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John Williams presented with President's Award 30/11/2019

John Williams was presented with a President's award by Bernadette Martin, the President of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association for services to the Association. John and the team at Bankside Law acted for members of the MCA and the United Chiropractic Association in defending mass complaints brought against them in 2018 by the Good Thinking Society. John and the Bankside Law team had acted for UCA members when the Good Thinking Society made similar complaints in 2012. In both tranches of complaints John and the Bankside Law team were able to achieve a 100% success rate so that none of their clients had a disciplinary finding against them as a result of these complaints.

John was critical of the General Chiropractic Council and the former Chief Executive and Registrar for the way in which the latest tranche of complaints had been conducted. He described it as an ill judged and costly exercise in hard touch regulation and stated his hope that if there was a third tranche of Good Thinking Society complaints the GCC would deal with them differently. Liz Carson the Chief Executive of the MCA commented:

"The thanks are all ours, for everything you do for us, and for all the support you show us. It was our absolute please to watch Berni make the President's award to you whcih as so very deserving for you and Bankside Law."

John is pictured here with his award with the Presidents of the McTimoney Chiropractic Association, Bernadette Martin, and the President of the United Chiropractic Association, Paul McCrossin.

JW presidents award pic

 

Successful defence of Senior Director of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) – Fraud, Money Laundering, Bribery & Corruption – November 2019.

Bill Wilson successfully concluded a lengthy Banking Sector investigation conducted by City of London Police (Major Crime Team) with no further action. The matter had been reported to Police in August 2017 by the internal investigation unit within Lloyds Banking Group and resulted in Bill’s client being arrested and interviewed in January 2018 at which point a Restraint Order was imposed. Although the Restraint Order initially appeared to be an obstacle, it proved to be ultimately very beneficial for the defence following challenge, producing substantial disclosure which otherwise would not have been forthcoming at that stage. This enabled very detailed lengthy representations to be made to Police which otherwise could not have been possible, dealing with each of the numerous issues under investigation. Undoubtedly it was this disclosure that assisted in the matter being concluded with no charges being preferred and without even having to be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice.

Bill commented: "This was an extremely complex investigation dating back a number of years with a significant amount of papers. Undoubtedly Lloyds Banking Group misrepresented the true sequence of facts to Police when the matter was first reported, so the Police were under a false and misguided starting point.  As a consequence of challenging the Restraint Order we were able to uncover vital defence material which otherwise would never have been considered and unfortunately could have resulted in charges wrongly being preferred. This case proves that it is very possible to litigate pre-trial and hence avoid the unnecessary expense, stress and anxiety that a lengthy and complex trial may entail.

I was extremely fortunate in being able to instruct Leading Counsel, Mr Mark Rainsford QC, 33 Chancery Lane and it was with his assistance that the Restraint Order could be challenged, strategically being able to steer away from an unnecessary prosecution. 

One of the best recommendations I ever received came from the Investigating Officer who said, “If I ever find myself in trouble, I know precisely who to come to!”.

Client commented:  "Bill Wilson was recommended to me by a close friend in the legal profession. It was the best recommendation I could have asked for.   Bill is an exceptional criminal lawyer, who quickly was able to familiarise himself with what was a complex Banking sector case which included allegations of Money Laundering, Bribery & Corruption and Fraud. Bill is very methodical in the way that he broke down the case and tactically and strategically negated every point that was alleged. 

As a lawyer, Bill is both savvy and articulate and with his vast experience of these kinds of cases, considers every conceivable avenue to explore and leverage for the benefit of his clients.  He is relentless in his work and over the two years Bill represented me, he was always available to me in my many hours of need.  I owe Bill a huge debt of gratitude and we will remain lifelong friends of that I am sure."

 

Is good character evidence and/or evidence of usual practice relevant and admissible at the unacceptable professional conduct stage? General Osteopathic Council accept it can be and that their former guidance is wrong.

Bankside Law (John Williams) recently represented an osteopath at the Professional Conduct Committee of the General Osteopathic Council. Another solicitor had represented our client at the facts stage of the proceedings and we took over the case. Evidence of good character and usual practice was submitted and we argued (through our barrister Jonathan Goldring) that it was both relevant and admissible at the UPC stage. GOsC through their barrister, argued it was not and referred to the then guidance on GOsC web site which stated that evidence of good character was never relevant at the UPC stage.

