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UK Criminal Justice - endangered species?


Anthony
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A criminal justice system where the majority of people don't have enough money to defend themselves is not fit for purpose. The Ministry of Justice are looking to save money by changing access to Legal Aid.
 
Read this very short blogpost, then if you feel the suggested changes are against the principles of a fair and equitable justice system, please click the link to the petition at the bottom of the page. And sign it!
 
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Innocent until proven guilty – as we saw in Myth #2, not all defendants are scumbag criminals. Everyone deserves the right to a fair trial.

 

The general populace at large (and not just in Britain) are time and again guilty of forgetting this very sacred rule of law. Not to mention the media, in many if not most countries. Very appalling.

 

This is admirable work, Anthony.

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**** scary, isn't it? It's the kind of thing that invades your mind when you do the most benign, and (gasp) friendly things like saying hello to a child you don't know, or even smiling at a toddler. Sad day and age we live in.

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Excuse me for being slightly sceptical about these exhibits (I took a look through a few of them). In each case the people got defended and got their justice, and the lack of legal aid was not an issue.

 

Some specific incidents are difficult to believe, such as Exhibit C (the "paedophile") in which both prosecuting and defending barristers go to court without having seen the photographs. That seems to make them rather incompetant, if the stories are true.

 

Since all the stories are about closed cases, the judgements will now be a matter of public record, so why the need for this one sided view of events. Why not reference the actual cases?

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The key is SG, that our glorious government want to change things so that in the future you're unlikely to get legal aid.

 

And if you read carefully you'll see that the barrister defending tried again and again to get access to the pictures, but was ignored.

 

As to your last point, dunno! Maybe because there were details in the blog posts that weren't in the public domain? BTW - IANAL!

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Anthony, point 1 - good point. Dumb of me.

point 2. another good point

point 3. Hmm, it still makes me feel there's an agenda here.

 

A lot of people do seem to believe that the government are evil and are out to destroy the country. In reality, MPs are just people trying to do a job. Maybe not very well, but its an impossible job to get actually right, and no-one really knows how to do it. But essentially they do things because they think its for the overall common good, and not because they're out to get us.

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...But essentially they do things because they think its for the overall common good...

Really?

I suppose it could be some form of skewed utilitarianism that says that most people don't find themselves in the position of a defendant or a plaintiff so sod 'em.

Edited by snowychap
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Some specific incidents are difficult to believe, such as Exhibit C (the "paedophile") in which both prosecuting and defending barristers go to court without having seen the photographs. That seems to make them rather incompetant, if the stories are true.

 

But that does happen.  Photos and identity parades are used when identity is uncertain, surely?  The incompetence in this case (and that may be a harsh term for making assumptions) was thinking that the term "Daddy" meant the child's father.  People don't generally revisit and question what seems obvious.  Perhaps they should, but usually there just isn't the time in the day.  And the point of the original post, and the petition, is that in future there will be even less time to do the basics, never mind spend a bit more time cross-checking and asking what may seem to be daft questions with obvious answers.

 

What seems more odd to me is why the mother (whould more than anyone else would have understood that the term "daddy" in this context was ambiguous) didn't question it; and whether the natural father really had no knowledge that there was another "daddy" on the scene.  Both seem unlikely, the second more so.

 

But I don't think that detracts from the central point, which is that our access to justice is being reduced, and this is wholly and entirely a backwards step towards a more unfair and cruel society.  We should resist it with every means possible. 

 

It's not a meal ticket for pampered lawyers, it's our **** civil liberties.

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A lot of people do seem to believe that the government are evil and are out to destroy the country. In reality, MPs are just people trying to do a job. Maybe not very well, but its an impossible job to get actually right, and no-one really knows how to do it. But essentially they do things because they think its for the overall common good, and not because they're out to get us.

 

Their agenda is not about "the country".  Their allegiance is not to a geographical mound in the sea, but to a class grouping which is less tied to geography than at any time in the history of the earth.

 

The "common good" they pursue is similarly not defined geographically, but by class, kinship, and networks.

 

If you want a concrete example of this phenomenon, look at Peter Mandelson.  Grandson of a socialist who spent his life fighting for a better society, he became a grasping bag-carrier for the wealthy, using political power to enrich them and to a lesser extent himself.  From socialist to socialite in two generations.  There are many more like him, but perhaps none who have so spectacularly betrayed everything his family stood for.

 

His network rules, now.  The MPs do what they are told, shit on the poor to effect a massive transfer of social wealth to the rich, destroying generations of social capital in the process.

 

Yes, they are out to get us.

 

Yes, we must fight them.

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I'm not.

Is that because you're content with current arrangements, or because you think resistance is futile, or what?

 

What sort of political activity?

Getting people elected who are able and willing to present alternatives.

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Is that because you're content with current arrangements, or because you think resistance is futile, or what?

A mixture of things. I'm not up in arms about many things, true, and I suppose to an extent resistance is futile... but mostly because that resistance is using a system I find to be somewhat broken, hence my not engaging with it terribly often. I also, frankly, have more things to worry about further up my agenda.

 

Getting people elected who are able and willing to present alternatives.

As intimated above, I'm not sure how much a fight that actually is.

But fair enough, just curious.

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A very easy and effective way to fight is to sign the above mentioned petition. When I last looked it had 60000 signatures.

 

Also this morning barristers on the south east circuit voted unanimously to oppose these QASA assessment proposals.

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Access to Legal Aid is another issue where the government have tried to answer a problem but cocked up the execution of the resolution.

It is in most cases too easy to get legal aid. It is not necessary for divorce proceedings, mediation should be the expected route to resolve differences.

Access to justice will be largely unaffected, access to a lawyers will be... but this is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. I have seen far too many wholly inappropriate appeals and applications made by lawyers funded by the public purse with a vested interest in proceedings taking as long as possible.

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