criminal solicitor

BSQ Instructed in SFO Amex Foster Wheeler Bribery Act Investigation

BSQ partner Daniel Godden has been instructed in an ongoing SFO investigation into allegations of bribery corruption at Amec Foster Wheeler.

BSQ is presently instructed in a number of ongoing criminal investigations and prosecutions conducted by the SFO.

Read more about the case here.

Daniel is recognised as one of the leading criminal practitioners in London. Daniel is described by the Legal 500 as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ who is ‘first rate’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’.

If you require advice in a SFO investigation or prosecution please contact our London offices.

BSQ News - Private Prosecution Quashed as Abuse of Process

BSQ partner Daniel Godden has successfully advised a Company Director in a private prosecution alleging serious fraud. Our client CX faced charges of conspiracy to commit fraud in the Crown Court.

The case concerned an allegation that a UK subsidiary company had defrauded it’s European parent supplier. The prosecution was stayed following an application before a Crown Court judge as an abuse of process. Daniel’s client was the only Director of three accused to have the charges against him stayed.   

BSQ is currently instructed in a number of cases where we act for private individuals and companies in defending private prosecutions.

Daniel is recognised as one of the leading criminal practitioners in London. Daniel is described by the Legal 500 as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ who is ‘first rate’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge’.

If you require advice and assistance in defending a private prosecution please contact our London offices

BSQ Briefing – Legal Privilege for Corporate Clients in Criminal Investigations Following SFO v ENRC

In an important precedent the Court of Appeal have strongly defended the principle that companies facing a possible criminal investigation can rely on legal professional privilege to preserve the confidentiality of their communications with the professional advisers.

SFO v ENRC concerned the application of the principle of “litigation privilege’ which applies to communications between a client and a third party who is not the clients lawyer.

ENRC began an internal investigation after they became aware of the allegations of corruption made by a whistleblower. The company asked external lawyers and forensic accountants to carry out an internal enquiry. During the course of the enquiry, their external advisers interviewed a large number of employees and collated a large body of material interview notes as a result of their enquiries.

In 2011 the SFO approached ENRC asking to inspect this material. ENRC declined the SFO’s request. The SFO then applied to the High Court for a declaration that the documents they wished to examine were not covered by litigation privilege and should therefore be disclosed.

The Court of Appeal reversed a previous High Court decision to grant the declaration. It held that litigation privilege did apply to ENRC’s communications with the accountants and lawyers they had instructed to conduct an internal enquiry.

The Appeal Judges held that “both criminal and civil proceedings (could)…reasonably be said to be in contemplation” at the time ENRC instructed their professional advisers to assist them in an internal investigation.

In support of this the Court referred to the fact that the SFO had contacted the company raising their concerns by the time the external advisers had begun their interviews and enquiries. The Court also said that a company could contemplate litigation in theory even before the authorities contacted an organisation. In this scenario, once contact had been made by the SFO, there were clear grounds to suggest that ENRC acted in contemplation of a criminal prosecution.

Secondly, the Court held that litigation privilege did extend to communications with the purpose of heading off, avoiding or settling contemplated proceedings. These matters were covered by litigation privilege in the same way that advice on resisting or defending proceedings were.

Taking what it described as a realistic and commercial view of the flats, the Court found that there was a clear public interest in companies relying on LPP when investigating allegations of wrongdoing before approaching prosecutors. This was especially the case for large and medium-sized companies where a company board or legal officers may not know the full extent of the underlying facts.

The approach taken by the Court of Appeal will provide some assurance for companies thinking of undertaking internal investigations using external advisers. These normally arise when allegations of unlawful conduct are made – normally concerning allegations of bribery and corruption – by contractors or staff. Following the SFO v ENRC decision companies taking legal advice will be protected by the cloak of privilege that applies to the product of these enquiries.

If you require advice and assistance in relation to a company or corporate fraud investigation please contact our London offices.

BSQ Instructed in Two New Search Warrant Challenges

BSQ is presently acting in two search warrant challenges arising from complex and high profile for police investigations. 

