Columnist: John Halewood-Dodd

John Halewood-Dodd.
John Halewood-Dodd.

I have said previously that the myth that criminal defence solicitors are fat cats who work very few hours is one that needs to be dispelled.

One way to do this is to write of situations which clearly illustrate that some cases are far from glamorous.

One such case began with a call from Kendal police station to say that they had arrested two males for robbery who were requesting our representation.

Robbery can be anything from a handbag snatch to an armed bank job so this was potentially a very serious matter. Without further ado I, and my then trainee solicitor, set off up the M6.

We were met by two detectives and discovered that the suspects were well known to me being older members of the Lancaster drinking fraternity. They had decided to move on from Lancaster and become knights of the road as they felt they were attracting too much police attention in our fair city. They didn’t manage to make it too far before the local police were interested in them.

The details of the “robbery” were outlined to me. The gist was that they had bedded down for the night in a shop doorway where a local homeless female, lovingly known as Mad Betty or something similar, was also trying to sleep. During the night one of my clients had allegedly pulled her duvet from her back and refused to give it back. Clearly fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol they began squabbling and threatening each other which led to the police being called. I could not believe that the police were taking this seriously but with the appropriate advice both clients were released without charge. This is not the end of the story.

By the time they were released it was the early hours of the morning and they were stuck in Kendal. Before I could stop her, my trainee had offered them a lift. To say they were none too fresh is a massive understatement and I had to travel all the way back with my head stuck out of the window gasping for fresh air.

One of them had soiled themselves and the aroma was so strong that she couldn’t get it out of the car. She had to sell it six weeks later at a knock down price.

All glamour isn’t it?