Kent Criminal Law
Why not Smith Jones & Price?
Traditionally, most firms of solicitors are named after the founding partners. In some cases the bodies that belong to the names on the sign outside the office are long retired or in some cases have long left this earth. In these days where potential clients are more likely to be using search words on a phone or computer to find a service, it makes life easier for the firms name to say exactly where we are and what we do.
Who are we?
The firm was founded in late 2016 by Matthew Griffiths. Although the firm is a baby, alas it's founder isn't.
Matthew came to law later than most, graduating from the University of Bristol with an upper second class (2.1) honours degree in law in 1996. He then attended the Inns of Courts School of Law in London and was called to the bar of the Middle Temple in 1998. Whilst searching for pupilage, he worked (unpaid) at a Law Centre to gain experience and to keep his newly gained skills functioning.
In 1999 Matthew obtained a position within the crime department of a busy firm of solicitors in the centre of Birmingham. Here he qualified as an 'Accredited Police Station Representative' and in this capacity represented the first of his clients to be arrested on suspicion of murder.
In 2000 Matthew undertook the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test with the College of Law and was admitted as a solicitor in February 2001. He worked in East Anglia and South Wales before settling in Gloucestershire. Whilst he wouldn't necessarily be complimentary about all of the firms he worked for, he very much enjoyed his years at Steven Young & Co, At this firm he honed his trial skills, becoming unofficially, the firms trial advocate. In 2011 he obtained Higher Rights of Audience. The distinguishing feature of this firm, apart from the collegiate atmosphere, was the lack of pressure to act in the firms financial interests when these conflicted with the best interests of the client. In other words the firm operates with a high degree of professional integrity.
In 2012 Matthew relocated to Ramsgate in Kent. Here his work was primarily in the crown court. Unfortunately, the firm had a very different perspective than that which he had grown accustomed and in April 2014 he had enough and decided that there had to be a less stressful way of making a living. Not one to burn bridges hastily he maintained his practising certificate and kept his hand in as a part-time duty solicitor at another local firm.
In February 2016, after some half joking conversations with some old work colleagues at Steven Young, he went back for three days a week of summary trials. Whilst it was great to be back in court and with old colleagues and friends, the practicalities of a 440 mile, 8 hour per week commute, made the proposition unsustainable on a long term basis and in the summer of 2016 Matthew started to consider starting his own firm.
Matthew has conducted in excess of 1400 criminal trials and many, many other hearings.
Some of these are listed here.
R v Prochazka (2013). Securing the acquittal of a Czech lorry driver charged with the importation of approximately £1.5 million of class A & B drugs. Successfully arguing for the exclusion of evidence of unrelated but prejudicial alleged events.
R v Waclawski (2013) Representing a Polish man alleged to have imported some £30,000 worth of cannabis through Dover. The jury were hung and the Crown determined to re-try the case. The second jury acquitted.
Also appearing before Lord Leveson in the Court of Appeal (Crim Division) in R v Lewys Stephen Martin. This is currently the leading case on sentencing for computer misuse and DDOS attacks. The appellant had targeted Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as Kent police.
R v Ponting 2016. Although not of any precedent value. In this case the bench were persuaded to exclude the content of an ‘at home’ PACE interview, under the provisions of s.76 PACE, as being obtained ‘by oppression’. He had been interviewed in the early hours of the morning with the invitation “we can do this here and now, or we will arrest you etc”. The interview was the only evidence in the case and the Crown were forced to offer no evidence.
R v Harrison, in which the District Judge, whilst rejecting an argument that the evidence in a ‘fail to provide a specimen of breath’ case should be excluded under the provisions of s.78 PACE, went on to find that the nakedness of the defendant was a reasonable excuse for his failure to provide.
What to expect from us
We will treat you as if you are only client. You will receive frank and robust advice as to where you stand and we will discuss all of your options in detail. Our advice will be governed only by our professional opinion of your best interests. We will not let our own financial interests blemish the advice that we give.
Throughout his career Matthew Griffiths has maintained an acquittal rate at trial of around 75% to 80%. This