In both cases, BSQ are currently engaged in pre-action litigation correspondence with the police and state investigation teams. Both claims relate to submissions advanced on behalf of BSQ client’s that the police acted unlawfully when applying ex parte – without notifying the respondents–  for warrants to search our clients premises from a Magistrate’s Court.

Our submissions in one of these cases arose after our clients sought a second opinion having been advised by their original solicitors that there were no grounds to challenge the conduct of the police who had obtained warrants to search premises in the course of a long-running investigation.

BSQ partner Roger Sahota acts in both cases. Roger has considerable expertise in challenging search warrants and is one of the leading solicitor practitioners in this area. Learn more about Roger’s practice here and recent cases here and here and here.

If you require advice and assistance to challenge a search warrant or in the course of a police investigation please contact our London offices.

BSQ Partner Daniel Godden Writes for Blackstones Criminal Practice 2019

BSQ partner Daniel Gordon has been commissioned to contribute to Blackstone’s Criminal Practice 2019. Blackstones is regarded as one of the authoritative reference sources for criminal lawyers practising in England and Wales. 

Daniel has been instructed to write and update the publications chapter on police powers.

Daniel specialises in defending serious fraud and financial crime cases. He is recognised as one of the leading criminal practitioners in London and is described by the Legal 500 as a ‘fantastic lawyer’ who is ‘first rate’ with ‘encyclopaedic knowledge.’

BSQ Private Client Acquittal for Medical Physician

BSQ’s private client department has secured an acquittal for our professional client, a consultant medical physician. Our client was charged with offences contrary to the public order act and was acquitted following a unanimous jury verdict after a trial in the Crown Court. Roger Sahota was the conducting solicitor.  Counsel instructed was Michael McGarian QC of Drystone Chambers.

“I cannot thank you both enough for the efforts and services you have provided me since being notified by the police regarding the charges that were brought against me.

It has been a very difficult time for me and almost consumed a year of my life thinking about all the ways that this could have gone wrong and ruined my career, as well as other repercussions of criminal charges. Thankfully together as a team you put a stop to that happening.

Roger you have always kept a calm, organised and positive outlook from day one which helped me do the same during this lengthy wait for trial as well as everything preceding.

Michael your flair and passion really showed from our first meeting and kept consistent until the end. You inspired both myself and S.. to rise to the occasion of speaking in the courtroom as well as giving us all the best hope when we watched how rigorously you fought for my case.

My family and I all feel extremely well represented by you both and it's been a pleasure to have met you. I wish you both very well in the future.”

BSQ’s private client department has a formidable reputation for securing successful outcomes on behalf of our professional clients in a criminal and regulatory proceedings.We are pleased to report a number of outstanding results in recent contested criminal trials - see our recent blog entries – herehere and here.

If you are a professional charged with a serious criminal offence and require legal advice, please contact our London offices.

BSQ Cash Seizure Success

In contested cash seizure proceedings BSQ partner Roger Sahota has successfully secured the return of £10,000 to one of our clients. The cash was detained in the course of a fraud investigation concerning an investment broker in the city. After protracted correspondence, no further action was taken in relation to the underlying criminal investigation and cash seized from our client was returned.

 Roger Sahota has acted in a number of cases recently where he has successfully secured the return of large sums of cash detained in cash seizure proceedings before the Magistrate’s Court bought under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 - see here,

Roger is also currently instructed in a number of contested cash seizure and account freezing order proceedings before the Westminster Magistrate’s Court.

 If you require advice and assistance in relation to a cash seizure case please contact our London offices.

BSQ Instructed in Another Indian Extradition Challenge

BSQ partner Roger J Sahota has been instructed in another challenge to an extradition request brought by the Government of India

This follows on from a successful BSQ defence application for an extradition request to be discharged in the recent case of Angurala.

Extradition requests from the GOI are now attracting keen media interest in India, particularly with the Westminster Magistrates Court due to pass judgement on the GOI request made in the case of Vijay Mallya on December 10 2018.

Further details can be found here.

Roger Sahota is an expert in international criminal law and defending extradition cases. If you require advice in relation to an extradition request please call our London office.

