I cant afford a solicitor at court and i have to represent myself please help!

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uglysmithy80 | 21:26 Sun 22nd Aug 2010 | Criminal
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I have been arrested and charged with ABH but attended court to plead guilty or not guilty which i have pleaded not guilty. The procecution have now decided that they have to have a week to decide if the injuries are of ABH or common assault, which the duty solicitor advise me that it will probably be common assault. I will lose my job if i am found guilty as i work for the police and i do not qualify for legal aid as i earn to much, well more than 10k. I have no choice but to represent myself in a magistrate court, the main thing is that i am not sure what questions i am allowed to ask the victim and his friends who are witnesses. I have proof that he is lying and medical evidence from the A & E doctor states that he has 2 previous fractures to his nose and that he friends state that they saw exactly what happend and had a clear view of the incident but one witness said i hit hit with my left and the other witness said i used my right hand. i did not punch anyone. Am i allowed to question them all this in court and will the magistrate guide me along ? please can somebody help me ?>. kind regards andrew


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What might your position be in the Police?
you're a police officer who knows nothing about court procedures?
You can't afford not to have a solicitor.
Question Author
If i was a police officer sara would u think i honestly be asking these questions ! common sense!?????

I am police staff.
Surely then you have all the help at your fingertips in the Police colleagues and the Probation officers around the place. Why not ask them? They will soon know anyway!
Question Author
If only it was that simple. I have been suspended and not allowed to enter any met building until this is sorted. I am innocent but feel like a criminal and stuck as i have a family to look after and can not afford the prices of a solicitor so i have no choice but to defend myself in court.
[Two Part Answer]

And in any case, ugly, the police are not the best people to ask for legal advice, especially of the type you require. I come into contact with a number of police officers in connection with some of the work that I do. Most of them are unfamiliar with court proceedings beyond the bare basics (and indeed they have no need to have such knowledge). Even if you have access to probation officers, they too would not be best qualified in this field. The magistrates form an impartial tribunal and cannot assist either side.

First of all Legal Aid. If, after deducting your living expenses, you are left with £12,475 per annum, you will receive Legal Aid. If you have between £12,475 and £22,275 you will get some help. Above this amount you will receive no aid. If you think you are below or around these limits it is worth making a claim. The Legal Aid assessment takes in a number of things when calculating your living expenses.
[Part Two]

If you do have to defend yourself the best assistance you will get comes from the court’s Legal Advisor (LA). She (and I’ll say she as 95% of them are female) is the person you might know as the “Clerk of the Court” who sits in front of the magistrates. She has a duty to assist unrepresented defendants by acquainting them with the court’s procedures and assisting them (but only up to a point) with their defence.

If your matter goes to trial you should arrive early and tell the court receptionist or usher that you need to see her before the trial begins. (In fact she will probably seek you out when she learns that you are unrepresented). You should tell her what the basis of your defence is and how you seek to prove your innocence. By then you should have been served with the evidence against you (usually in the form of statements made by the alleged victim and any other witnesses) so you will be able to see what they have said to the police.

Although she has to remain impartial she should assist you before the trial by suggesting how you might frame your questions, and also steer you down the right road during the trial.
do try not to show that arrogant attitude in court.
Question Author
sara3 dont waste peoples time.................. with your patronising comments cos you have no common sense!
Get a loan to cover solicitors costs & sue for compensation if you're sure you'll win.

sara has Court experience - best to keep on her friendly side, ugly.
Get a loan to cover solicitors costs & sue for compensation if you're sure you'll win

^^^^Brilliant idea Tambo...just brilliant.
were you not offered a solicitor when you were charged??

wont go far wrong with tamborines answer above!
Are you serious Pokerman? Get a loan, that ugly might not be able to afford, and then sue the police for doing their job..!!!
yes, get a loan if he is innocent and sue the 'victim' for loss of earnings
What if ugly can't get a loan? Plus...if they are suspended wouldn't they be on full pay?
not in all cases. the fact is he needs to get a solicitor
Did you actually apply for Legal Aid or did you do a rough calculation yourself?

I hope you manage to get something sorted out.
Yes he does but a loan might not be possible. As he's said he has a family to look after. If he has mortgage, credit card/s, children and wife to support...he may not qualify, he also might not be able to afford to repay it.
Unfortunately you will go considerably far wrong with tambourine’s suggestion, ugly.

The magistrates’ court will not award compensation to cover your legal fees if you are acquitted. They will only reimburse travelling costs and other sundry items (for example, if the court is some distance from where you live and you had to stay overnight).

If you try to recover your legal costs by means of a civil action you will almost certainly fail. County Courts (which is where the matter will be dealt with) do not award compensation in such circumstances unless there has been an abuse of the court process or you were otherwise maliciously or wrongly prosecuted. The Crown Prosecution Service will have seen to it that the prosecution was properly brought before authorising charges. If such compensation were available every person who was acquitted would seek to recover their legal costs by this means, and clearly they do not. There is, of course, the added complication that in the County Court you will either have to pay for representation or represent yourself!

I don’t know what connection sara has with the courts but whatever it is she should know that many police officers – particularly the younger ones who joined before the CPS took over the role of prosecutors - have very little knowledge of court procedures. They cannot be expected to know about the trial process, rules of evidence or cross examination procedures, all of which you need to know in order to defend yourself. So even if you were able to have access to some of your serving officer colleagues, it would not be much use to you.

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