Discover and read the best of Twitter Threads about #thelawisbroken

Most recents (20)

Example of the cross over between broken criminal justice system and broken healthcare system: defendant clearly mentally unwell. Caught on camera assaulting a police officer whilst unwell. Remanded in custody and case committed to Crown Court as cannot effectively take part in
Mode of trial procedure. Put straight into healrhcare wing of prison. Long delays for prison visits over the summer. Several weeks pass by until a video link becomes available. Client too unwell to understand why he's in prison or our role as legal reps. Walks out of visit.
Several weeks pass with prison refusing to tell us any info re his mental health background without authority. Catch 22 situation. Listed for PTPH. August - Prison indicates assessed, accepted for a bed in hospital. 2 months later. Still in prison healthcare as there has been
Read 6 tweets
1/ So what we predicted is finally happening. One east London Crown Court appears to have lost all control of timely listing of cases. Just received the final listing for drugs matters. This is the 5th time it has been listed since early March for PTPH with defendants excused
2/ we have called & written to the court dozens of times asking for defendants to be produced or appear via video for guilty plea arraignment, & to fix the mistakes in the way the cases have been uploaded to the DCS which is making a complex case even more unnecessarily complex
3/ I have 3 out of 4 in custody calling me constantly asking what is happening, why they are not being taken to court and why they are not being sentenced. I'm running out of things to tell them. My firm is busting a gut using precious resources to try and sort this out. Yet I'm
Read 9 tweets
I want to tell you about a criminal case I’ve been contacted about.

It’s not pleasant, but in light of @BorisJohnson’s comments yesterday, I think it’s important.

It’s not one of my cases, but it’s v similar to many I prosecute. It involves serious allegations of rape. [THREAD]
In early 2017, Annie, made a report of serious sexual offences to the police.

Two years later, in 2019, the case reached the Crown Court.

Why the delay?

Because @BorisJohnson’s party cut funding to the police and CPS, causing a logjam in police investigations.
This is sadly commonplace. In fact, this case is one of the lucky ones. Many cases I deal with - especially involving sexual allegations - go back to pre-2017, because the police simply don’t have the resources to progress investigations any quicker.

But anyway, back to 2019.
Read 19 tweets
Visits to mags' courts today. Just arrived at Stratford to be told that tho court is technically open there is no public access. Asked to see the security guard's manager & was told the same story. No access. They said they only had one court running & there was no list available
Having travelled across London to Stratford mags not best pleased. Mags court lists not available to public & no digital public gallery so no alternative to turning up #openjustice #onlinecourts
New court. Admitted no problem. 1st case. Interpreter in police custody with defendant. Interpreter not fully in view...seems to be having to lean over def. Prosecutor has no access to online files. DA case trial set for 30th June (!). Bailed on charge of assault.
Read 21 tweets
This “crackdown on soft justice” will affect a tiny % of offenders, *not* all, or even most, violent offenders.

Meanwhile, a new report published today by @westerncircuit shows that victims are having to wait TWO YEARS for trials.

I’ve tweeted about the new sentencing policy before, below. It doesn’t apply to the most dangerous offenders at all (#FakeLaw alert), has no evidence base behind it and will cost £100m.

But let’s look for now at the claim that it “puts victims first”.
Today’s report from the @westerncircuit shows that due to police cuts, changes to bail rules and @MoJGovUK cuts to court sitting days (the number of days courtrooms are allowed to open), the average time taken for cases to conclude has rocketed over the last 10 years:
Read 8 tweets
Broadcasting any part of Crown Court proceedings is a big step. Many have voiced reservations. As ever am interested in evidence & haven't seen any theory of change from @MoJGovUK as to how the positive effect will work. But we do have some evidence of potential negative effect
Last year Sarah Moore of @UniofBath & colleagues published Seeing Justice Done, a paper on filming criminal court proceedings. They started from the (sensible) premise that the way something is filmed makes a difference to people's understanding & views of it.
There were 2 main styles -one where there were fixed cameras which stayed fixed on a figure (judge/lawyer) while they were speaking. We use this in Supreme Ct & Court of Appeal. The other style was used in Breivik trial where cameras cut away, zoomed, panned, moved in courtroom.
Read 14 tweets
This is the scandal caused by RUI (Release Under Investigation):

