Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Nice Place To Work

My office is based in a run down part of London. Over the past 12 months I have dealt with a number of cases where the Client was caught supplying class A drugs to undercover Police Officers in the immediate area where my office is based. One of the Clients was using my office doorway as his place of business. I guess if I am defending Clients accused of crimes then one way to pick up new Clients is to be based in an area where crime is rife.

Along the parade of shops where I work there are 'gangs' of beggars. Most are honest enough to say that they have just come out of prison and need some money for food. The problem is that most of them have not 'just' come out of prison that very day, and most of the money collected is undoubtedly going to be spent on crack and heroin otherwise they would not looked so 'spaced out'.

As I waited at the bus stop today I saw a number of drug deals going on. I am not talking about large men in Italian suits driving large four wheel drive vehicles trading briefcases of high purity cocaine for large sums of money. No, I watched regular exchanges of cash for drugs in what must have been £10 or £20 deals. What I do not understand about this scenario is if I can see the drug deal going on in front of me surely everyone else can too including the Police? Are the dealers so foolish that they think they will never be caught?


Anonymous said...

Police are more likely to be in cars these days then on foot, meaning they spend less time making their presence felt. Even with the hords of new officers in the parade rooms, many make an arrest and are stuck behind a desk for the whole day filling in paperwork.

When you often see crime infront of you, do you ever feel like you are fighting a loosing battle?

Gavin said...

My job is to defend people who disagree with why they are being prosecuted. In a way I am part of the machinery that prevents the Police from hoovering up all suspects because some of the investigations or evidence are/is simply not good enough.

Most criminals get caught because they are foolish or arrogant, and the drug dealers near to my office are going to get arrested at some point.

Anonymous said...

In fact you could perhaps do a week or so of poster/leaflet advertising aimed at drug dealers, then ring up the police and complain about all the drug dealers in the locality.

The police arrest the drug dealers, who in turn (thanks to your advertrising) ask you to represent them. A result all round.

Gavin said...

There might be an issue about a conflict of interest.

Good thinking though.

Anonymous said...

The drug purchasers are buying drugs openly because they are drugged, desperate or dopey - or all three. The drug sellers are selling drugs openly because they need to attract the customers, and the rewards are great enough for them to behave imprudently. Also, they're probably in the same position as their clients - if they weren't turning over so much money they couldn't afford their own drug habit.

gunroom said...

"My office is based in a run down part of London"

That doesn't narrow the field down much!

gunroom said...

"Are the dealers so foolish that they think they will never be caught?"

They treat arrest as an occupational hazard

staghounds said...

In order to win a conviction, the police would have to observe the handover, catch both parties, and be able to identify the objects exchanged- money and drugs- beyond a reasonable doubt. This requires at least 3 police officers- a watcher and 2 catchers- and the setting up of a place to observe with binoculars without being seen.

Even with all this, your counterparts defending might still be able to confuse a jury or get it to nullify.

And what would happen to the dealer, assuming a conviction?

Gavin said...

Case law says 2 year sentence of imprisonment for dealers selling class A drugs to undercover police officers in order to maintain their own druug habit.

So if they get two years, they will be out after 12 months, and back on the street.

Anonymous said...

“What I do not understand about this scenario is if I can see the drug deal going on in front of me surely everyone else can too including the Police?”

Yes, it is strange isn't it?
Thirty plus years ago pornography was illegal but readily available in London and other big cities. In every Soho street there were little shops having illuminated signs that said 'Books, Magazines' Inside was a table with various innocuous girlie magazines and behind that a hatch with a very un-bookish man looking out. 'Have you ..er.. anything stronger?' the customer would ask. 'Yeah, come in' and the door would open to reveal another part of the shop where hard core pornography was available (not one jot worse that what is on offer in any sex site today) It did occur to me to wonder why I, a callow young man, could spot these shops a mile off but the police had such difficulty in locating them. The police always said insufficient manpower, very difficult to get good evidence, too much paperwork etc.
A few years later and it turned out that the head of the vice squad and most of the senior officers in the Met (almost?) up to the very top were working hand in glove with the pornographers and were receiving large kick-backs, lavish holidays and so on.
Yes, it really is odd that the police don't seem to be able to do anything about these drug dealers today

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