Monday, October 03, 2005

What A Cheek

There was an interesting article in the Guardian today, "Goldsmith attacks defence 'fishing expeditions'". Lord Goldsmith has accused defence lawyers of running up thousands of pounds worth of legal aid bills by looking for disclosure. He has also suggested that cases have had to be abandoned due to defence request for disclosure? Is this man insane? Does he not realise that defence lawyers are supposed to act in the bests interests of their Clients and from time to time that means pursuing a line of disclosure with the Prosecution until it has either proved successful or unsuccessful?

Here are some of the comments from the report: "He will call for a crackdown on disclosure in a speech tomorrow to prosecutors, who he admits are not blameless themselves. Prosecutors sometimes "hand over the keys to the warehouse", rather than go through the documents and provide only those relevant to the defence."

May be he should be more careful who he instructs to act for the prosecution then rather than blame a shoddy prosecution performance on a defence lawyer?

Here is another comment from the report: "Lord Goldsmith said in some cases prosecutions were derailed when the defence demanded disclosure of documents which were in the hands of a third party. Prosecutors might not know whether the material was relevant or not. He cited the Prudential fraud case, which collapsed last April after running up £10m in legal aid costs without reaching trial. The judge ruled that the defendants could not receive a fair trial because the prosecution had persistently failed to disclose documents to the defence and had neglected to take action to prevent the Prudential from destroying large numbers of its documents."

I see Lord Goldsmith, you would prefer it if us defence lawyers did not test the evidence, that we perhaps simply accept that a persistent failure to disclose documents is a fair part of the justice system?

Another comment: "In another move which could produce legal aid savings, he said ministers hoped to have a provision allowing the most complex fraud cases to be tried without a jury in place by January." I have an even better money saving scheme that would impress Lord Goldsmith, don't allow defence lawyers to represent the Defendants!

Sometimes the comments that people make drive me insane! Surely Lord Goldsmith can see that he is talking rubbish and the failures in the system that have been opened up by defence lawyers just goes to show that he needs to get his own house in order?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear you seem to have predicted his next scheme. Yes that's it, do away with the defence! It's obvious really, if they weren't guilty then they wouldn't be being prosecuted now would they?

So any defence is not only an injustice, but is also expensive and time consuming, yes by doing away with the defence totally much money and time will be saved.

In fact denying a crime is a crime in itself; as the CPS in effect represents the state, which is untimately the Dear Leader; any person denying a criminal charge brought by the CPS is saying the Dear Leader is wrong. They deserve prison.

Gavin said...

Sarcasm?

Anonymous said...

A solicitor,funded by legal aid, can ask hundreds of questions seeking to find 'hidden assets'. The beauty of this, from the solicitor's point of view, is that the defendant can never prove that he hasn't got 'hidden assets'.