We were successful and the PCC found that in the circumstances of this case unacceptable professional conduct was not present. This meant that our client had no disciplinary finding, no entry on the GOsC web site and left the proceedings with an unblemished professional reputation. Our client was hugely relieved and extremely grateful to the replacement legal team at Bankside Law. GOsC have subsequently accepted that this evidence could be relevant and admissible, they have taken the guidance down from their web site pending it being re-written by external counsel. John Williams said –

“This was an important case, not just because it preserved the professional reputation of our client, but also because it provided another chance for Registrants generally, in the correct circumstances, to put forward evidence of good character and usual working practices at a stage at which it had previously been precluded.”

Our client commented:

"Mr Williams of Bankside Law took on my case from another firm of solicitors. I am an Osteopath and I feared the worst-case outcome following allegations made of UPC. From my first phone call with Mr Williams, when I was feeling discouraged and despondent, he took care of my case with close attention to the details, correct legal advice and encouragement every step of the way.

It was Mr Williams who recommended and co-ordinated with the experts for my case. It was my barrister Mr Jonathan Goldring who challenged the GOsC's Guidance that evidence of good character at the decision and sanction stage should not be admissible, and he won, which was so important in my case.

My complaint process was a long and very stressful two years and at the final Hearing, the Professional Conduct Committee did not consider the facts found proved amounted to UPC and the case was closed with no sanction imposed against me. From fearing the worst outcome and getting the best outcome was such a relief and I believe was only due to the expert legal knowledge and care by Mr Williams and his team. I will be forever grateful to Mr Williams and would wholeheartedly recommend Bankside Law for excellent legal representation."

 

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Investigation and subsequent Trial – Successful Defence

Bill Wilson successfully represented a Chartered Accountant in a criminal prosecution brought by the FCA. Five individuals were charged with a number of offences relating to the operation of a £1.4 million investment scheme involving the sale of shares by a Healthcare Company, ‘Symbiosis Healthcare Plc’. Charges ranged from publishing false and misleading statements, inducements and carrying on a regulated activity contrary to a general prohibition. The investigation took in excess of two years, encompassed various jurisdictions and resulted in over one million documents and numerous computers being seized. Bill’s client was the only one who was acquitted on all charges. He was employed by William Albert Securities Ltd, the corporate advisers to Symbiosis who organised the selling of the shares. Two defendants pleaded guilty at an early stage and the remaining two being convicted following trial. The trial lasted for 49 days at Southwark Crown Court. The FCA was assisted by a number of other law enforcement and government agencies, including the City of London Police.

Bill’s comments: "This was an extremely complex and paper intensive case. It was multi-jurisdictional and involved various share platforms across Europe. I advised from the outset and attended with my client during interviews under caution. Like most investigations which are at an early stage, it is always difficult to crystal-ball gaze but in this instance, it transpired that the statement provided at interview by my client, was so fundamental that it became the backbone for his acquittal at trial. I was extremely fortunate in being able to instruct two trial Counsel, Miss Jenny Goldring and Mr David McNeill, both of 5 St Andrews Hill who were immense in the amount of effort afforded to this case."

Client’s comments:

"Before my case with the FCA I had not even been inside a Court let alone a Trial. So, when the FCA instructed me to attend their premises with a solicitor for an interview under caution, I was almost certain I would be charged. I was in total shock and I had no idea what to do.

I was recommended by another solicitor to make contact with Bill. I vividly remember my first contact with Bill by telephone. His voice has that re-assuring quality about it. I knew straight away I was in good hands. Thereafter he was literally by my side throughout the most difficult time of my life, advising, instructing, supporting, encouraging and sustaining my will to defend myself.

I owe him and his handpicked legal team my life. I cannot thank him enough."

HMRC Investigation - Successful defence of Premier League Footballer and his Wife following arrest for alleged tax offences.

Bill Wilson and John Williams (respectively) represented a Premier League footballer and his wife who were arrested by the Special Casework Unit of HMRC on allegations of Fraud, Cheating the Public Revenue; Fraudulent Evasion of income tax; Fraudulent Evasion of VAT and Money Laundering. The arrest resulted in widespread publicity in the Press. It was alleged that the combined loss to the Revenue was calculated at £1.1 million. After substantial representations and detailed disclosure to HMRC over the following months, HMRC accepted that no charges would be preferred and the matter concluded with no further action.