Where do you live and what makes it special?
I live in Torquay having moved there from Wolverhampton in 1975. I love living by the sea and the area has given me the opportunity to become involved in all sorts of sporting and community activities. Although Torbay is a large area it is a very small community and everything that I have become involved in has always made it feel as if I am making a difference. My wife was born in Torquay and as a family we all have very close connections with Torbay.
What made you decide to specialise in Criminal Defence and Motoring Offences?
I have done all types of law related work since I started in the profession in 1972 when most solicitors were general practitioners. When I joined this firm in 1997 I was involved in crime/motoring work and family law work but then narrowed that work to crime/motoring when specialising in a certain type of work became essential in view of the specialist nature of legal work.
Describe your specialism
I attend police stations for people being interviewed by the police, I attend magistrates courts to represent people charged with criminal/motoring offences and I advise clients on all aspects of crime/motoring related work. The law changes from week to week and I am told that as many as 3,000 new offences were created in a 10-year period starting in 1997/1998.
Why do you enjoy your particular fields?
The operation of the law and legal system is interesting but the individuals I represent are more interesting. I have the opportunity to meet large numbers of people from all walks of life and individuals always have character.
What have been the most interesting recent developments in your field?
There are so many developments in my field of work that it is difficult to pin point “the most interesting”. The important aspect is to keep up with the changes and to ensure that I understand those developments and changes.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your profession?
Every lawyer who has ever represented anyone in crime related proceedings will tell you that he or she has been asked the question “how can you represent someone when you know that they are guilty?” I do not, and nor should other defence lawyers, make a judgement as to whether or not a person is guilty or innocent. I consider the evidence against an individual, take the individual’s instructions and take instructions on that evidence from that individual and then advise the individual how best to deal with the situation. I explain to the individual what the prosecution needs to prove in order to prove that individual has committed the offence and when the individual gives me his/her instructions I can then tell that individual whether or not, on that person’s information, he or she is admitting committing an offence. The individual then decides for himself/herself what that individual wishes to do in court and I never tell a client to do one thing or the other. I then ensure that the court has every piece of information that it needs to make an appropriate decision. The art of the advocate lies in informed persuasion and never in misleading anyone.
What do you do to relax?
I have spent most of my life engaged in one sport or another and continue with this. I have always found it an ideal way to relax. I have also spent a great deal of time with my family. My work generally involves sitting and standing which has provided an additional driving force in sport.
I was a teacher for a year before going to University and then I was a long-distance lorry driver for almost a year after finishing University.
You can contact Mervyn Williams, by telephone on 01803 407622 or by email at email@example.com. WBW has nine offices across the South West in Newton Abbot, Bovey Tracey, Torquay, Paignton, Exeter, Launceston, Exmouth, Sidmouth and Honiton.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.