James Gwatkin news

James Gwatkin successfully appeals against sentence for drone offences

MM was initially charged with 45 offences under the Air Navigation Order 2016 concerning the unlawful flying of drones in restricted areas and other documentation offences regarding registration and the use of drones for a commercial purpose without authority. MM was accused of flying a drone at various sensitive locations in Westminster and Lambeth over a sustained period.

With the assistance of instructing solicitors, James and Daisy Kell-Jones managed to persuade the Crown to discontinue all but 7 of the charges across several hearings. The Crown accepted guilty pleas to 4 charges. At Westminster Magistrates’ Court MM was fined £4200 for the 4 offences in total.

On 9th September 2021, James appealed this sentence at Southwark Crown Court. Submissions were made concerning the seriousness of the offences, the failure of the lower court to consider the principle of totality as well as highlighting the substantial personal mitigation that applied in the case. The Court allowed the appeal, reducing the total fine to £550. The statutory surcharge was also reduced from £470 to £55.

The legal framework concerning the regulation of drones is complex and constantly changing, making it essential for those accused of such offences to seek legal advice. This case required careful analysis of expert evidence relied on by the Crown and much research into the statutory regime governing the use of drones.

James and Daisy were instructed by Miren Patel and Rishi Verma of ABV Solicitors.