

Cutting corners in this way means that there are often gaps or errors in the contents of the report produced by the prosecution because for example a full review of the entire contents of a hard drive may not be executed.

As a starting point, defence lawyers should therefore never assume that the contents of any report relied on by the Crown are complete and reliable. Nor should they assume that the Crown’s experts have correctly applied the law to the facts of a case.

Frequently, we have found that the reports relied on in cases we have been instructed in do not contain sufficient information so as to satisfy the legal test for the prosecution of the two main offences that arise i.e. either the possession or the making of indecent images.

To prove the offence of making (the legal term which includes the act of downloading) for example the onus is on the Crown to show that each individual file discovered was deliberately downloaded with knowledge of its contents. In other words, the Prosecution must demonstrate how each individual picture/movie/thumbnail/cached image was downloaded and by whom. Often it will be difficult to establish this (depending on where in the hard drive the images or video files were found.)

To prove the offence of possession of extreme or indecent images, the prosecutor must produce evidence that material found on a computer had been viewed. Any possibility that the illegal data comprises e.g. pictures from the cached section of a web page that may not been viewed by the user has to be eliminated. Once again, depending on the location of the  suspected images or video files, the Crown may struggle to prove this fact.

Without the benefit of a defence expert’s report, defence lawyers may not be able to take advantage of a range of technical defences that regularly arise in these types of cases. 

Contact Roger Sahota at our London office if you have a query concerning an indecent images or computer related police investigation. 

 

 

BSQ Awarded Lexcel Mark of Excellence

 

Berkeley Square Solicitors are pleased to confirm that the practice has been awarded a Lexcel mark by the Law Society.  

What does Lexcel mean?

Designed especially for providers of legal services, Lexcel sets out required rules and guidelines to help raise standards and ensure consistency in the technical quality of legal advice offered and levels of client service.

In England and Wales, Lexcel is only available to legal providers that are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority. Law firms based overseas can also be accredited against the Lexcel International Standard.

Why choose a Lexcel accredited practice?

If you want peace of mind and reassurance when choosing a provider of legal services, look for Lexcel - the quality mark for excellence in legal practice management and client care.

Lexcel is a voluntary quality standard designed especially for the legal sector.

Accredited practices commit to raising and continuously improving the quality of advice and service they deliver.

Annual re-accreditation against the Lexcel Standard by independent assessors and mandatory training help ensure continued compliance and competence.

 

VP v Lithuania – EAW challenges face further hurdles

In 2015 the Government responded to criticism over a number of controversial cases where UK subjects extradited under the EAW faced lengthy pre-trial detention by amending the Extradition Act 2003 (see BSQ blog).  An amended s12A was inserted into the Act creating a new bar to extradition where there was likely to be a long delay before trial in the requesting state.

In Puceviciene v Lithuanian Judicial Authority [2016] EWHC 1862 (Admin) (“VP v Lithuania’) the Divisional Court has now provided guidance on the operation of s12A. With the Lord Chief Justice presiding, the new guidance will be disappointing to many practitioners – all three cases under appeal failed and it is expected that s12A will be more narrowly applied in future as a result. In short the decision rendered means that the questions to be considered when applying s12A include;

1.     Whether a decision had been made in the requesting state by a continental prosecutor to put the requested person (RP) on trial as opposed to charging him (the position under the previous authority Kandola v Germany [2015] EWHC 619 Admin 1 WLR 5097 (DC);

2.     The focus should be on whether decision had been made – not if formal legal steps had been taken leading to a trial;    

3.     The s12A bar cannot be relied on where the sole reason for the failure to reach a decision is the wanted persons absence – in many EAW countries the prosecutor is required to question a suspect before proceeding with a case – the court should not enquire if the Requesting State could use mutual assistance provisions to interview the RP in the UK;

4.     Timing – the question is whether a decision to try the RP has been made at the time the request is before the UK courts – not the time the request was made. 

 

 

Daniel Godden represents Darryl Rowe in HIV GBH Allegation

Berkeley Square Solicitors partner has been instructed to represent Darryl Rowe. Mr Rowe has now been charged with eight counts of causing grievous bodily harm and one count of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm.

The case will be heard at Lewes Crown Court.  

Sussex Police have said the allegations against Mr Rowe are that he deliberately infected men he met with HIV.

Daniel Godden has previously acted in number of similar cases, none of which have resulted in convictions.

The case has generated substantial media coverage. Read more here

Berkeley Square Partner Instructed in Murder Investigation

Berkeley Square partner Goran Stojsavljevic has been instructed to represent one of the Accused in a multi-handed murder prosecution. Proceedings are at a early stage.

Goran's practice focuses on representing both individuals and corporate bodies investigated and prosecuted for serious and financial crime.

If you require advice in an ongoing criminal investigation please contact our London offices. 

Crown Court Acquittal for Private Crime Department

Berkeley Square Solicitors can report a third successive acquittal in recent weeks for our private client crime department.

Our client, a company director was acquitted after a 5 day trial in the Crown Court. Charges related to an allegation of assault.

Berkeley Square's private crime department specialises in defending professionals of good character in criminal proceedings. We are pleased to report a number of outstanding results in recent contested criminal trials - see our recent blog entries here and here. 

Counsel instructed was Michael McGarian of Drystone Chambers. The instructing solicitor was Roger J Sahota.