A THIRD solicitor has been arrested following a murder trial on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The court case came after the murder of grandad Jock Straiton, who was kicked to death outside his Winnington home.
Chris Johnson, who lives at Sandiway, was arrested last Monday morning. He is the criminal law partner at mosshaselhurst, which has offices on Castle Street, Northwich, and Grange Lane, Winsford.
Cheshire police spokeswoman Shelley Williams said: “A 58-year-old from the Northwich area has been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.”
Mr Johnson, who has not been suspended, was released on bail until December 8.
He was not available for comment this week, but Gerry Rooney, senior partner at mosshaselhurst, issued a statement to the Chronicle on Friday afternoon.
It read: “Chris Johnson, a partner in this firm, was arrested on the morning of September 21. After interview he was released on bail that afternoon without charge.
“We acknowledge and accept that the police must do their duty and we will of course assist with their enquiries where possible.
“We have considered carefully the information given to Chris Johnson by the police, but we still do not understand from the information provided why he is suspected of any wrongdoing.
“As far as we are aware Chris Johnson has acted only in accordance with his professional obligations to his client, including an obligation to maintain strict client confidentiality.”
Earlier this month, we revealed convicted killer Joshua Spruce’s mum, sister and future brother-in-law had been arrested in connection with the Jock Straiton trial.
Sharon Spruce, her solicitor daughter Emma and Emma’s lawyer boyfriend Will Hurley – all mosshaselhurst staff – were released on bail until December pending further enquiries.
They have all been suspended from work while the police investigation continues – a move the law firm describes as an ‘entirely neutral step’.
At Chester Crown Court in April Spruce was found guilty of murdering Mr Straiton and jailed for a minimum of 15 years along with Nigel Goolding.
A third defendant – Paul Blower, of Chapel Street, Wincham – was acquitted.
Our sister paper, the Chester Chronicle, will continue to report developments in the case.