Lucy Sweetland prosecutes and defends in a wide range of serious criminal matters including violence, drugs and sexual offences.
She has a busy and varied Crown Court practice which in the past year has included acting as a led junior in the prosecution of 18 counts of historic sexual abuse which resulted in the defendant receiving an extended sentence of 24 years custody, and as sole advocate defending a 15 year old charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent by stabbing.
Lucy has also appeared alone several times before the Court of Appeal in successful appeals against sentence and conviction.
As well as criminal trials, Lucy has a growing practice in professional discipline, inquests, and quasi-criminal matters under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 where she has successfully opposed applications for cash forfeiture and freezing injunctions brought by the police.
Lucy was seconded to the National Crime Agency in 2016 as part of an independent panel reviewing the compliance of search warrants and production orders and continues to be instructed by the Agency in ad hoc reviews in relation to Legal Professional Privilege. She assisted in drafting the Home Office Response to the Independent Inquiry on Child Sexual Abuse in 2018.
Prior to pupillage, Lucy spent five months at the Gulf Region Advocacy Centre in Texas, representing prisoners on Death Row, where she assisted in drafting appeals to the state and federal courts.
Lucy has represented defendants charged with offences including serious violence, sexual assault, possession of drugs and weapons, arson, burglary, theft and fraud. She is also a Level 2 CPS prosecutor and regularly prosecutes trials in the Crown Court as well as being instructed to advise on matters pre-charge and as disclosure counsel in complex investigations involving sensitive police investigations and historic third-party material.
As a led junior, Lucy has acted for the defence multi-handed cases of attempted murder, armed robbery and drugs conspiracy. In 2019 she was instructed in a four-month trial in which multiple defendants were charged with human trafficking offences related to County Lines drug dealing. Lucy argued the successful half-time submission on the human trafficking offences and her client was subsequently acquitted of the drugs conspiracy by the jury.
Lucy ensures meticulous preparation and a strategic approach to cases from the outset and she is chosen to represent individuals of good character facing serious allegations such as sexual assault and fraud. In one recent such case, the pursuit of targeted disclosure requests led to the unearthing of crucial Body Worn Video of the attending officers’ conduct which resulted in the prosecution offering no evidence on the day of trial.
Lucy has significant experience representing children and young people facing serious charges such as robbery and grievous bodily harm in the Youth Court and Crown Court and is well placed to consider the necessity for psychiatric and psychological reports and referrals regarding issues of modern slavery or exploitation, as well as working with intermediaries. In a recent case, she was able to draw on expert reports to persuade the Crown to accept a lesser plea in the case of a stabbing committed when the defendant was just 13 years old, and this allowed the court to impose a sentence to rehabilitate the defendant in the community.
In addition to her Crown Court practice, Lucy accepts instructions in the magistrates’ court to assist clients facing road traffic and other summary only matters and has secured acquittals relying on the defences of duress and post-driving consumption, as well as advancing effective arguments at the sentencing stage to avoid the imposition of points or disqualification. She has also had success where clients wished to appeal these types of cases to the Crown Court.
R v JE (2020)
Led junior for the prosecution in multi-count historic abuse of two family members; after a six week trial the defendant was convicted of all counts and received an extended sentence of 24 years.
R v AC & Others (2019)
Led junior for the defence in multi-handed ‘County Lines’ drugs and human trafficking conspiracy. Successful submission of no case to answer on the human trafficking charges followed by acquittal on the drugs conspiracy.
R v SW (2019)
Representing a man of good character charged with sexually assaulting a friend of his teenage daughter. Pursuit of disclosure of unused material resulted in the prosecution offering no evidence at trial.
R v OE (2019)
Representing a man charged with section 20 GBH after a fight at a football match; acquitted at trial.
R v FK (2018)
Representing a young man who pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a woman outside a nightclub and received a suspended sentence of imprisonment. The Attorney General referred the matter to the Court of Appeal as Unduly Lenient and Lucy successfully opposed this application before the full court against Monitoree Treasury Counsel.
R v OK (2018)
Successful defence at trial of a father charged with cruelty and assault occasioning actual bodily harm in respect of his five month old child.
HU v R (2017)
Appeal to the Court of Appeal on behalf of a 16 year old who pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary involving a firearm; sentence was reduced from 6 years 8 months to 5 years.
R v XG (2017)
Seven-handed affray, captured on CCTV; acquitted at trial.
R v JB (2017)
Representing the first defendant in an alleged conspiracy to burgle the home of a former business associate; acquitted following a successful submission at the close of the Crown’s case.
Lucy accepts instructions from regulatory bodies, and on behalf of professionals facing Fitness to Practice proceedings.
She is frequently instructed to present cases for the Nursing and Midwifery Council and, on the defence side, recently represented a dispensing optician in relation to charges brought by the General Optical Council.
Lucy has a developing practice in the Coroners’ Courts, having recently represented an interested party in relation to a young person’s suicide on school grounds, and also acted for the family in an inquest which heard evidence from the treating physicians about a vulnerable woman’s death following surgery.