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First Defence Solicitors

Firm: First Defence Solicitors

Postal address: 30–32 Bromham Road, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK40 2QD (Map)

Telephone: 01234 263263


Web address:

About: First Defence was formed by The Partners are Derek Johashen, Simon Campbell, and Andy Brumhill. It is the view of The Partners that First Defence will continuously provide the best possible criminal law advice to all of its clients, at every level of representation, and to continue to be one of the leaders in criminal defence cases in the area.

We are one of the largest Criminal Law specialist in the country and continue to provide an individually tailored service for each of our clients. We have a large group of in house Barristers and Solicitor Advocates, and have links to the best and most highly regarded Barristers and QC’s across the country.

We pride ourselves on our results in the past, the cases we have on going and our drive to move forward in the future. In this fast moving environment, where laws can change over night, knowledge is key. We not only keep our staff up to date with interactive and extensive training, we also run the First Defence Training Academy. Providing training, delivered by leading experts, to many individuals from various other law firms around our area.

Specialisms: Youth court, Serious/complex Fraud, Murder, Serious drugs offences, Road Traffic Law, Prisoner’s Rights
Memorable cases: R v IH 2010
This was a prosecution by the Hertfordshire Trading Standards Department of three individuals and was the first prosecution of its type.

The three had established a company with a professionally developed website to sell tickets to the public for football matches and other events such as musical concerts. It was known to each of the Defendants that in order to sell these tickets, they needed licenses from the individual overseeing body, for example the FA, UEFA or FIFA.

None of the Defendants were licensed in that way, but there was a huge market for people buying tickets that could not acquire them from the club or country involved in match. The demand was so high that it was estimated from the 18000 pages of evidence, the business turned over £2.7 million.

What was unique about this prosecution was the because of the professional set up of the business, the prosecution argued that this was a dishonest activity and the Defendants were originally charged with 79 counts of fraud and 1 of money laundering. Essentially the prosecution were saying that because the Defendants knew that the selling of the tickets was illegal, their activity in breach of law was acting dishonestly.

AS representatives of IH we managed to persuade the jury that the client, although listed as the secretary to the company, had no significant role with in the dishonest acts the business and was found not guilty by the jury.

In respect of the individual who had another major role in the company, the jury found that his behaviour was dishonest.

R v ZA 2010
The Defendant and three others were charged with various counts of money laundering and proceeds of crime after an international counterfeit DVD ring was broken. Operating out of Milton Keynes, with funds moving through the accounts to as far away as China, this was an operation that totalled well over of £1 million during its spell.

Searches of properties and storage units in London, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Bletchley discovered advanced ‘factories’ for producing huge numbers of DVDs and computers found that contained thousands of block buster titles and other types of films.
After a progression quickly to the Crown Court, at trial, all links between our client and the supply of the blank DVDs, the ‘factories’ for production of these films, and the bank accounts through which money was transferred were disproved by us. We successfully represented our client’s interests and the jury found them not guilty of all counts of money laundering under the proceeds of crime act. Other Defendants were found guilty of a long string of serious offences.

R v ED 2010…
This young man was facing an Anti Social Behaviour Order, with one of the requirements being implemented to ensure that the way he dressed was regulated.  After several lengthy discussions with the prosecution, Simon Campbell, the acting solicitor, won the agreement of the court that to force this youth to dress a certain way was against his human rights and therefore could not be imposed as conditions. This case and the legal arguments made by Mr Campbell earned him the title of ‘Times Online Lawyer of the week’ and featured in many other national press articles.

R v SF 2008
SF is said to have fallen out with his business partner. As a result SF went to his business partner’s home address with an SPAS 12 (a special purpose assault shotgun) which he discharged repeatedly into his business partner’s hallway narrowly missing his partner.
SF was charged with attempted murder, attempted grievous bodily harm, and possessing a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence (murder) and after a very difficult Trial was found not guilty of all three counts. He was however found guilty for lesser offence to do with possessing a firearm with intent to commit an affray.

