We have dealt with many murder cases over the years but this one was particularly unusual.
Two people who knew each other well, who had partied and drank together over the years, and had fought before, fought in the privacy of their own home. Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination but not a relationship that could be called abusive - they were both young, strong healthy men. On the night in question, both parties having consumed large amounts of what the court would call ‘intoxicants’, a kitchen knife was grabbed, they tussled and somehow a fatal would resulted. H was charged with murder.
We instructed a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a pathologist and an expert to examine the blood, DNA and fingerprint evidence. Our solicitor Becky Gay and solicitor advocate Richard Gowthorpe dealt with the case from beginning to end. Louise Sweet QC (2 Bedford Row) and Richard Gowthorpe represented H at his trial at Isleworth Crown Court. On the third day of the trial, after the first direct eye witness had given his evidence and had been cross examined, the Crown reviewed the evidence and decided to accept a plea of guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
By pleading guilty to manslaughter H was accepting that, though he had not intended that serious harm or death would result, he had been criminally responsible for his friend's death. H would been facing a mandatory term of life imprisonment for murder. Instead, following his plea of guilty to manslaughter, he was sentenced to a determinate sentence of 10 years 9 months imprisonment.