Christian is a member of the professional misconduct and criminal law team, based in Thompsons Solicitors’ Newcastle office, which covers the North East and Cumbria.

Having qualified in 2006, Christian covers three main areas of work. The first is criminal law, which includes providing advice and representation to clients in the police service, the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court as well as advice in the event of an appeal to the Court of Appeal. Most of the criminal cases he deals with involve allegations of sexual offences, fraud, theft, misconduct in public office and allegations of physical assault by a professional.

The second area of work is inquest law, which involves providing advice to prison officers at Coroners’ inquests following a death in custody.

Finally, he deals with cases involving actions against the police. Such cases typically involve challenges in relation to unlawful arrest or decisions on disclosure of information to employers following an investigation.  

Christian’s main aim is to dedicate himself to presenting the best case for his client – either preparing a detailed defense for trial or presenting mitigating circumstances and obtaining the best possible outcome for a client who accepts any criminal charge. He says that the most rewarding aspect of his job is obtaining a successful outcome.

He particularly enjoys working for Thompsons Solicitors because of the niche work they do and the responsibility of seeking to protect a client’s liberty and livelihood. Christian believes that Thompsons’ lawyers have more time to devote to their cases than many typical high street firms, which can allow them to provide more detailed representation and allow them to take a different legal approach where appropriate.  

When not in work, Christian enjoys spending time with his family and watching sport. He is a keen Middleborough fan.

Christian's case experience

Sexual assault allegation claim: A client was suspended from work following an allegation of rape. He was then charged and required to appear in the Crown Court. As his defense lawyer, Christian used the calls made from his client’s mobile to put together a completely different timeline of events to that of his accuser. The jury took 30 minutes to acquit him.

Unfair dismissal claim: A nursery worker, who was accused of biting a child, was suspended and then dismissed. At trial, Christian was able to cast doubt on the sequence of events and when the child had received the bite mark as there was no evidence of the child being upset while in nursery. An acquittal of the client was obtained and she was able to return to child care work and to a normal life.

Professional misconduct claim: A schoolteacher was alleged to have assaulted a pupil with special needs.  At trial, the court were presented with examples of significant prosecution failures to comply with their disclosure obligations, and Christian successfully opposed the prosecution application to adjourn. The case against the client was then discontinued.  

Professional misconduct claim: A teaching assistant who was accused of grabbing the hand of a pupil and wiping the pupil’s hand in spit. Disclosure was obtained of the pupil’s previous record of incidents which highlighted the need for staff to take hold of her hands on occasions because of her tendency to hit out. The documentation and supporting witness statements were then used to secure an acquittal.  

Professional misconduct claim: Christian represented a local bus driver, accused of assaulting the complainant, an attack allegedly seen by an independent witness.  CCTV was obtained which was used to prove that a number of lies had been told by the complainant and to force the witness to agree that what he had thought he had seen was heavily limited and out of context. The defendant was acquitted.

Professional misconduct claim: A teaching assistant was accused of slapping a child. The case hinged on the cross examination of the individual who alleged that she had witnessed the assault. Christian was able to undermine her account and to demonstrate to the court that her account could not be substantiated and the client was acquitted. 

Testimonials

Mr Edward Stead, a member of the Prison Officers’ Association, said: “I was delighted with the outcome and I would certainly recommend Thompsons to friends and colleagues. Christian Harbinson was incredibly easy to deal with, very easy to contact and kept me informed at all times.”

One of Christian’s clients said: “I was very well represented and advised and cannot think of how the service I received could have been better. I am deeply grateful”.

One of Christian’s clients said: “I would like to thank you for everything you have done for me in this case and in particular, believing in me when others didn’t.”

One of Christian’s clients said: “Christian was always friendly and approachable, which is what you need in these circumstances. He always acknowledged your calls and kept you up to date when possible”.