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  • Writer's pictureBen Westwood

How defending myself in court with no legal aid led to a crown court corruption prosecution trial

I'm really not sure what sort of story you're expecting to read here. Perhaps you think that I'm about to warn you not to go to court without a solicitor, and in some senses that's true. But in this video below are a few tips for people that might find themselves without the ability to get legal aid, and may have no other choice to but represent themselves in court against unjust and fabricated charges. If you enjoy this video please do consider giving us a like and subscribing to my Youtube Channel for more videos and content. I'd love to get over 100 followers, heck who knows, I might even be able to get a 1000. Why not, anything's possible right?

IMPORTANT NOTE*** Always try to seek a solicitor/lawyer whenever possible. This video is for those that may find themselves having to defend a court case against the police in unjust circumstances and might not have access to a solicitor or a lawyer at that time. I do no recommend using this advice as an initial first option as there are plenty of legitimate legal resources and charities out there that could help provide you with much more efficient and safe legal advice.

In this video I talk about how over a decade and a half ago I defended my court case against the police in London when two officers used a sledgehammer to smash down the door of a squat that I was living in and had arrested me for possession of cannabis having claimed that I was outside and I'd ran off before they claimed to have stopped and searched me outside of the premises which was false.

During that particular time in my life I'd been very much trapped outside of the system and wasn’t receiving any jobseekers allowance, universal credit or any state benefits and so I was living outside of the normal ways of the system with no ID or bank account.

When I was arrested by the police in London, I did of course have access to a duty solicitor at the time, but when it came to defending myself in magistrates court a month or so later the best help I could get from any solicitors at the time was the free 15 minutes advice that some of them gave. Fortunately, after being refused bail by the police in which I would go on to attend magistrates court on the following Monday, after pleading not guilty and getting my possessions bag back I was released. I'd actually recorded the arrest using a hand-held voice recorder, in which I’d presumed that the police officers that had arrested me would have deleted it upon realising I'd been recording. But I was to come to learn that they hadn’t deleted it, in which I knew automatically upon checking to see if the file was still there that this would be a big factor in proving that the officers statements were completely fudged-up. In this video I explain the importance of what I’d go on to do to defend myself in the initial magistrates court case where I was defending against a possession of cannabis charge. Defending myself and building a case wasn't anything anybody had ever taught me, but by chance and an urge for real justice and the ridding of the misuse of power and authority. When I first got access to a computer the first thing I did was write down my version of events down as detailed as I could and as best as I could remeber them. This is important because the longer you leave it the less those little details you will be able to remember. Some of those details could be the difference in proving to the magistrates that something iffy is going on and somebody is falsely arrested, and falsely imprisoned. Another importance in doing this straight away is that whilst typing it all up, you are seeing and reflecting on certain things from a different perspective and angle, and in a different space and environment. Sometimes you just need to step back a little bit to reflect on things that you may have been too busy, confused, traumatised or stressed to notice at the time.

This will enable you to start highlighting some of the key factors of your case…but wait, there is more to explain here. Another thing which I’m really glad I did was type up the officers scruffy written statements too. At first I was just doing it so that it was easier for me to read, but it became a really useful tool in defending my case because as you write it up more clearly or type it up you start noticing all of the inconsistencies. Once you spot those inconsistencies, it's important to write them down straight away as part of your defence case. Let’s face it, lawyers are busy people and what harm could it do to provide them speedily with some of the points that you’ve noticed, which may enable a good solicitor or lawyer to focus on other things to do with the case, which as ‘civilians’ in regards to deep knowledge of the legal system we wouldn’t have the teachings, legal knowhow or connections to do. As you type up the statements of the police officers, you’ll be able to read them back and analyse them much more easier than constantly having to stress your forehead trying to translate the barely-readable and scruffy handwriting. Doing this will also enable you to compare the two statements and notice any contradictions between the two statements, again, write them down.

As you are doing this, you’re already absorbing and building the case in your mind already which will in return make the other processes much easier.

