We acted in the case of four individuals who were charged with conspiracy to launder £34 million of allegedly illicit funds. Their trial collapsed due to “catastrophic” blunders by the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS).
Laundering solicitors – England and Wales
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Three men and one woman were charged with conspiracy to launder money. The prosecution alleged that the defendants had set up sham companies and accounts, which were then used to transfer money to Pakistan and other countries via money service bureaus. They were released under investigation for six years, during which one of the defendants spent 815 days in custody and a further 419 days under curfew.
All four defendants denied the charges and Ashmans was instructed for the defence. A 12-week trial was scheduled at Snaresbrook Crown Court, but after just five weeks the CPS submitted a request to adjourn the case. The prosecution did not have time to comply with their duty to disclose evidence to the defence. This is because the CPS had waited until the start of the trial to request material from other investigating agencies.
Judge Charles Falk refused the application, causing the trial to collapse. The judge described the CPS’ failings as “systemic and catastrophic” and criticised the prosecution for bringing an “insufficiently prepared case”. He said there had been “no proper systems in place to ensure communication between multi-prosecution agencies”, which had in turn wasted court time and public money.
A CPS spokesperson said: “There was a failure to follow reasonable lines of enquiry to ensure a fair trial. We applied to adjourn the case and remedy this but the judge ruled the scale of that task was too great. We respect that decision”. Our clients were relieved that the trial had come to an early conclusion. The case even made national news after it was reported by The Times newspaper in October 2021.
The CPS has made a number of high-profile disclosure blunders in recent years. As this case shows, the courts do not tolerate such failings and treat each side with parity. The CPS is not given greater leniency, on account of being the country’s prosecuting service.
Money Laundering solicitors – England and Wales
If you have been accused of fraud or another financial crime, contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors. We are highly experienced lawyers with a proven track record in fraud and financial crime cases. We know how to succeed in your case.
Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also offer free police station representation.