Sunday, November 21, 2010


We shall have to get used to news like this, in which a promised reform or improvement has had to be shelved because of TJNML (There's Just No Money Left). The only consolation I can find in this is to thank my lucky stars I am not in Eire.

One quote in the article struck me as odd:-

It will also propose ending a defendant's right to change a not guilty plea once a trial has begun, in a move designed to encourage earlier guilty pleas thus saving the cost of trials.

How is that going to work then?
Jimmy "The Blagger" Murphy is on trial for a robbery, not for the first time in his life. He goes Not Guilty, as he always does, relying on his latter-day Rumpole's skills with a jury, and hoping that one or two key witnesses will develop amnesia on key bits of evidence, with or without 'encouragement' from his mates. The Crown opens its case. To Jimmy's chagrin, all of the witnesses appear to have turned up, and the forensics don't look too good either. Down in the cells, he has a chat with his brief. "I think I'm buggered" he says. Rumpole agrees. He asks to see the Judge in Chambers with the other counsel. "I am instructed to change Murphy's plea" he tells Hizonner.
"Oh no you don't" replies the one in the purple dressing gown, putting his teacup down firmly on the desk. "We have to go through to the bitter end". "But I will not cross-examine any Crown witnesses, nor challenge the forensics, and when my man gives evidence he will cough the lot to the jury. All that's left for me is to mitigate". "Quite" says the learned Judge. "Daft, isn't it? Shall we get on now?"

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