As we all know recent changes and proposals for change by the Government to the Criminal Justice system have caused serious concerns. The new anti-terrorist laws, the abolition of the right to trial by jury amongst some of these changes and now, following the report by Lord Carter on the 'Procurement of Criminal Defence Services, market based Reform' these concerns will grow even more.
The report looks for ways to encourage early disposal of cases! It suggests just having one duty solicitor at the police station and the client, or person in custody, will have no choice in the matter. 'Like it or lump it' scenario. If the defendant insists on their own choice of solicitor, then they would have to pay privately for this service. This is a very dangerous practice.
From my experience my situation went terribly pear shaped because I had a local solicitor who had never previously dealt with a murder case before and was the duty solicitor. I was trusting at that time. After all I was innocent and 'had nothing to fear' because I even (foolishly) trusted the police! I would now, from experience, recommend anyone in such a position to appoint a solicitor from out of the area, not the duty solicitor who often can work far too closely with the police in question.
Terrible events do happen and rightly so individuals need to be caught and prosecuted. But, when someone is innocent then every precaution has to be taken and we cannot allow standards to drop or a right and proper defence to be offered.
Costing should not be in the equation when dealing with people's lives and their freedom. Too many aspects of our justice system are being eroded and I fear at a very great cost to future miscarriages of justice!