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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Question: am I likely to be prosecuted for handling stolen

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Question: am I likely to be prosecuted for handling stolen property in the following circumstances?
I was married very recently to a lady whom I had known for 5 years. For the time being we do not live together full time. For much of the time I have known her I have stayed overnight with her at her home usually two nights per week. She stays overnight with me at my home also two nights per week. On the remaining days of the week I frequently visit her home just to see her and take her out. The lady's son was arrested when he was suspected of stealing goods from the store where he worked. In the early hours of the following morning I was with my wife in her home when the police entered and told us of the son's arrest. They had already, before we were awoken by them, found some property they allege was stolen. This was the first knowledge I had that stolen property was on the premises. I had never previously seen the property in question, or had any knowledge, reason to believe or suspect its existence. I had never had reason to suspect or believe that the son was engaged in criminal activity. We were not questioned at all at that stage but were arrested on suspicion of "handling", then taken to a police station. At that stage we were not questioned as to our guilt or otherwise. We were then locked in cells for many hours. Finally we were each interviewed. I explained (more fully) the above circumstances and made a truthful and emphatic denial of any knowledge of the property found. We now are on police bail to appear at the police station in due course regarding this matter. I did not ask for the services of a solicitor but simply truthfully answered all questions. I thank you in advance for your reply.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Where were the goods found?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

For Jo C. The goods were found in the bedroom next door to the one occupied by my wife and I. This room had very recently begun to be occupied by the offending son. A further search of the flat was carried out whilst we were in custody. I do not know the result of this search. My wife is equally adamant that she had no "guilty knowledge" and I know her well enough to be absolutely sure that her innocence is equal to mine.

Sorry for the delay. I lost my connection.

Obviously I haven't had full vision of this case. Its always difficult to assess the likelihood of charge. However, if the facts are as you say, they will struggle to bring a case against you.

To justify a charge they have to show that there is a greater than 50% chance of satisfying a court so that they are sure that you knew or suspected these goods were stolen.

Unless they are going to find your fingerprints or DNA on anything, they don't even have any proof that you knew they were there. They weren't found in a location that you would have seen in the house.

The connection is clearly with her son since the goods come from his work. Its not realistically likely they are going to argue that you put them there. The only claim against you could be that they knew about them and they don't really have evidence of that.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

For Jo C. Your reply is satisfactory, thank you, XXXXX XXXXX in the last sentence (just before your "can I clarify anything for you") you say "they". I expect you mean "you" (knew about them). I have no further queries>

Yes thats typing error.

No problem and all the best.

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