1. The govt tightened the use of police bail to score cheap headlines

2. Thousands of suspected violent & sex offenders RUI’d with no conditions

3. Underresourced police take years to investigate alleged offences
4. Underresourced Crown Prosecution Service take months to make a charging decision

5. Defendants summonsed to court for a first appearance 6 months later

6. Trial listed in the Crown Court a year later due to lack of open courtrooms

7. Trial inevitably adjourned because of 6.
8. Three years down the line, witnesses lose heart and the case ends up being dropped on the fourth trial listing. No justice for anyone.

Read 3 tweets
🎵 One for the money and the free rides
It's two for the lies that you denied
All rise
All rise🎵

I’ve been remiss in not addressing this before. But Blue’s “All Rise” is, legally speaking, a shambles, and the judge has completely lost control of his courtroom. [THREAD]
🎵 Yo, yo
Yo, yo🎵

Let’s start with the basics. This is absolutely *not* the way you address a court, whether lawyer, witness or defendant. You refer to a judge as “Your Honour”, or, in the glorious case of one defendant I once prosecuted, “Your Majesty”.

Strike one, Blue.
🎵 Your honour, please, gotta believe what I say
What I will tell happened just the other day🎵

This is better. Correct mode of address, and a stated intent to tell the truth (albeit not in the form of a standard oath or affirmation). But a promising start nonetheless.
Read 24 tweets
First time I have had to calculate whether I can actually accept instructions.

Trial next week, a gang stealing ATMs by ripping out of walls and placing on to flat-bed trucks.

Serious work you might think? Worthy of senior counsel, albeit not silk.

Charged as conspiracy to burgle. Scheme 10 AGFS

Around 8500 pages of evidence

Brief fee £550 (to include first day of trial)
Refresher £300/day
Daily travel to court out of town, which won’t be paid, back £65.

Interestingly, this is the same charge as Hatton Garden burglary. £250 to prep a trial of this nature? What sort of insanity is this?

And yet I’m considering it. Work is work and when all cases are poorly paid, why not take serious work. The alternative is £0 and no work.

Read 5 tweets
(Thread) My last day at the Bar today is incredibly bittersweet. For all the many truly awful aspects of this job, it remains one of the best professions I can think of. I will miss many things when I move abroad, but these are a few thoughts, from my brief time in practice...
The camaraderie of colleagues at the Criminal Bar and sols: walking into an advocates or robing room and knowing the people within that room will listen and will help you, often will also add humour to your day, share their own tales of woe...
The friendships forged through being put back until 5pm at Leicester CC for no reason, sharing chocolate in solidarity when a mad DJ remanded everyone bc IT was down and nobody could get papers, or meeting on the stairs during pupillage to compare levels of tiredness...
Read 8 tweets
In the last fortnight I have been involved in 5 cases in the mags in which the Crown was left no option but to offer no evidence following significant disclosure failings. I have been angry. My conclusion in a brief thread: /1
It’s enfuriating for all involved and results in deeply unfair outcomes for defendants, victims and the tax payer. Months (if not years of preparation) and waiting; angst; resultant illness; loss of jobs; days off work; travel expenses. Wasted. Justice is not seen to be done. /2
The common theme in these cases? The police don’t have the resources or training to fulfil their obligations. The CPS don’t have the resources to properly check or chase disclosure. Defence solicitors chase, but are under similar financial pressures. /3
Read 6 tweets
Today I have learned that Stories of The Law and How It’s Broken was the second highest-selling autobiography in 2018, behind Michelle Obama.

This isn’t a humblebrag. It’s a full-on arrogant boast, with a huge side of gratitude to all of you who made it happen.

And it was Number 27 in all of non-fiction, apparently. Not too shabby, folks. The message is spreading.

