What to do when faced with Joint Enterprise – from Charge - Trial - Post Conviction
When you suddenly find a Friend or Loved One facing a Joint Enterprise charge there is no denying it is going to be a very tough time, pretty confusing and totally bewildering.
Always remember you are not alone
At JENGbA we have put together a “handrail” document which can hopefully help you through this process.
Talk to us, we cannot offer legal advice, but we can advise on steps to take.
It is going to be tough so hang in there...
RECORD EVERYTHING - including everyone you speak to which relates to the case.
Who you spoke to, Date and Time, What they did, What you did.
- Find a legal team that specialise in Joint Enterprise charges – some do not.
- Engage with them and try where possible to help/assist with evidence gathering.
- Don’t be afraid to communicate with the Legal team.
- Ask the legal team if they have received ALL disclosure, Unused Evidence, Social Media files, Text Messages.
- Get involved with the Defence Statement – insist on seeing it – Too often they are poorly written, and the Defence Statement needs to be detailed enough. Ask if it questions evidence disclosure – You can also get it re-written and re-submitted.
- There will be lots of media articles – where possible record these, screen shot, take pictures or videos, especially from social media.
- Get on Social Media – you can find info and support on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
- You may wish to get the login details of your friend or loved one’s social media account – you may find information here which may help you.
- Your friend or loved one may get correspondence from others whilst in prison. This may shine a light and/or provide evidence so tell them to send this to you – then record it – take a picture, scan it – remember record everything.
- Look at CPS website https://www.cps.gov.uk this directs charging decisions on all matters and will help you to read into Joint Enterprise and familiarise yourself with some of the words they use and abbreviations.
- If you friend or loved one is on Remand in Prison the prison will have a local support team, don’t be afraid to speak to them.
- You can speak to Prison or write to them if you have concerns about your friend or loved one.
- In some cases, you can email a prisoner and they are able to reply to your email via a written sheet of paper scanned back to you- and you can send money to a prisoner, see links below:
- Sit in on the trial, it will be difficult, it is vital you hear as much as you can.
- Follow Live Trial updates online from your local paper – they may be updating their article on the trial as it goes on.
- The courts can put you in touch with organisations that support the prison your loved one is in.
- Be very cautious who you speak to as some people could be fishing for information and/or journalists.
- Ask to see Prosecuting Opening Statement (known as Pro’s Opening Statement), You may be able to get this just before the trial starts. They can get the details wrong.
- Don’t give up – take a breath if you know you are right you are right!
- Stay healthy – mentally and physically.
- Monitor Social Media – you never know what may be said in a slip up.
- There will be lots of media articles about the case – where possible record these, screen shot, take pictures or videos.
- Your loved one is entitled to their defence files – get them to write up a letter giving permission to have you as custodian of them as you wish to mount an Appeal to the conviction and/or sentence.
- Whether they have been on Legal Aid or paid for the defence team themselves the files remain your friend or loved ones property regardless. You are entitled to them.
- If they cannot get these files complain at https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-legal-adviser
- Get the files in electronic format if you can as it is easier.
- Get the legal team to confirm these are all the defence files.
- Start to think how you can mount an appeal, Legal Teams will say it costs lots of money – legal aid will not cover it – don’t sell your house over it.
- Your loved one will have less visits now and the money they are allowed may change.
- Each prison does things differently, in some cases you credit money to your friend or loved one via https://www.gov.uk/send-prisoner-money and they can use that to purchase clothes from a catalogue. Some prisons allow your friend or loved one to receive clothes parcels from you.
- If you are worried about your loved one – get in touch with the prison – once you have done this – they are obliged to act – remember record everything, date time who, when and what was done about it, set reminders on your phone or calendar to go back and follow up on everything.
- Don’t be afraid to speak with the prison.
- Your loved one will have an Offender Manager – speak to them, meet them if you can (this may be during a visit).
- If a program or article about the case is about to be/has been published – speak to the prison to let them know so they are able to understand, and help support should your friend or loved one have access to the program or article.
- JENGbA are a family of people who have been brought together through their circumstance and shared experiences and can talk through and help you to understand what is going on.
- REMEMBER - Don’t give up – it’s going to take time - take a breath if you know you are right you are right!