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When prison is only part of your client's punishment


Your client has a dilemma. He or she is stuck in prison yet still has to live with the consequences of a restraint order or arrange finances to repay a Confiscation Order and ensure that all family bills are met. It seems an impossible task and can have a detrimental effect on the state of mind of the client and consequently on any defence the appointed lawyer is compiling.


By working alongside forensic accountants, many of the pressures are taken away from the legal team who can concentrate on assembling a robust defence.


Forensic accountants are usually instructed on behalf of defendants to consider the S16 POCA statement prepared by the Crown Prosecution Service. These reports claim that a Defendant has benefited financially from a particular crime and intend recovering the amount of benefit from the Defendant's assets.


But that's only part of it. A good forensic accountant can also help your client in many other ways.  Lennie Harris of Manchester and London based HCA Consultancy explains:  "We not only make sure your client only repays what is required but we can also help with their finances. If the family home is under threat we can help arrange property sales or equity release so the family's needs are met without additional pressure.


"We work alongside many advisors or we can recommend professionals who are experts in this field.  Often we can also help in obtaining funds for the case.  Our service is unique."


Increasingly forensic accountants are being brought in at the early stages of proceedings by law firms acting for the defendants.  The regulatory and complex crime team at JMW Solicitors have found that using a forensic accountant often results in favourable results, particularly in cases involving tax, fraud, false accounting, money laundering or confiscation proceedings


Evan Wright, a partner in the Business Crime and Regulation department at JMW said: "Having an independent expert presenting evidence in a report or in person is a powerful way to persuade the court that the defence financial evidence is to be preferred at trial or in confiscation proceedings. It can also be important in restraint proceedings where, for example, management receivers are involved pending decisions to prosecute. We have worked with forensic accountants for many years and it has paid dividends.".


Lennie Harris continued: "In our role as forensic accountants, we critically examine the very basis of the prosecution's claim.  We produce a report which will isolate examples of legitimate trading which did not accrue from the proceeds of crime, but have nevertheless been included in the claim made by the Prosecution. Initial assessments made by the prosecution are often inflated.


"As a forensic accountancy firm, we use our financial skills to examine the evidence presented which relate to the defendant's assets and adjust the figures based on the available evidence. Our early involvement usually means that both the benefit figure and the alleged recoverable amount  are substantially reduced in favour of the defendant."


According to Lennie Harris, an early partnership between lawyer and forensic accountant is beneficial to all parties. When he is approached directly by defendants he can often recommend the selection of the right law firm for the particular case.  With 45 years' experience with accountancy giants PWC he believes that the forensic accountant brings to the table an understanding of process including debt management, tax and insolvency, often settling cases without prosecution. "We make a vital and positive contribution to the defendant's case and we can help law firms to expand their portfolio," he confidently claimed.


Further information on use of forensic accountants is available on


For further information contact Martin Newman on 07717 717981 or Lennie Harris on 07469 859854