Our client, a vulnerable young man of previous good character, was charged with two offences of possession with intent to supply class A drugs. When arrested by the police, our client made full and frank admissions that he had been selling drugs for a number of years. He gave the same account in his police station interview, at which he was not represented by GT Stewart Solicitors.
Despite his confession to the police, we advised our client to plead not guilty to both offences. We insisted that our client was referred to the National Referral Mechanism by the police despite the Judge questioning the necessity of a referral being made. Following an investigation by the Competent Authority, it was confirmed that there were reasonable grounds to believe that our client was a victim of modern day slavery.
We instructed a number of experts in this case including psychologist, Dr Alison Conning, psychiatrist Dr Dan Cleall and independent forensic social worker and criminologist, Dr Craig Barlow. All three of these experts made clear just how vulnerable our client was.
We made written representations to the Crown Prosecution Service that in accordance with their own guidance, they should not prosecute our client for these offences; arguing that he was a victim and did not become involved in the sale of drugs of his own accord. After considering our representations, the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against our client and he retained his good character. Had he been convicted of these offences, a custodial sentence would have been inevitable.
Our client was represented by Sabrina Neves of our South London Team, supported by Niall Shiels, and our in-house barrister, Sarah Memmi.