Kate Harney

Where/when you studied:           

BA Law with French (2002-2006) - University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne including one year at the Fac de Droit, Montpellier, France

Bar Vocational Course (2006-2007) - Manchester Metropolitan University

Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (2011) – BPP School of Law, Manchester

Professional expertise before joining the firm:

Criminal defence and prison law

When you joined the firm:

January 2014

Department responsibilities (within the firm):

Representing clients at the police station and court in criminal proceedings

Also involved in prosecution work for the Health and Safety Executive and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service

Areas of special legal expertise:

Police station advice and representation at court

Committees or organisations (to support the claim of specialist legal expertise):

Accredited police station representative, qualified duty solicitor with Higher Rights of Audience

Notable cases:

R v C – August 2013 – Soldier charged with criminal damage and assaulting a police officer, where conviction of the latter would have inevitably led to a custodial sentence together with the loss of his career and pension.  Following a lengthy trial, the defendant was found not guilty of the police assault and the Magistrates asked that the Prosecution file be clearly marked as to their concerns over the evidence of the police officer in question.  An absolute discharge was imposed for the criminal damage matter, in respect of which a guilty plea had been entered from the outset.

R v J – Complex benefit fraud case in which it was asserted that client had knowingly assisted 3 others claiming benefits to which they were not entitled, and had deliberately provided the Department for Work and Pensions with false information to assist those other parties.  On the day of trial, following lengthy negotiations, the Prosecution offered no evidence in respect of 3 of the 4 charges.  The Magistrates imposed a conditional discharge for the remaining charge and granted a Defence Costs Order in respect of the dismissed charges.

R v M – February 2014 – Client entered guilty pleas to offences of Possession with Intent to Supply Class B drugs (cannabis) on separate dates, one offence being committed whilst on bail for the first.  Representations were made on the client’s behalf and the case was confined to the Magistrates’ Court for sentence where a suspended sentence was imposed.

R v C – May 2014 – Case before the Youth Court where client was to be sentenced for a number of matters, namely criminal damage, 6 assaults and an offence of arson.  Many of these offences had been committed on bail and the client had previous convictions for similar.  After lengthy mitigation, the Court imposed a 2 year Youth Rehabilitation Order.

R v F – July 2014 – Case where defendant was prosecuted for a Common Assault allegation against his mother.  The police had interviewed the defendant but had called psychiatrists immediately afterwards due to the comments he made in interview, leading to the defendant being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.  It was argued that the defendant did not have the capacity to be guilty of the offence and successful legal arguments were made to exclude the police interview.  The case was eventually discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service a week before trial as they conceded they did not have a reasonable prospect of success.

R v A – September 2014 – Client was charged with Kidnap, False Imprisonment and Blackmail.  The case required a detailed consideration of complex evidence, including  mobile phone cellsite evidence, together with a number of legal arguments in relation to admissibility.  The Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the case shortly before the trial as they conceded they did not have a reasonable prospect of conviction.

R v L – October 2014 - Client was a fifth strike burglar, the relevance being that a minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years applies on the third strike.  Following detailed mitigation in role as solicitor advocate and consideration of the particular circumstances of the case, the Court imposed 32 months custody.

R v S – November 2014 – Client was alleged to have assaulted his partner and subsequently sought to persuade her to change her statement.  Extensive enquiries were undertaken to obtain defence evidence which led to the Crown Prosecution Service discontinuing a charge of Perverting the Course of Justice.

R v L – April 2015 – Client charged with Conspiracy to Burgle after it was alleged that he, together with others, was responsible for 22 burglaries in which over £100,000 worth of property was stolen.  As solicitor advocate an application to dismiss was drafted, to which the Crown Prosecution Service did not respond and offered no evidence against my client.  All other parties received 6 years imprisonment for their part in the offences.

R v A – June 2015 – Client alleged to have stolen almost £10,000 from her mother-in-law, who was particularly vulnerable.  The sentence of imprisonment was suspended following mitigation put forward on her behalf by me as solicitor advocate.

