Four Rotherham child grooming suspects representing themselves in court due to legal aid strike

Four Rotherham child grooming suspects representing themselves in court due to legal aid strike

Four defendants accused of being part of a Rotherham child sexual exploitation network have been left without lawyers as a result of the ongoing legal aid strike.

The ongoing dispute between solicitors and the Ministry of Justice over cuts in fees has seen defendants accused of serious crimes across South Yorkshire having to represent themselves in court.

http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/local/four-rotherham-child-grooming-suspects-representing-themselves-in-court-due-to-legal-aid-strike-1-7360050

11 thoughts on “Four Rotherham child grooming suspects representing themselves in court due to legal aid strike

  1. I have a nasty feeling about this. If they’re found guilty and it goes to appeal, could it be ‘The defendants were left without proper legal representation, therefore the verdict is unsound?’

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      • But would they take a chance, somehow I think a solution will be found, after all these lawyers are not going to pass up easy money, not as though they have any morals themselves. Remember latest figures suggest there may be 300 of these slimeballs. Think of how many houses that could buy?

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    • @Byeck
      ‘The defendants were left without proper legal representation, therefore the verdict is unsound?’
      Hardly.
      The full trial is in December and you can be sure Solicitors who are part funded by Legal Aid will not still be on strike by then.
      If push comes to shove the trial of the four defendants will be postponed until such time they have proper legal representation.
      This story is a headline designed to sell newspapers.

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      • Mr Tawn, there’s an old lawyers adage…’A man who represents himself, has a fool for a client.’ These people have appeared at Rotherham Magistrates Court and Sheffield Crown Court without legal representation, additionally, It’s also possible that they have been interviewed under caution, without a solicitor present.
        Under these circumstances, a half-way competent barrister could build a case for appeal or even aquiittal and that is what concerns me.

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  2. ‘Judge Julian Goose said he hoped solicitors will be in a position to represent the four people ‘as soon as possible’, with a potential trial set for December and defendants needing to have defence case statements prepared in time for their next hearing in September.
    He said that if the strike continues, further action may need to be taken by the courts to ensure they can receive a fair trial.
    thestar.co.uk/news/local/four-rotherham-child-grooming-suspects-representing-themselves-in-court-due-to-legal-aid-strike-1-7360050

    You may have concerns but there is-AFAIK-no precedent for defendants in Britain being convicted without legal representation.
    “Judges quash decision to throw out £4.5m trial after defendants said they would not get fair trial due to legal aid cuts
    The judgment prevents the immediate collapse of the case against five men, but it leaves the Ministry of Justice scrambling to recruit experienced defence lawyers to ensure defendants in this and other complex fraud cases will be adequately represented.
    .the guardian.com/law/2014/may/21/fraud-trial-legal-aid-ruling-overturned-appeal-court

    Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides that:
    ………………Article 6 imposes two different types of obligations on the state:
    a negative obligation- not to punish anyone without a fair trial.
    a positive obligation- to establish a court system which upholds this right – for example, by providing interpreters or legal aid in criminal proceedings.
    .equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/documents/humanrights/hrr_article_6.pdf

    I agree the defendants in this particular case are, at the present time in legal limbo but the trial will not commence until and unless the four people named are legally represented.
    It will not happen.

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    • Mr Tawn, leaving aside the fact that defendants can opt – usually unwisely – to represent themselves, thus contradicting your ‘no precedent,’ point, let us suppose these same defendants have already said something, without legal representation, that they would not have said had legal advice been available.
      If this is the case, when and if, lawyers do get involved, would you not agree, the defence will have considerably more wriggle room than they usually enjoy?

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  3. The way I read it and ” it, these defendants have only been without a “mouthpiece” for this one Court hearing. Don’t think for one minute they have been interviewed without legal advisers being present. The police know that if they did, the case is lost before it starts and all this overseen by the CPS!

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  4. Are these the same who were involved in this bit of physical and racial abuse towards the camera man from the Rotherham Advertiser:

    Police probe attack on Advertiser photographer

    Published date: 09 July 2015 | Published by: Admin

    POLICE are investigating after an Advertiser photographer was attacked while covering this week’s Magistrates’ Court hearing into child sex abuse allegations.

    Steve Mettam was left with an injured shoulder after a man accompanying one of the suspects pushed him into fencing.

    Another man also racially abused Steve, calling him a “f***ing white d***head”.

    No-one has yet been arrested but editor Andrew Mosley confirmed the incident had been reported to the police.

    He said: “Our staff are entitled to do their jobs while being treated with respect and without fear of being assaulted.”

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