Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry this morning became the latest media casualty of Labour’s attempts to justify their much-criticised attack adverts on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in particular the tweet claiming that Mr Sunak “[doesn’t] believe that adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison”. Appearing on Radio 4’s Today programme to be interviewed…Read more
How do we force cowardly murderers to face up to what they have done?
Something must be done about the problem of convicted criminals refusing to attend court for their sentencing hearings. So both main political parties are agreed. And so, according to polls, is the public. The issue has returned to the fore this week with the refusal of Thomas Cashman to attend his sentence following his conviction…Read more
The law’s broken. Here’s how to fix it.
As has been widely reported, in light of Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s refusal to implement the urgent recommendations of the government-commissioned Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid, criminal barristers have voted in record numbers in favour of an unprecedented indefinite walkout. Barristers defending in legally aided criminal cases will no longer be attending Crown Courts,…Read more
The Criminal Bar on strike – 9 things you need to know
Today, hundreds of criminal barristers across the country will not be going into court. Images of us dressed in our traditional absurd courtroom dress and standing outside the country’s most famous court buildings will be plastered across the papers and piped into the nation’s tellyboxes. There has already been – and no doubt will continue…Read more
Why are criminal barristers taking part in an “unnecessary and irresponsible strike”?
According to Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, today I, along with thousands of my fellow criminal barristers, am taking part in an “unnecessary and irresponsible strike” which will “cause delays for victims and the wider public”. This comes as something of a surprise to me. It’s an odd sort of “strike”, given that we will, today…Read more
Why on earth would the Metropolitan Police ask Sue Gray to redact key parts of her independent report?
This has been the question reverberating around Twitter all day. It’s the first question I asked myself when I saw the story, and was a question that appeared several hundred times in my mentions from people understandably confused by the Met’s curious statement, released this morning: “For the events the Met is investigating, we asked…Read more
Do the verdicts in the trial of the Colston 4 signal something wrong with our jury system? 10 things you should know
1. What happened in this case? On 7 June 2020, in the course of a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol, a monument of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and thrown into the harbourside. Consequently, four of those involved, Milo Ponsford, Sage Willoughby, Rhian Graham and Jake Skuse were charged with criminal damage….Read more
Harper’s Law: A grim tale of political exploitation and incoherent lawmaking
“You’d want to see him put to death! You’d want it to be cruel and unusual, which is why it’s probably a good idea that fathers of murder victims don’t have legal rights in these situations – now we’re going back to school!” Toby Ziegler, The West Wing, Season 4 Episode 6 Four weeks after their…Read more
Why I will not be working extended unpaid hours to dig the government out of its own mess
I have written for the Daily Mirror on the government’s plans to force criminal lawyers to work longer hours, for free, to tackle the backlog caused by chronic underfunding. The piece can be read here.Read more
Why did the Court of Appeal refuse to change the sentences of the killers of Pc Harper?
Following the Court of Appeal handing down judgment yesterday in the appeals against sentence by the killers of Pc Andrew Harper, and the Attorney General’s application to refer the sentences as unduly lenient, I posted the below thread, looking at what the judgment means.Read more