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Cartwright King’s West Midlands crime practice is headed by senior solicitor Neil Davis, who specialises in defendant criminal work, traffic collisions and youth court work. He is assisted by associate Worcester office head Jason Patel, who joined the firm in July 2016 and has a particular expertise in drug conspiracies and fraud work; Shabana Sharif; and Marcia Blake, who regularly handles magistrate court matters. Davis and Sharif defended an individual accused of assaulting her two children, while David and Blake acted for a defendant charged with assaulting a special needs child travelling to school. In another key matter criminal defence specialist Sarah McCormack represented an individual charged with death by careless driving.

Noted for its ‘outstanding reputation in criminal work’, Jonas Roy Bloom fields a team of lawyers that are ‘at the top of their game and deliver a first-class service’. The practice is led by ‘fearless advocate’ Steven Jonas, whose ‘intellect is immense and sharp as they come’. He is supported by John Smitheman and Ben Henry, who ‘knows how to handle a crisis with minimum fuss and panic’. The team’s recent high-profile matters include a murder case in which the defendant was accused of setting his wife on fire, and a large-scale prosecution concerning the supply of firearms in which the sentence was increased upon appeal. Other key matters included defending a Greek national accused of rape in a case that was eventually dropped by CPS with acceptance of liability and wasted costs, and advising on a gang-related murder involving issues of expert evidence such as video recognition and gang affiliation.

Kangs Solicitors is ‘a standout firm’ whose lawyers are ‘hardworking, highly knowledgeable and great with clients’. Clients single out practice head Hamraj Kang as ‘charismatic; he is a superbly clever lawyer and key player’. Other key figures include solicitor Frances Murray, who is ‘an exceptional lawyer in every way’; she was instructed to defend an ex-serviceman charged with coercive and abuse behaviour following allegations by his estranged ex-wife. Other work included defending a school teacher accused of grievous bodily harm following a violent altercation in which she struck her husband in self-defence; acting on behalf of a French national in a rape claim; and advising a professional footballer in the Magistrates Court with regards to alleged road traffic offences. Solicitor Helen Holder is another name to note; she assisted Kang in a police investigation into alleged historic abuse of pupils at a youth institution.

According to some, the service provided by the team at Slater and Gordon is ‘second to none’. Crime and misconduct practice head Tim Coolican is ‘an intellectual heavyweight who knows the law backwards’ and has a particular expertise in defending police officers facing criminal or disciplinary allegations. Coolican represented the Police Federation in connection with the recently reopened inquests into the 1971 Birmingham pub bombings, and acted for a retired officer accused of stealing proceeds from crime seized from a suspect in a large-scale drugs and money laundering investigation. Solicitor and ‘excellent lawyer’ Sue Swan defended a West Midlands police officer accused of rape and another officer who allegedly perverted the course of justice by failing to deal with a rape claim appropriately and lying to the victim.

Alsters Kelley LLP has an extensive track record of handling high-profile cases in the Coventry and Warwickshire area, representing clients in the police station and the magistrate and crown courts. The crime department is led by Stefan Hunka and supported by Nuneaton-based solicitor Nazir Vania and associate Jas Thiara. The team’s recent matters included defending clients in a wide array of cases involving murder, manslaughter, fraud, motoring offences, public order violations, wounding with intent, robbery, drugs and assault. The practice also handles criminal work concerning regulatory, corporate and white-collar crime.

At Beswicks Legal, Andrew Turnock handles a substantial Crown Court caseload. He is assisted by legal executive Charlotte Riley and road traffic expert Peter Howland; Howland recently defended a young individual charged with rape, and represented a woman arrested on the grounds of perverting the course of justice and who was later charged with wasting police time. Other significant work includes advising on a large-scale drugs conspiracy with 16 defendants for which police enquiries took place in Thailand, Hong Kong and across Europe; and acting for an individual accused of sexual misconduct over a period of time. Criminal advocacy specialists Rebecca Dulson and Robert Glenn regularly represent clients in the magistrate and crown courts on a daily basis.

At Gateley Plc, regulatory practice head Ruth Armstrong handles criminal work on behalf of businesses and senior executives, primarily involving criminal investigations and major incidents. With the support of legal director Pauline Munro and defence solicitor Kate Oliver, Armstrong acted in a prosecution involving ten defendants following an investigation by the Environment Agency alleging illegal waste disposal and successfully limited the responsibility of the accused director. She also defended a housing client with regards to alleged breaches of local authority planning regulations. Other key matters for the team included acting for a high-street retailer in a high-profile trading standards prosecution involving allegations of mislabelled specialised yarn in cashmere products. Notable clients include Taylor Wimpey, Greenbox and Bilfinger.

Lanyon Bowdler’s clients feel they are given ‘sound, well-researched and helpful guidance and support’. The Telford-based Adrian Roberts leads the criminal team, which includes associate Stephen Scully in Shrewsbury, who is ‘helpful, well-informed, sensible and good in court’ and specialises in working with clients who have little to no experience of the criminal system, especially in youth matters.

Mann & Co Solicitors is ‘an outstanding firm with a focus on client care and thorough preparation’. Raz Mann and Paul Selby lead the firm’s criminal work from Smethwick and Tipton, respectively. Selby heads the serious and organised crime department and recently defended an individual accused of grooming a child via social media. Other notable work included representing the lead defendant in a manslaughter case, and acting for one of seven defendants in a conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering case involving a London-based organised crime group. Mann, who heads the firm’s fraud practice, also advised on drug and money laundering charges with organised crime elements. Advocate Milo Turner is another key contact.

Purcell Parker Solicitors has a legal aid practice specialising in criminal litigation spearheaded by managing partner Spencer Stephens. Tiernan Davis has strong experience representing prisoners in disciplinary hearings, while Ben Galletti oversees the police station group. Solicitor David Rees focuses on handling youth court cases and is also a key contact.

Tuckers Solicitors handles a range of criminal, regulatory and civil liberties proceedings, and ‘boasts a very strong, experienced team in all areas of criminal litigation’. The ‘consistently excellent’ James Turner heads the practice nationally and advises clients with regards to sex offences, manslaughter and assault, as well as fraud. Solicitor Arvind Sharma oversees the firm’s police station department.

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