A Look in the Mirror

A couple of weeks ago a close friend rang me in a bit of a state. His 16-year-old daughter had been accused of a serious criminal offence in her workplace. He was, of course, seeking a recommendation of a local criminal firm to represent her at a police interview the next day. She was, equally obviously, extremely frightened at the prospect.

The police swiftly concluded that the complaint was groundless and that they would take no further action. This was a career threatening and life-changing situation, which was eased and resolved with the assistance of a skilled criminal legal aid practice. Happily, she was warmly welcomed back by her employers, however the experience has left this young woman very shocked.

I have been moved to pen this following the return of arguments, in the national press, regarding who is deserving of legal aid following the Charlie Gard case; Charlie’s parent being deserving, “criminals” not so.

There will be those who think it wrong that public money should go to my mate who has the wherewithal to pay for his daughters lawyer, even when found to be entirely innocent. Then there are those like me who regard the universality of legal aid as a cornerstone of a just society.

Criminal legal aid is not just there for “undeserving criminals” it exists to protect people like your friend’s wrongly accused teenage daughter.

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