Criminal Lawyers
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The head of Hickman & Rose’s general crime department, Jenny Wiltshire acts for high-profile individuals (‘often from the entertainment industry, sometimes politicians’) and professionals such as doctors, teachers and even fellow lawyers. Applying forensic analysis and strategic thinking to her cases, the experienced solicitor is acutely aware of the regulatory and reputational issues that face HNW clients caught up in the criminal justice system, for whom matters become much worse when they are hounded by the media: ‘We are acutely aware of the reputational damage that flows from a criminal allegation. It raises the stakes for a high-profile client considerably, and requires really careful handling,’ she says. Dubbed ‘an outstanding lawyer’ and ‘highly personable’ by clients, she takes pride in her record of keeping client names in a series of high-profile sex crime investigations (including Operation Yewtree) out of the press while ensuring no charges were brought. She’s sustained a run of recent successes for household names accused of such offences. ‘In the main, these clients have not had to face actual charges, and we have managed to retain their anonymity,’ she says. Recent highlights include acting for a young man from a wealthy Russian family, charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment. His trial was suspended part way through the cross-examination of the complainant, and a successful application was then made to stay proceedings as an abuse of process. Although the prosecution successfully appealed, they were persuaded to offer no evidence and the client was acquitted shortly prior to re-trial. She highlights changes to the Bail Act as having fostered recent trends — the time on bail pre-charge has meant fewer arrests and more interviews by appointment. ‘It’s a welcome change, but has created its own problems. Without a bail date investigations have slowed, leaving some suspects in limbo for long periods. For many of my clients, whose reputations and careers hang in the balance, it is a particular concern.’

Jenny Wiltshire