Monday, May 15, 2006

This Weekend Was Murder

Most people think of solicitors as being 'Fat Cats' who earn lots of money for actually doing very little work. Us criminal solicitors are often at the bottom of the pile when it comes to earning money and we do not rank anywhere near our 'City' friends who deal in commercial property transactions, or large corporate mergers and acquisitions. Criminal solicitors usually work at legal aid rates so they will not turn away work that is shunted in their direction. More work means more money, and as legal aid rates are not great it is necessary to do as much work as possible.

This weekend was non-stop work for me, and it was murder.

My weekend started at 4.32 pm on Friday when I was informed that there was a Client who had been refused bail from the Police Station and was going to be in Court on Saturday morning. I was on my firm's Court for this Saturday and therefore was going to be in Court. So Saturday morning I made my way to Court to try to deal with my Client in custody. I arrived at Court early so that I could be in and out of Court as quickly as possible - this trick usually works on a Saturday. Unfortunately the CPS file was not ready when I was so I had to wait for a few hours. After my Client's case had been called on, with bail being refused, I managed to see my Client again and leave Court about 1.00 pm.

On this same Saturday at 6.00 am I had started my 24 hour Duty Solicitor Police Station slot to deal with anyone arrested in my local area who wanted legal representation at the Police Station but did not have a specific firm to represent them already. I had been receiving calls whilst I was at Court about a person in custody. I left Court and drove immediately to deal with this person at the Police Station.

Part of my weekend plans also included dealing with another Client bailed to appear at a local Police Station mid afternoon on Saturday. In fact the time for the bail appointment was 3.00 pm which was kick off time for the FA Cup Final. I was fortunate enough that this appointment was cancelled and I was able to see the whole of the Cup Final.

In the late afternoon I then received a call from the Duty Solicitor Call Centre, a person spoke to me with a very broad accent which I could not understand. I managed to get the Client's name spelt to me and I was told where they were being detained, but at the time I could not work out what they had been arrested for. I telephoned the Police Station and was told that the Client had been detained for murder. During the same telephone conversation I was also given details of three other people in custody who had asked for the Duty Solicitor.

I went straight down to the Police Station to deal with the new murder Client and whilst I had various conversations with the investigating Officers, various consultations with my Client, and an interview, my phone kept ringing with my people wanting to be represented by the Duty Solicitor. By the end of Saturday night I had five Clients in custody at one Police Station, and another two in another local Police Station. Thankfully all of the Clients were to be interviewed the next day.

My firm has a 'Police Station Rota' so that over weekdays and weekends a person from my firm will deal with Police Station attendances out of office hours for a particular day. On Sunday I was due to hand over all of my Police Station Clients who were still in custody to a colleague on Sunday morning. As my murder Client was still in custody and I had dealt with their first round of interviews it was completely inappropriate for me to hand over the murder case to my colleague - I therefore had to work on the Sunday as well.

On Sunday morning I woke up and make about 10 phone calls. I spoke to my colleague who was on the firm's Police Station rota and they took the details of four Clients in one Police Station, I then managed to get another colleague to look after the two other Clients at another local Police Station. I then set off to complete my work with the murder Client. I spent most of Sunday at the Police Station and just after 5.30 pm I arrived at the barbecue that I had planned at being some weeks ago.

Sunday evening was spent sorting out the paperwork for the various people that I represented over the weekend, and spent preparing for a trial that I have on Monday. I now feel like I need a day off in the week to recover. As the title of this post suggests this weekend was murder.

5 comments:

Barefootgirl said...

Hi Gavin, I stumbled across your blog following a link from The Policeman's Blog(and to that via Bystander's The Magistrate's Blog). its very interesting to see things from your perspective - and the frustration at both "the system" and some of your clients !! I look forward to reading more.

Lennie Briscoe said...

What about the lawyers and law firms who represented the northern coal miners recently. I seem to remember there is a major investigation into why the average payout was something like £100 per miner whilst the law firms were taking in most of the money in fees..

Gavin said...

Barefootgirl,

Thank you for you comments.

Gavin said...

Lennie,

Did you mean to post this here? Your comment seems to be a little out of context for the above post.

If you want my view it is a shambles and the criminal investigation is well deserved.

motoring solicitors said...

The courts have to give longer jail sentences.