This dodgy looking gentleman wielding a coat-hanger with intent to tamper with a motor vehicle is Gareth Beynon of Birmingham firm Beynon & Co – giving the lie to every criminal defence solicitor’s dinner party line that the job is nothing like that portrayed in Rumpole or Perry Mason.
Beynon was acting for a driver stopped in Dover last year and found to have cocaine worth £350,000 in the pollen filter of his employer’s van. The Crown had stated that it was not possible to open the van’s bonnet from the outside without a key.
Beynon had his doubts. ‘A few discreet enquiries with a few clients of the firm resulted in a very positive reaction. I arranged for myself to break into a client’s Mercedes Sprinter van using an old coat-hanger. The video was shown to the jury, who liked the idea of a 56-year-old portly solicitor breaking into the van.’
Apparently the trial judge commented that a ‘trimmer’ person might have been able to open the bonnet of the van much quicker than the two and a half minutes Beynon took. ‘The video contributed to the acquittal and saved the client from a lengthy custodial sentence,’ he tells Obiter.
All in a day’s work. But Obiter is wondering what other unlikely skills solicitors have had to demonstrate in the course of proceedings. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.