In a week-long trial at Woolwich Crown Court, Danielle Barden, instructed by Lisa Towell of Blackfords LLP, has obtained the acquittal of a young, professional man, who was targeted by a known offender to take illicit items into a prison.

It was accepted that the items were taken into the prison. However, the case was run utilising the defence under section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, namely that this young man was compelled to take the items into prison by reason of the exploitation that he faced, which involved threats that were made to himself and his family in order to ensure that he carried out this ‘service’ for the known offender who was making these demands of him.

As part of the defence, it was also necessary to show that a reasonable person, with the young man’s relevant characteristics, in those particular circumstances, would have felt that they had no other option but to comply with the demands being made of him.

The jury unanimously acquitted him of the offence in under two hours and the young man was incredibly pleased to finally be able to move on from the terrible ordeal that he had gone through.

This trial was one of many that have been delayed as a result of covid-19 and the substantial backlog in the courts, and thus he has had to wait over two and a half years to be acquitted of these offences.

A special thanks to Lisa Towell, for her fantastic preparation of the case and excellent support for the client throughout, as always.