Brenda qualified as a solicitor in 1996. She has practised in criminal law since her qualification including criminal litigation, mental health criminal work, actions against the police, and appeals. She has worked in prison law since 2011.
Brenda joined BBM as a consultant solicitor in January 2013. She specialises in prison law and appeals but she also regularly attends police stations and Magistrates’ Courts as a duty solicitor.
Her expertise and main source of work now is parole hearings for lifer prisoners – those serving mandatory and discretionary life sentences and IPP (imprisonment for public protection) sentences. She also deals with extended sentence hearings and lifers wising to move to open pre- tariff SIFT. She also acts for recall prisoners, serving both determinate and indeterminate sentences.
Many of Brenda’s clients are prisoners in the mental health system and so she has extensive experience and knowledge in this area.
Brenda manages appeals against both conviction and sentence.
Recent successful appeals:
- Brenda successfully achieved a reduction in sentence for a woman who was involved in armed robbery. It was accepted that she had no knowledge of arms being used and was influenced into being involved in the crime by her partner
- Brenda achieved a reduction in sentence for a 17 year old who was convicted of an Aggravated Burglary – she argued that credit for the client’s age was not fully given by the trial judge
Recent successful parole matters:
- One client who had been detained for 40 years was finally released following advocacy by Brenda during a successful parole hearing
- An extended sentence client was released before the end of their prison sentence via parole hearing at which Brenda advocated on the client’s behalf
- Brenda deal with a recall client who had a determinate sentence, following an acquittal for very serious charges
- An IPP client was moved to open conditions following successful parole hearing with 3 years left in tariff
- An extended sentence recall client who had committed a further offence was successfully released following parole hearing
- Brenda was appointed to represent an IPP client by the Parole Board as the client had no capacity to appoint a solicitor. Brenda’s advocacy led to a successful parole hearing with the client being moved to a much better and suitable environment