Luton Crown Court: Helen Chenery Successfully Defends Alleged Gang Member
Helen Warren, solicitor advocate at our Milton Keynes Office, was recently led by Craig Harris of Furnival Chambers in the defence of an individual charged as part of Operation Kruse. Their combined skill, tactical astuteness and determination lead to their client being acquitted following a lengthy trial at Luton Crown Court.
The case – Operation Kruse – involved a night of violence in July 2016 in the Bedford area, whereby two separate gangs were said to have engaged in ‘tit for tat’ shootings, resulting in a bystander being injured in the crossfire.
A number of individuals were arrested, and subsequently charged with various offences, including conspiracy to cause GBH with intent, possession of firearms and perverting the course of justice.
Our case was that the Crown could not prove our client’s involvement in the incident; there was no identification evidence and no forensic evidence to put our client at the various scenes. The prosecution relied on phone records and cell site evidence to show that our client was in regular contact with the alleged co-conspirators during the evening, and the cell site analysis could mean that we were at the scene of some of the incidents. Helen conducted an exhaustive review of the phone records to show that the level of contact with our alleged co-conspirators was not out of the ordinary. Reeds were the only team to have instructed our own cell site expert, and indeed through his report were able to show that for most incidents the cell site was as consistent with our being at home as it was us being present at one of the incidents.
The trial of six of the Defendants lasted 5 weeks at Luton Crown Court in August and September 2017, and of those 6; 3 were convicted, and 3 including our client, were acquitted.
Sentencing took place at St Albans Crown Court on 28th and 29th November 2017 where the 3 Defendants convicted in our client’s trial and the 3 convicted in the opposing gang’s trial received sentences of between 15-22 years.