Saakashvili Press Conference Scheduled in Hague

BSQ partner Roger Sahota has been instructed in and will be attending a press conference organised on behalf of the former Georgian Prime Minister Mikheil Saakashvili in the Hague on Tuesday focussing on human rights violations following his expulsion from the Ukraine earlier this year.

The text of the press release follows:    

Professor Geoffrey Robertson, QC and Mikheil Saakashvili will hold a joint press conference
on Tuesday May 29, 2018 starting at 13:30at the Nieuwspoort Press Center in Amsterdam
(Lange Poten 10, 2511 CL Den Haag). 

Geoffrey Robertson QC, renowned international human rights lawyer and former UN Appeal Judge has provided a legal opinion regarding the deprivation of citizenship as well as the forced expulsion from the Ukraine of Georgia’s third president Mikheil Saakashvili. The Ukraine is culpable, in Mr Robertson’s view, for violating his civil and political rights
 
Press Conference to be held on May 29:th Professor Robertson will summarise his legal opinion. Mr Saakashvili, recognised as a top performer and anti-corruption campaigner in the first soviet region, will explain the background and motivations of the Ukrainian government in politically persecuting him as well as his supporters in Ukraine.

A question and answer period will follow.


The press conference is open to all accredited members of the press as well as interested NGO representatives and attorneys.


For additional information contact:
Ivan Lozowy, Esq.
Chargé for International Affairs
Movement of New Forces of Mikheil Saakashvili

BSQ partner Roger Sahota specialises in international and domestic criminal law with a political dimension. 
 

Court of Appeal clarifies Meaning of ‘Possession” in Indecent Images Prosecutions

BSQ Partner Roger Sahota considers the recent case of R v Okoro (No 3) [2018] EWCA Crim 1929

 In a significant recent decision the Court of Appeal has clarified the meaning in the criminal law of “possession” as it applies to digital images that are sent electronically and are unsolicited. The ruling takes into account recent developments in technology which mean that firstly, vast volumes of information can now be stored on individual’s phones and secondly, much of that information may be unknown and indeed inaccessible to the ordinary phone user.  

In Okoro (no 3) the Accused was charged with possession of an indecent image of a child contrary to s160(2) of the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”) 1988. This is one of two potential “possession” offences that apply in regards to digital images. S.63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (“CJIA”) further criminalises the possession of extreme pornographic images. The Accused also faced charges under this section. Charges of “possessing” indecent images are often pursued when the CPS are unable to prove the “Making” or Downloading offence contrary to S.1(1) of the Protection of Children Act 1978 (usually where indecent material is found on a device but it cannot be shown who downloaded it and/or how it arrived or they are unsolicited.)

 The main issue the Court considered was whether it was necessary for the Crown to show that a user knew what the contents of a file were to prove “possession.’ There is no statutory definition of the concept of “possession.” Several cases had considered the question but the Court of Appeal clearly felt the time had come to update the law in this area. The Defence claimed the Trial Judge had misdirected the jury on this point. It was their case that the Accused did not know what was in the files that were sent to him via Whatsapp as they were unsolicited and he had not viewed them.

 Taking into account modern technological advances the Court held that it would be unrealistic for the law to require that an Accused should know of the contents of each relevant file on his device to prove possession.  This could however be established;-

 “if the accused can be shown to have been aware of a relevant digital file or package of files which he has the capacity to access, even if he cannot be shown to have opened or scrutinised the material.”

 In other words, an Accused would have possession if he knew that he had received custody or control of a file or package or group of electronic files. He did not have to know what the contents were of each image. Knowledge for example that digital files had been sent by email as attachments or on Whatsapp would suffice i.e.-

 “for these statutory purposes we are clear that possession is established if the accused can be shown to have been aware of a relevant digital file or package of files which he has the capacity to access, even if he cannot be shown to have opened or scrutinised the material.”

 The correct approach in these cases was therefore for the Crown to show, firstly, that the legal definition of possession was made out.

