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Multi-faceted approach to businesses’ legal concerns

TWO police officers turned lawyers have set up a firm to specialise in criminal prosecutions.

Mark Andrews and Associates partners Graham Pidco and Mark Andrews believe criminal prosecutions can be cheaper and more effective than normal civil actions for businesses that have been the victims of crime.

Both men have served in the WA Police Service, including some time with the major fraud squad.

Mr Pidco said an individual or a company could initiate a private criminal prosecution.

“It then gets much the same court treatment as a police prosecution except that it can be better resourced to get it through the system faster,” he said.

One of the firm’s cases involved acting for a group of people who had lost more than $1 million to a con man.

“We put a brief together, got all the evidence, took the statements and wrote the submission to the fraud squad. The fraud squad went out and got him and now he’s serving time,” Mr Andrews said.

“In that case, because our brief was solid, all the police had to do was go out and lock him up. But the clients could have opted to have us launch a private criminal prosecution.”

Besides its criminal pros-ecution work, the firm also is hoping to offer training to teachers, nurses, prison officers and transit police by early next year.

Commercial Crime Divis-ion detective superintendent Steve Roast said it was best to leave criminal prosecutions to the police, who were regarded as independent by the judiciary.

“But we see it as quite proper for a third party to gather evidence and pass it on to an independent investigator such as ourselves,” Det Supt Roast said.

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