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Janick Fielding secured the acquittal of a long-time victim of extreme physical and sexual abuse

On 14th April 2022, at the Crown Court in Bournemouth, Janick Fielding, who had originally been instructed to deal with the matter as an inevitable guilty plea and mitigation for sentence, secured the acquittal of a long-time victim of extreme physical and sexual abuse who was facing an allegation of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent. Having allowed her boyfriend to invite his friend, a fellow doorman and former cage-fighter, over for drinks one evening, the defendant had been awoken from a drunken, sleep at around 05:00, by her 17 year old, mentally-vulnerable daughter, pleading for her mother to tell the friend to leave after she had been subjected to an indecent assault and repeated unwanted encouragement to sleep with him. A short while later, the friend claimed to have awoken to the defendant striking him about the head and body with a baseball bat. Having lost consciousness, his next recollection was of her standing over him with a knife, which she used to slash his face so deeply the bone was exposed. He fled and raised the alarm, asserting that the defendant had not only caused the extensive injuries to him, she had also slashed the chest of her boyfriend in her drunken rage. Body-worn footage during the arrest showed the defendant apologising to her daughter and acknowledging that she would always protect her. On being interviewed that same day, the defendant asserted that she had no memory of the events, being a sufferer of memory impairment that had developed following a decade of serious mistreatment by two ex-husbands, the second of whom had on many occasions satisfied his serial killer-inspired fetishes by breaking her bones before raping her and threatening her with death if she reported the injuries to the police or medical services. Janick advised on the instruction of a consultant forensic psychiatrist who diagnosed dissociative amnesia and triggers that would include the circumstances in which the defendant had found herself in the early hours of that morning. He then persuaded the Crown to accept as admitted fact that the defendant’s inability to recollect was genuine and that no inference against her should be drawn. Thereafter, he advised on the building of a circumstantial case to rebut the eye-witness account of the friend. A series of defence enquiries and disclosure requests of the prosecution revealed a picture of the friend as an abusive, opportunistic and predatory womaniser and the then-boyfriend of the defendant as an unstable character and knife-carrying offender with a number of convictions involving the use and carriage of weapons. Based upon meticulously-planned cross-examination of the defendant’s daughter, who had heard an argument between the defendant and the friend in the living room before the boyfriend had entered, and through the presentation of evidence that suggested on balance that the boyfriend, who had earlier in the evening become upset with his friend when the latter had sought to take advantage of the defendant when she was incapacitated through intoxication, Janick asserted that it was the boyfriend who had been possessed of better motive, opportunity and capacity, that the jury should prefer the conclusion that there had in fact been a short, armed and brutal fight between the hulking, combat-trained men, rather than one involving the drunken, five-foot, six stone defendant, and that despite the absence of any positive case being available to the defendant, the circumstantial, inferential conclusions drawn together by counsel in his closing speech should be preferred over the only eye-witness account relied upon by the Crown. It should be added that the defendant said of the blood-stained baseball bat, which had been inscribed with the Shakespearian quote, ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce’ that it was a gift she had never used. The subsequent acquittal was unanimous.

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