Case dropped against man who was found in possession of a ‘weapon’
A man who had been charged with possessing a metal baseball bat in a public place has had the charge dropped, following work by Bhatia Best.
The 24-year-old Nottingham man was pulled over by the police in July after they believed they could smell cannabis. Upon a search of the car, officers found a large metal baseball bat behind the passenger seat.
The client told the police that he was an amateur baseball player and that the bat was there “for sport”. Not believing him (and in the absence of a ball or glove) the officer told the client that the police had “heard all the excuses in the world” and that if he admitted having it unlawfully then the police would “help him out”. Because of this potentially unlawful questioning, the client then told the police that the bat was not for sport and that he was breaking the law.
Bhatia Best lodged a legal application under sections 76 and 78 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to have the police evidence excluded. We argued that the confession had been obtained unfairly and had only been made because of the demeanor and behaviour of the arresting officer. The Crown Prosecution Service today reviewed the case and discontinued the charge.
The case was conducted by Ben Brown (solicitor at our Nottingham office).
After receiving confirmation that the case had been discontinued, Ben said “this case is a perfect example of why you never speak to the police without a lawyer and why instructing a team of specialist criminal defence lawyers is so important. The law is very clear – any police questioning is governed by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. In this case, the officer questioned the client at the roadside, without cautioning him, without offering him a solicitor and whilst one officer was waving a bat at him! The client had never been in trouble with the police before and was terrified. It is difficult to work out exactly what “help” the officer was offering the client.
The client is a university student currently studying Business & Finance. A conviction for an offence involving a weapon would have ruined his career. It is not for the police to decide if they believe someone or not, that is the job of the Courts.
From now on, the client will ensure he keeps a ball and glove in the car to prevent any confusion with the police in the future. Thankfully, he will also get his bat back.”
The maximum sentence for possessing an offensive weapon in a public place is 4 years imprisonment.
If you are being investigated or prosecuted for a criminal offence, you should instruct Bhatia Best as soon as possible. Contact us 24/7 on 0333 016 3333 or by completing a contact form on this page. Legal representation is free of charge for everyone being interviewed by the police.