Despite it taking a year to investigate and two more years of hearings to try and get trial ready, the case of ‘O’ — in which Ian Brownhill of No5 Chambers defended — finally collapsed last week.
O was charged with assaulting a number of prison officers as they restrained him in a local prison. Despite the fact that there was a lengthy period between the alleged offence and charge, there was no forensic evidence or photographs and not a single witness statement from another prisoner.
No5’s Brownhill was instructed to defend soon after charge. As soon as the charge reached the Crown Court, Brownhill set about with comprehensive disclosure requests from the Prison Service. It soon became obvious that the account given to a prison governor as to what had happened was completely at odds with the account given to the police.
With Brownhill defending, it was not long before more targeted disclosure led to more surprising discoveries. In this case, the officer who had been in charge of the entire incident with O was himself on trial for falsifying documents relating to another inmate’s assault.
On the Friday night before the trial began, the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against O. Brownhill was instructed by ABV Solicitors.