To appeal a simple police caution is not a simple matter. Before a police caution can be administered a person must have admitted an offence – without raising any defence. The police will use a standard form that sets out the usual advice as to the impact a caution will have and the person is invited to read and sign the form.
For the person who is invited to accept a caution the process is confusing. Often they are told repeatedly that the caution does not give rise to a criminal record but this is a misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the scheme. To all intents and purposes the accepting of a caution gives rise to a criminal record. Even if the person has a solicitor to represent and advise them at the police station they may find that the misdescription of the effect of a caution is repeated by them. It is a common misconception. It is useful to Government and the Police to support this misdescription as people are persuaded to accept their guilt in a quick and cheap fashion, whether or not they are in fact guilty.
Some time after the caution has been accepted many people realise for the first time that they were mislead into accepting the caution. The damage it has done to them is much greater than they could ever have anticipated. Now the question to be addressed is what can be done about this?
As the process is dealt with administratively there is no formal right of appeal against the caution. What you can do is complain about the way the caution was dealt with and ask the police or the IPCC to investigate this and hope they agree to set it aside. Before setting out on this action it is better to take expert advice to make sure you put your case as strongly as possible. The task is not simple. The chances of success may not be great but they can be increased with correct advice.
You will not get legal aid to help with the cost of assistance but if we find that the solicitors who represented you in the cells did not advise correctly then it may be possible to convince them that they need to cover the cost of correcting the position. There are many ways in which the wrong advice could be given and all the facts will need to be considered in order to give you the correct assistance.
If the matter cannot be resolved with a complaint to the police then you will have the option of taking proceedings in the High Court for a judicial review of the decision. This is not cheap. You may need to be able to set aside at least £30,000 for such proceedings to cover your legal costs and the other side’s costs in case you lose the case. This is a further reason for you to take legal advice prior to making a complaint to try to reach the right decision early on. If your solicitors were negligent they or their solicitors may need to cover this cost.
Contact Dennis Clarke to discuss your needs and agree a fee structure to deal with this.