R v SS
SS was a 17 year old charged along with a co-accused with the murder of a man in Bedford.
It was alleged that the man, who had been drinking, was set upon by a group of young men who punched him to the head causing him to fall to the ground. The man died a short time later from head injuries. The Defendant and his co-accused asserted that they were not present during the assault and not responsible for the death. After the our Barristers presented the defence, both Defendants were acquitted.

Senior solicitors: Derek Johashen – Managing Partner
Derek has been a solicitor since 1988. He is a duty solicitor. He was Chairman of Bedford Duty Scheme and a member of the Regional Duty Solicitor Committee from 2001–2006.
Derek is a Higher Court Advocate and is therefore permitted to appear in all criminal courts. He is a member of the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates. He now spends the majority of his time representing clients in the Crown Court.
From 2002–2006 Derek was the Chairman of the Bedford Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Andrew Brumhill – Partner
Andy became a solicitor in 1996. He has specialised exclusively in criminal defence work and has developed a huge client base. Andy has dealt with a number of high profile murder, fraud and human trafficking cases with notable success.
Andy is well known for working with the disenfranchised and has become increasingly concerned for those suffering from Drug and Alcohol dependency. In 2006 he was appointed as a Trustee for the James Kingham Project which is a community rehabilitation project for people with alcohol problems.
Andy is a Duty Solicitor and is a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme.

Simon Campbell – Partner
Simon has been a solicitor since 1998, he has developed an extensive criminal defence practice since that time, save for a short time with the Crown Prosecution Service where he gained an invaluable insight into the working of the police and prosecution.
Simon is a Duty Solicitor and has become a Regional Duty Solicitor Committee member as a representative for Bedford since 2006. He is a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme.
In 2007 Simon was elected as President of the Bedfordshire Law Society. He is a member of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association.

Andel Singh
A Barrister from 1987 until 1996, working out of Middle Temple Chambers. From 1993-‘94 he travelled to the West Indies to lecture for The University of London on an external LLB course.

From 1994-’95 worked for the Crown Prosecution Service, and in 1996 became a solicitor. He then became a Duty Solicitor in 1997 and the same year took his higher rights and is able to practice in all courts from the Magistrates’ Court to the Court of Appeal.

Andel is also a former member of the Law Society Law Committee.
Andel specialises in all areas of crime, in particular complex fraud cases and has had notable success in this area. He practices in all courts, spending most of his time as an advocate in the Crown Court.

Simon Cocksedge
As a former equity partner at Sharman Law, Simon has been a leading criminal defence solicitor since 1974 and is Duty Solicitor, a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme, and a committee member of the local Bedford Law Society, and is a former President.
Simon is a member of Lords Cricket Club.

Dan Simister
Dan qualified as a solicitor in 1997. He was previously a partner at Park Woodfine Solicitors where he headed the Criminal Department. Dan is a Duty Solicitor and a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme. Dan believes passionately that individuals have the right to the best possible defence which he always strives to deliver.
Daniel is a Higher Court Advocate and is therefore permitted to appear in all criminal courts.

Jane Anderson
Jane was previously a partner at Woodfine Batcheldor Solicitors, Bedford. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1996, is a Duty Solicitor and a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme. Jane is a committee member of the local Bedford Law Society.
Jane is a Higher Court Advocate and is therefore permitted to appear in all criminal courts.

Lisa Collins
Lisa achieved a 1st Class Honours degree in 1994 whereupon she travelled the world extensively until 1997, qualifying as a solicitor in 2002. She has worked with the Serious Fraud Panel, is a Duty Solicitor, and a Higher Court Advocate. She is also a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme.
Lisa is a Higher Court Advocate and is therefore permitted to appear in all criminal courts.

Matthew Aldwinkle
Matt was previously at Borneo Linnells and Pictons laws firms. He has been qualified since 2000, is a duty solicitor, and a member of the Law Society’s Criminal Litigation Accreditation Scheme. He is the Head of our Prison Law Team having obtained the Institute of Prison Law Accreditation in Prison Law.

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