Chris Harper represented the defendant who was indicted as part of a conspiracy to steal over £100,000 worth of vehicles and heavy plant equipment in 19 incidents. Chris worked to demonstrate, as per his instructions, that his client could be linked to a very small part of the criminality alleged and not to the overall conspiracy.
Throughout the trial Chris pressed for disclosure of phone material which the Crown initially said did not exist. Once in possession of phone data, Chris worked through the night to demonstrate the defendant’s alibi defence was consistent with it, and to prepare an abuse of process argument relating to the circumstances of its discovery.
Chris’s abuse of process argument, and written submission of no case to answer, found some favour with the trial judge who invited the Crown to review the case or to risk adverse findings at the close of the Crown’s case. The Crown offered no evidence on the conspiracy, accepting a plea to a single incident of briefly handling a stolen car. That plea had been canvassed as early as PTPH. The defendant was sentenced to a community order while his co-defendants received sentences of three years, and three years and nine months in custody.