Based at Thompsons Solicitors’ Manchester centre and covering the North West, Gemma Zakrzewski specialises in defending clients who have been accused of committing criminal offences.
A key member of the criminal law team, Gemma takes a range of cases including those involving extremely serious allegations such as rape, grievous bodily harm, causing death by dangerous driving, gross negligence manslaughter and misconduct in a public office.
Gemma spent eight years’ Post-Qualified Experience after becoming a solicitor in 2011 and worked for three extremely busy city centre criminal law firms before joining Thompsons in 2017.
Gemma started her career as a fully accredited police station representative, advising and representing clients at the police station, before she trained as a solicitor. She routinely represents clients at the police station and magistrates’ court, as well as preparing cases to be heard in the crown court.
Gemma is renowned for the thoroughness of her case preparation which enables her to provide strong representation for her clients.
She values her work at Thompsons because it enables her to represent people with no experience of the criminal justice system and who are inevitably experiencing some of the most stressful times of their lives. Gemma ensures her clients get the best possible legal advice and she takes care to explain the legal process in simple terms at all stages of proceedings.
Away from work Gemma a keen photographer.
GEMMA’S CASE EXPERIENCE
R v S - 2019
Gemma represented a prison officer who was found not guilty of assaulting a prisoner. Following arguments by Gemma, the court found that Gemma’s client was acting in self-defence and believed he and his colleagues were about to be assaulted. The court decided his actions were therefore reasonable.
R v C 2019
A prosecution case against a care assistant accused of common assault was discontinued after repeated requests for disclosure. Gemma highlighted disclosure failings to the court concerning previous false allegations made by the complainant. She also drew attention to police failures to obtain evidence which supported her client’s case and undocumented meetings with the complainant.
R v W 2018
Gemma represented a professional driver charged with multiple counts of causing death and injury by dangerous driving after a collision. The trial judge commented the case represented the most serious crash in this country for more than 26 years and the case was almost unprecedented in terms of loss of life. The client was acquitted following trial and sentenced to lesser offences of causing death by careless driving and careless driving.
R v R 2018
Gemma represented a teacher who was acquitted before trial after being accused, along with three other members of staff, of ill-treating a child with special needs. Among other issues, Gemma had questioned the credibility of one of the witnesses and the prosecution subsequently offered no evidence
R v A 2017
Gemma took the case of a prison officer accused of misconduct in a public office following the death of a prisoner. It had been alleged that the client and his colleagues had used unreasonable force and failed to ensure the prisoner was seen by a medical professional. The allegations were strongly denied and the court heard expert evidence supporting the contention that the client’s actions were reasonable. Following the prosecution case the client was acquitted after submissions of “no case to answer”.
R v A 2017
Gemma represented a healthcare worker who allegedly assaulted a patient. Gemma located a number of witnesses who had been reluctant to give evidence and successfully applied for witness summonses. Their evidence proved critical to the healthcare worker’s acquittal at trial.
A number of cases against Gemma’s clients have collapsed after she highlighted serious disclosure failings by the prosecution. Some of those case involved allegations of rape and assault.
Criminal Litigation Accreditation
Criminal law client: “This is to say thank you for the rigorous but committed and caring professionalism that I was so privileged to have throughout from you and your company, the whole year that my case lasted.
“I am extremely grateful to Thompsons Solicitors for having taken the case and bring it to a just and fair ending. I am also grateful for the personal touch, the support and the courtesy to keep me fully briefed about every detail and progress of the case.”