I think if I hadn’t of done this at the time, when it came to me going to court my mind perhaps wouldn’t of worked as quick having not reflected on the case from certain angles.

One thing that I didn’t do at this stage that I wish I had of, was write the cross-examination questions for when the police officers had given their statements in court. I hadn’t been to court for many years and had largely forgotten the process. When it came to defending my case I had the chance to ask some questions which I was fortunate enough to have raised some points to get the magistrates thinking, but I wish now I had of know better that process and rehearsed which questions I was going to ask to point out the inconsistencies and corruption.

I also mention the importance of not automatically mistrusting the court. You’ve worked hard by this point in building your defence case and the best thing you can do is go in their with some faith that there’s a chance of the magistrates being investigative and empathetic beings.

Going in there with a mistrusting and over-defensive mindset could easily destroy the sense of connection you’ll need as part of this defence case. When you know what you’re saying is the truth and you’re able to communicate that on a balanced and connective level it helps greatly in getting minds thinking and spotting angles and inconsistencies that you might not have even spotted yourself.

The magistrates are there to listen to you as much as they are the police and the Crown Prosecution. When given the chance to cross examine the police officers after they’ve given their version of events in court, even if you’ve not had the chance to rehearse it I suggested asking whatever questions come to mind that might help prove something fishy is going on. If you’ve spotted inconsistencies during the statements, use it to ask a question and help put the lies on show so the magistrates can get thinking and can dig deeper.

Having typed up and studied the case, your ability to answer questions and point out inconsistencies will be much quicker and efficient that it would be otherwise. In some senses you’ve already been through the case in your head and often those types of people that stitch people up usually do so because they expect to get away with it. Their really not expecting you go to these sort of lengths to reveal the truth and to shoed a light on the misuse of authority

Perhaps those doing it presume you won’t be listened to, or that nobody cares and also in a world full of so much ego it’s all too easy to underestimate a person. Maybe they’ve underestimated you?

What the police officers had thought would be a simple case of the courts believing them over me had turned into a completely different set of events in which the magistrates made official complaints to the police. In the following few days the police officers were arrested and charged with perverting the course of justice.

This led to a crown court trial at Southwark Crown Court which due to various delays spanned over two or three years. My recordings of the police consisted of a several-minute long voice recording as well as the recording from dialling 999 to say that the officers were breaking into the house that I was squatting in.

The judge at crown court ordered the jury to give a not-guilty verdict due to the recording only being in audio, despite the lengths that detectives had gone to to forensically analyse it to prove it’s legitimacy. However, the case was still so strong that the detectives helping to prosecute the police officers had decided to take it to an internal police misconduct hearing, which took place at Tintagel house in Vauxhall which is no longer used by the met police.

After giving evidence at the internal misconduct hearing, the police officers were later sacked that day.

In many ways, for while it had put my faith back into the police and possibly gave me an insight into the sort of battles that are happening on other levels within the police force. Perhaps I’d been extremely fortunate to meet some rare souls that actually wanted to make some real and meaningful and change. Unfortunately, having moved around the country and after a little more life experience much of that faith in the police that I’d felt after the case has now been completely obliterated. That’s not to say that we don’t need or respect people out there that are putting themselves on the line and helping to safeguard society. Unfortunately, though, I think too many people are feeling a complete disconnection with their local police forces, and perhaps also a confusion as to what the policing priorities really are.

I hope this video helps somebody who may at some point be forced to represent themselves in court in a similar situation. If you know anyone who may be, then feel free to share this video with them. Again I must stress, this is not professional legal advice, just an avenue to help be able to represent yourself in court a little better if like me it was your first time doing so. Like most people in that situation, I hadn’t ever thought before that I’d be in it and hopefully if this even just helps one or two people who may have seen this video then it will certainly all be worth it.

I do stress, the reason I hadn’t got a solicitor during my defence case was because I hadn’t been in receipt of state benefits. Getting professional legal advice is almost always the best route unless you have vast experience in being in such a situation and succeeding.


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