R v W – July 2015 – Case before the Magistrates’ Court where client was alleged to have obstructed a police officer who had entered his address to search the premises.  Successful legal arguments were made to dismiss the case at the end of the prosecution case on the grounds that the police had not been acting in execution of their duties as they had unlawfully detained the client upon arrival.

R v S – September 2015 – Youth client charged with 2 counts of robbery and appearing in the Crown Court with adult co-accused.  These were serious offences whereby the three defendants were alleged to have lured taxi drivers to remote locations before stealing from them using violence. I represented our 15 year old client in court where following mitigation the Judge imposed a 12 month Youth Rehabilitation Order.  The two adult co-accused received custodial sentences for their part in the offences.

R v J – November 2015 – Our client was before the court for the 17th breach of a restraining order, having received custodial sentences many times for previous breaches, and having committed the offences whilst subject to a post-release licence period.  After considerable discussion, the probation service were persuaded not to recall the client to custody, as had been their intention.  Representations were made in court to secure the client the help he needed by means of a suspended sentence order with an alcohol programme.

R v R – February 2016 – Client was charged with revenue fraud, namely being concerned in the evasion of over £6000 VAT on cigarettes.  Following mitigation put forward on her behalf the sentence of the court was a £350 fine.

R v B – March 2016 – Client was charged with an assault, following an incident at a family party where he had slapped his sister in law.  Following cross-examination, the Magistrates were not satisfied that the Crown had proved an unlawful assault and acquitted the defendant.

Bolton MBC v C – June 2016 – Client was charged with an offence contrary to the Education Act after her child failed to attend regularly at school throughout a set period.  This was charged as a non-aggravated offence, often mistakenly understood to be a strict liability offence.  Medical reason was argued, and following representations the Council offered no evidence.

R v A – August 2016 – Client charged with Possession with Intent to Supply Cannabis.  As trial advocate, I conducted two days of legal arguments in respect of the evidence before the Judge made a terminating ruling.  A not guilty verdict was formally returned.

R v W – October 2016 – Client was charged with Obstructing two Police Officers.  The case was denied on the basis that the officers were not acting in the execution of their duties, and that the client had been as compliant as possible in the circumstances, and the case was listed for trial.  Numerous defence enquiries led to further disclosure and following legal arguments the Crown offered no evidence against the client.

R v C – October 2016 – The client had been summonsed to attend court for offences contrary to section 111 of the Social Security Act, namely it was suggested that she had dishonestly failed to tell Bolton Council about changes to her income.  A guilty plea to section 112, a lesser charge, had been offered from the outset and rejected by the prosecution.  Following defence enquiries uncovering considerable evidence to support our position, the prosecution accepted a guilty plea to the lesser charge on the day of trial.

R v B – October 2016 – The client was charged with burglary after a bottle with his DNA on was found in burgled premises.  Following tenacious defence enquiries, other relevant exhibits were tested and found to have the DNA of others.  The prosecution evidence was undermined to the point that during trial the Crown offered no evidence at the close of their case, meaning that the case was dismissed.

R v J – October 2016 – The client was charged with an offence contrary to section 40C(1)(a) and (5) of the Prison Act 1952, having brought a mobile phone into custody.  The Crown cited a sentencing authority that suggested a sentence of 6 months consecutive custody was an appropriate sentence. Following representations which likened the offence to that which could be dealt with by way of prison adjudication, a sentence of 14 days custody was imposed.

Name: Kate Harney

Position: Assistant solicitor in the Crime Department

Where educated:  Newcastle University

First job:         Sales Assistant

Hobbies:         Playing guitar, going to gigs, aromatherapy

Favourite food:  Steak

Favourite film: Shawshank Redemption

Favourite group/artist: Florence and the Machine

Ultimate holiday destination: Australia

Favourite sport/team: Ultimate Frisbee

Favourite book: Anything by Sophie Kinsella

Likes: Chocolate and hot baths

Dislikes: Bananas and rude people

Personal ambition: To continue to be happy in all aspects of my life