The ethos at Sperrin Law is one of total defence. In other words if our client, whether it is a person or a corporate, instructs us to defend then we do more than just look at the facts of the case and ask the client for instructions. We are dynamic. We do not expect our clients to settle for anything less than a full and comprehensive battle-plan if that is what is called for. We are passionate about delivering a service that engages our skill and experience in an imaginative and bespoke fashion so that we can bring the battle to the other side.
For many of our clients that combative approach means starting at the very beginning. Why was our client’s home/business searched? Was the search lawful? There will of course be times when the search was unpleasant but perfectly lawful, but nonetheless the questions asked and pressure brought to bear produces results for the client in other ways. For example, pinning the investigators down to making commitments to the return of seized digital material, getting early disclosure of the prosecution’s suspicions, reminding the police of their duties under the various Codes of Practice and Protocols so that they are forced to co-operate with the defence over the analysis of seized laptops and phones. This is way we defend.
The majority of search warrants are issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) or the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The applications are usually made to a Magistrates Court and of course the suspect is not informed about the hearing. Applicants must state the object of the search and provide sufficient information to satisfy the court that it is necessary. There must be reasonable grounds for believing that an offence has been committed and that there is material on the premises likely to be of substantial value to the investigation. There are other procedural rules that must be followed regarding both the application and the conduct of the search. These rules are important, if you get it wrong the warrant may be quashed and/or the property returned because the proper procedure was not adhered to. If that happens that may be the end of any chance of the prosecution using the product of the searches in any subsequent prosecution.