Meet the Team – Robert Beighton

Meet the Team - Robert Beighton

This is the thirteenth in a series of posts designed to provide you with some information about the team at Old Bailey Solicitors, what they do and why they do it! 

Today its the turn of OBS’s trial warrior and the housewives’ choice, Robert Beighton

What is your job title?

Solicitor Advocate

How long have you been with Old Bailey Solicitors?

I joined in September 2003 – nearly 14 years

What did you do before joining Old Bailey Solicitors?

I qualified as a solicitor in 2000.  I worked with another local firm before joining Old Bailey Solicitors

 

What made you decide to become a criminal defence specialist?

I suppose like most people that come into the profession I was drawn by the opportunity to hear interesting stories told by real people.  I started as an outdoor clerk assisting barristers making notes during Crown Court cases and was fascinated as dramas unfolded

 

Describe your typical day at work

Generally, the day begins at court; dealing with the morning list.   It often leads to the police station to act for people recently arrested before I head back to the office to begin the slow process of compiling files and paperwork for the scrutiny of the Legal Aid Agency.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The opportunity to help people solve serious problems which have a significant effect on their lives.  I am a trial advocate which means that I am often in court thinking on my feet whilst presenting cases to try to get the best results.

What do you find most challenging? 

I’m afraid to say that I think the Criminal Justice System is failing.  In the lower courts the cut-backs in funding for the CPS have led to an unresponsive service that often relies on the goodwill of the courts to avoid compliance with the rules imposed to try to create a more efficient system.  The result is that often cases are forced to go ahead often without important evidence being served putting defendants are a distinct disadvantage.

At the same time the regulation involved in state funded cases (when its available) has increased to the point at which defence lawyers must spend more time trying to figure out how to remain compliant than preparing effective cases.

If you could implement one single change to the criminal justice system, what would it be? 

I think I would scrap the Post Sentence Supervision scheme.  Currently every defendant sentenced to a term of imprisonment (no matter how long) must undergo a supervision period of 12 months upon release.  Non-compliance with supervision, which might be as trivial as a missed appointment, is likely to result in a further prison sentence.  The scheme is expensive to run but more importantly it targets vulnerable defendants who’s chaotic lives sometimes mean that compliance is difficult.

Robert Beighton

Robert Beighton

Rob is a higher courts advocate but his main practice is in the magistrates court, the youth court and at the police station where he has a wealth of experience in representing clients.

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