Laura Leech, GCilex, Associate
Where/when you studied: Cardiff University, Blackburn University Centre, MANCAT, Touchstone Group and Turton High School.
Professional expertise before joining the firm: I have worked within solicitors offices for the past 18 years and have been police station accredited for the past 14 years. I have prepared all types of criminal cases from shoplifting to murder.
When you joined the firm: January 2011.
Department responsibilities (within the firm): I am the manager of the crown court department having been promoted to Associate in May 2015 and I prepare the most serious of cases. I pride myself in providing outstanding legal advice and securing excellent results. I am a personable character who will always be honest with clients whilst providing a sympathetic ear and acting in a non-judgmental way. At the same time however, I am a robust and challenging opponent to the prosecution.
I assist my clients from the initial investigation through to crown court trial and beyond. I am available 24 hours a day to provide advice to clients who are detained at the police station and my clients have my mobile number to ensure that they are able to contact me in times of need.
I have a 100% acquittal rate on murder cases.
I have a special interest in representing vulnerable people such as those affected by disability, learning difficulties, victims of domestic violence and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
I work at both the Bolton and Manchester Offices.
Areas of special legal expertise:
General Crime - Defending prosecutions from the Serious Fraud Office, Complex Crime Unit, HMRC, Serious and Organised Crime Agency, Crown Prosecution Service and Department of Work and Pensions.
Examples of types of criminal cases are: -
Gang related offences, murder, serious assaults, serious drug cases, million pound fraud cases, serious sexual offences, Proceeds of Crime, conspiracies (drugs/armed robberies/fraud etc), Council Investigations.
I am also authorised to undertake preparation on health and safety prosecutions brought about by the Health and Safety Executive.
Committees or organisations (to support the claim of specialist legal expertise): I am a registered accredited legal advisor with the Legal Aid Agency and the Defence Solicitors Contact Centre. I am a Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and a member of CILEX's Criminal Practitioners Specialist Reference Group and CILEX’s Women’s Specialist Reference Group.
- R v M – vulnerable defendant charged with supplying a psychoactive substance. Successfully represented that charges should be discontinued as it was not in the public interest to prosecute.
- R v M – client initially charged with possessing an intimidation firearm with intent. Successfully made representations to the Crown to accept a lesser charge resulting in a non-immediate custodial sentence.
- R v M – robust representation at the police station in relation to domestic violence offences resulting in No Further Action being taken.
- R v D – vulnerable mother charged with murder of her baby. Not Guilty to murder.
- R v V – Client charged with wounding with intent, alleged to have 'glassed' another in a bar. Not guilty after trial.
- R v N – successfully achieving the discontinuance of a knife related charge against a vulnerable defendant.
- R v H – vulnerable defendant charged with sexual assault on a child. Not guilty after trial.
- R v B – client charged with possessing indecent images of children. Established that the prosecution's expert was incorrect in their findings and the case was discontinued.
- R v M – former care worker charged with rape and other sexual offences against a resident/service user. Client acquitted after trial.
- R v S – former religious practitioner charged with multiple sexual offences against boys and girls. Acquitted after trial.
- R v B – defendant of previous good character charged with sexually assaulting his wife by penetration. Successfully argued that the charge should not proceed.
- R v S – defendant charged with two counts of possessing a disguised firearm. Mandatory 5 year sentence unless exceptional circumstances are found. Successfully presented that there was exceptional circumstances and the defendant received a suspended sentence.
- R v S and others – multi handed drug conspiracy trial. Submissions at half time that there was insufficient evidence to proceed against the defendant. Application successful and not guilty verdicts recorded against the client.
- R v M and others - Prepared the case for client in 10 plus defendant conspiracy to defraud VAT at Manchester Crown Court. >£3m fraud. Following a guilty plea on a basis, 12 month suspended sentence with 12 week curfew.
- R v G - former Mayor admitted fraud in excess of £100,000. Following a POCA investigation the amount ordered to be paid was just £1.
- R v R – Benefit fraud case where the prosecution sought to recover £1/4 million under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Recoverable amount successfully reduced to £46,243.15.
- R v K&B – two defendants charged with managing a brothel. Successfully representing to the prosecution that there was insufficient evidence to go before the jury which resulted in formal not guilty verdicts being recorded.
- R v A – multi handed mortgage fraud case. Representations made to the prosecution regarding a prosecution being brought under the interests of justice. Result – the charges were left to lie on file.
What our clients say about Laura:
- "These words of gratitude are to thank you for the careful and most sensitive manner in which the investigation was conducted. I thank you, Laura, for your kind and professional manner, and as far as possible, putting me at ease."
- "I just wanted to say thank you...for everything. You have been amazing and I honestly don't think we'd have found a better solicitor if we'd have spent days and days looking for one... you have show incredible patience... Through this whole thing you have been our constant and our friendly face."
- “I just want to thank you so much for all your hard work time and effort you have put in at work and at home keeping you away from your family all for me I really really cannot thank you enough or express how grateful I am for it. You are an absolute credit to your company and family.”
- “I just wanted to say thank you for all your help….I will be eternally grateful for everything that you have done…..thank you so much”.
- “I appreciate the support given and put into place….I’d be lost without the guidance you have given me. There really aint anyone like you…I really don’t know how to repay you for all the work advice and help you have given me…Thank you for everything Laura”.