Every person suspected of a crime and brought to a police station for questioning is entitled to ‘free and independent legal advice’ and they are entitled to this at any time whilst they are in custody.
In layman’s terms what happens is this, the police will call a solicitor who will attend at the police station. The solicitor will then receive details from the police as to why their client has been arrested and what evidence there is.
Armed with this information the solicitor will ‘take instructions’ from their client. The consultation between the solicitor or legal representative and the client will be in private. The content of the discussions are protected by a non-entity which is pretentiously called ‘Legal Privilege’.
What was intended when ‘Legal Privilege’ was designed was to prevent the police eavesdropping on the discussions between client and legal representative thus giving the police an unfair advantage in any subsequent interviews and investigation.
What has happened in reality is that it has given the advantage fairly and squarely to the suspect and some unscrupulous solicitors.
What do I mean? Well any of you who believe that there is not the odd solicitor or legal representative out there who would be prepared to concoct stories and alibis for their clients are living in ‘cloud cuckoo land’.
In principle, when a client admits that he is guilty of the offence to the legal representative, the solicitor is really left with two options in relation to the advice he/she gives. One is to advise the Client admit the offence to the Police or, two to advise to go ‘No Comment’.
Unfortunately, because of Legal Privilege some of these solicitors and representatives, who are as dishonest as the criminals they serve, are protected. They know that their conversation is not being monitored and will never be listened to by anyone outside that room.
So why not help the ‘Crim’ out a bit and get a better reputation thereby getting more clients and more money?
How (I hear you cry), do we know that this goes on if the conversations are confidential? Well here’s the second wake up call to all the more unscrupulous Legal Eagles out there. Criminals talk to the police! Oh yes! When you are not there they will talk and talk and talk to the police. Why? Because, unlike the solicitor, the police are in a position to do things for them.
The criminal will even tell the police what the solicitor has told them to say or not to say. Only a few short months ago I know of a prisoner on a production to a police station telling the officers taking him back to the prison of how his solicitor had told him what to say during his interview. He had in effect been told to lie.
The prisoner did as his solicitor told him and went back to prison not charged with an offence, which he may well have been charged with if the solicitor had not made a ‘story’ up for him.
Another victim goes without justice thanks to the ‘Legal Liar’.
Incidentally that particular solicitor has been told that the police know of her criminal act (yes criminal), although the Police did not report her to the Law Society as perhaps they should have.
What about this for another example? An individual recently in custody for murder, having been in custody for some time, said to the Custody Sergeant that he wanted to admit to the Killing. His solicitor was called who reluctantly attended. Having consulted with his Solicitor the previously adamant suspect then retracted that he wanted to admit to the killing and stated that he had only said it because he was ‘tired’.
You can draw your own conclusions as to the influence the solicitor had on the suspect’s change of heart!
It’s actually quite easy to put an end to this corruption of justice. The client – solicitor briefing should be in private but video recorded. The tapes should be sealed and sent to the Law Society who could then ‘dip sample’ them. It would stop dodgy briefing over night and Justice would once again have the upper hand.