 Thereafter, an Accused who claimed as in Okoro (no 3) that the files were sent unsolicited and had never been viewed could advance one of the statutory defences under s.160(2) of the CJA 1988, limbs (a)-(c)[1] which he had to prove was more likely than not to be true;-  

 (a)  that he had a legitimate reason for having the photograph or pseudo-photograph in his possession; or

 (b)  that he had not himself seen the photograph or pseudo-photograph and did not know, nor had any cause to suspect, it to be indecent; or

 (c)   that the photograph or pseudo-photograph was sent to him without any prior request made by him or on his behalf and that he did not keep it for an unreasonable time.

 Unfortunately for the Accused in Okoro (no 3), the jury decided that he had not made out either of the statutory defences he relied on at limbs (b) and (c). This was always likely to be an uphill struggle for the Accused – while there was no technical evidence to conclusively show he had viewed one indecent image of a child the jury were invited to infer that he had from other technical evidence which showed that he had chosen to save it his personal “vault” and then never deleted it (he claimed that he intended this but had forgotten to do so.)

 Ultimately the Court of Appeal therefore found no error in the Judge’s direction to the jury that the Appellant had admitted possession of the two images, but that he said (relying on the statutory defences under s.160 CJA 1988 and s.65 CJIA 2008) that he did not know the content of them. In setting out the way in which the law should be applied in “possession” of digital images cases this decision provides some welcome precision in a highly technical area of the criminal law.

 If you require any advice or assistance in an indecent images prosecution contact our London offices


[1] The same defences apply to the extreme pornography charge under s.63 of the CJIA 2008 (see s.65 CJIA statutory defences.)

NCA secures first Unexplained Wealth Orders

The NCA has recently announced that it has secured the first UWO's since the introduction of the new legislation. 

The orders relate to two properties, one in London and one in the South East of England and mean that the assets cannot be sold, transferred or dissipated while subject to the order (IFO).

Donald Toon, Director for Economic Crime at the NCA, said: “Unexplained wealth orders have the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the UK as a destination for illicit income. They enable the UK to more effectively target the problem of money laundering through prime real estate in London and elsewhere. We are determined to use all of the powers available to us to combat the flow of illicit monies into, or through, the UK.”

Read More here.

If you require advice in relation to a UWO application or are worried that you may become the subject of such an application contact our London offices. 

BSQ instructed in Business Manslaughter Prosecution

BSQ instructed in Business Manslaughter Prosecution

BSQ partner Goran Goran Stojsavljevic has been instructed to represent a businessman accused in a high profile case concerning an allegation that his company sold toxic slimming pills that contributed to the death of one of their customers.

BSQ Briefing – Sexting, Children and the Law

BSQ Briefing – Sexting, Children and the Law

In January 2016 the Home Office introduced a new type of disposal for cases where young people were accused of sexting i.e. distributing sexual imagery by social media or some other form of electronic communication. This article examines how the new disposal - known as outcome 21 has worked in practice - and what the law holds for young people who engage in sexting.

CPS Decline to Appeal BSQ Indian Extradition Success

The CPS acting on behalf of the Government of India (GOI) have declined to appeal the decision of the Chief Magistrate to reject the GOI's request to extradite two individuals in an important fraud case. Both clients were represented by BSQ partner Roger Sahota.

Details of the original decision can be found here. 

Indian extradition cases are rare and the decision is a notable victory for our private crime team. 

Roger Sahota is an acknowledged expert in international criminal law. Counsel instructed was Ben Keith of 5 St Andrews Hill and Ben Cooper of Doughty Street Chambers.

If you require representation in relation to a pending business extradition case contact our London offices.

BSQ Partner Daniel Godden instructed in high profile HIV GBH criminal trial

BSQ partner Daniel Godden is representing Darryl Rowe who is charged with deliberately infecting a number of gay men he had relationships with HIV in an ongoing trial before the Lewes Crown Court.  

The case is contested. Lead counsel in the case is Felicity Gerry QC of Carmelite Chambers.

Media reporting of the case has been extensive –

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/darryl-rowe-trial-victim-breaks-down-court-case-hairdresser-hiv-aids-text-taunt-a7990791.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4894662/Hairdresser-deliberately-infected-10-lovers-HIV.html

Daniel Godden has been instructed in a number of similar cases previously.

A further blog on the legal issues raised in this ground breaking case will be published when proceedings conclude.

If you require advice in connection with a criminal allegation please contact our London office.