My excuse for telling you all this is that after I’ve told my other half, there’s literally no-one I can boast to. So this is why you all suffer.
Read 3 tweets
Following on from yesterday’s rubbish (see thread), the Mail continues its dishonest trashing of the justice system with more cod statistics about criminal sentencing.…
620,000 criminals with at least 10 previous convictions were given non-custodial sentences. That’s the headline. Here’s what the Mail doesn’t tell you:
Firstly, this number is over a 5-year period. That little nugget is buried away from the headline.
Read 17 tweets
It's a criminal offence to falsifying a legal instrument. But if the #MetPolice / #LBRUT do it, then there is not even an investigation. 12 years of silence. Evidence to prove it -

#skynews #lbc #theresamay #uk #bbcnews #coverup #c4news #worldnews #ukgov
Welcome to the #Metpolice who also changed & falsified my arrest details. Have a look at the evidence here as it's all easy to prove & that's why it's never addressed

#R4today #corruption #coverup #leadership #values #corevalues #bbcnews #skynews #itvnews
Read 97 tweets
1. Today’s report by the Justice Committee into disclosure failings in the criminal justice system is absolutely damning. To save you reading in full (although you should), here are the highlights. [THREAD]
2. As for what disclosure is and its importance, see my thread here from last year:
3. In short, disclosure is one of the most important parts of the criminal process. The state providing the accused with material which may reasonably undermine the prosecution case or assist the defence case. It is central to avoiding miscarriages of justice.
Read 16 tweets
this thread is simply of verbatim quotes from damning report on the £1.2 billion digital court reform programme (justice by skype, swipe right to plead guilty etc) from @CommonsPAC…
We have little confidence HMCTS can successfully deliver this hugely ambitious programme to bring court system into the modern age. While other countries have attempted elements of what HMCTS is doing, no other country has attempted to change its whole system at this scale/pace.
HMCTS has failed to articulate clearly what the transformed justice system would look like, limiting stakeholders’ ability to plan for & influence changes. HMCTS unable to explain what transformed justice system wld look like & how would measure if changes delivered successfully
Read 11 tweets
Just the Legal Aid Agency casually insisting that a child is capable of running his own defence in a criminal court, cross-examining police officers and dealing with any arguments of law that might arise.

Legal aid therefore refused. Nothing to see here.

So to recap: a child will be forced to defend themselves at a contested criminal trial - examining witnesses, analysing the applicable law, arguing legal applications and making speeches.
The child will be up against a fully legally qualified prosecution solicitor or barrister. All decisions at trial, including any legal arguments, will be decided by a bench of three non-legally qualified magistrates.
Read 5 tweets
I'm going to tell you a (true) story about the Criminal Justice System.

In May 2016, 2 young men went out with their friends for a night out. They had a pleasant evening, a few drinks (not too many) and were on their way home when they came across a man who had had too many.
There was a fight, and the other man suffered a serious head injury. Thankfully he survived but could not recall the incident / how he had been injured.

An investigation started: both young men were interviewed and said that they had been attacked and were defending themsleves.
This is not, sadly, an unusual scenario for the CJS to have to deal with.

Neither of the young men had been in any trouble before and neither had a lawyer during the investigation. They didn't think they would need one.
Read 20 tweets
Exclusive: leaked report from the MoJ reveals explosive testimony from judges who have seen a rise in people facing criminal charges without a lawyer… #TheLawIsBroken #LegalAid
I have been trying to get hold of this report since April last year. Last week I wrote about a 6 page summary which was released to me under FOI.…
It had no quotes from the judges and I was convinced it wasn't the full report. I told the MoJ press office as much but they insisted it was repeatedly.
Read 10 tweets
Shall we count the ways in which this story by The Mirror is terrible? Yes, let’s. [THREAD]
2. For a start, Worboys was not “given legal aid”. He received not a penny in his hand. The legal aid payment would have been made directly to his solicitors, barristers and any expert witnesses.
3. That headline legal aid figure of £166k includes VAT. The government requires lawyers to charge VAT, which is then paid by us back to the treasury. So you can knock a chunk off that figure.
Read 11 tweets

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