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The Role of the Criminal Defence Lawyer Quotes used in past questions I dont think too many innocent

people are convicted by a lot of guilty people get off. - Mike Bungay How can you represent the dregs of society? - A question that Marie Dyhrberg, criminal lawyer, is often asked. Introduction: The role of the criminal defence lawyer is one of societys toughest requiring them to stand alone against society and disregard their own moral standards to defend a person who the public have, in their own minds, already convicted. Body: The symbol of law is a blindfolded woman with a sword in one hand and scales in the other. Law is adversarial. It would be fundamentally inconsistent with this symbol of the profession for the defence lawyer to choose who they represent: this itself justifies criminal lawyers representing what some say are the dregs of society. In all Criminal cases, the onus of proof is on the Crown. Defendants are innocent until proven guilty as a fundamental matter of law. Just because someone is accused of something does not make them guilty. This fact is confirmed by the role of the criminal lawyer in our legal system. It is the role of the fact finder, in cases of lesser importance a judge, of greater importance a jury to determine whether, based on the facts, the defendant is innocent or guilty. To determine such a fact is not within the role of the criminal defence lawyer. According to the rules of ethics of a criminal defence lawyer, the relationship between a lawyer and a client is one of trust and confidence (Rule 101) How can a client have trust and confidence in their lawyer if he or she is inclined to predetermine the defendants guilt or innocence through personal perception? If Counsel had to judge ones client before t aking on a case, it would be a very peculiar system of justice. - Peter Williams Counterbalance to state The role of the criminal lawyer is also as a counter-weight to the state/political security apparatus. Example: In 1975, there were 2 pub bombings in Ireland. The Birmingham Six and the Guileford Four were convicted for them. They were tortured and ultimately falsely confessed to the bombings. They were jailed for 16 years and 15 years respectively. Through the work of their criminal lawyers, the truth came to light, and they were released.

If not for the criminal lawyer, innocent people such as these would languish in prisons around the world. In this way, the criminal defence lawyer acts as a key counterweight to the state and its institutions. In NZ, we are fortunate to be free of police corruption as a daily occurrence. In many countries this is the reality. In a global sense, the criminal lawyer plays a fundamental role.

Uphold Rule of Law By holding the worst perpetrators liable in international courts, criminal defence lawyers play an important part in justifying and legitimizing the law, and just as importantly, the rule of law at the core of our legal system. By defending the dregs such as Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevich and others using the appropriate protocols, they demonstrate the rule of law by treating everyone equally in the eyes of the law, no matter what their crime. Criminal lawyers allow defendants the fundamental human rights which they as criminals had refused so many. This is a clear illustration of the blindfolded nature of law. Technical Defences People often complain about people getting off on technicalities, making criminal law an amoral practice. They blame criminal defence lawyers for this. However, this is far from justifiable. Firstly, such technicalities as an intrinsic part of the law and of equal importance to any other part of the law. Parliament, in its infinite wisdom, has included these technicalities in statutes, and Courts have recognized them as Common Law. Lawyers simply convey the message. Therefore if the public have a complaint about them, they should complain to Parliament. After all, law could be implemented tomorrow abolishing the use of technical defences. That is the fundamental nature of our legal system, and cannot be attributed to the criminal defence lawyer. It is the duty of the criminal lawyer to make arguments based on technicalities if they are available and a lawyer doesnt make them explicit, there is a risk that the trial could be set aside or a new trial ordered. At an extreme, the lawyer could be sued for negligence, as lawyers have to disclose all relevant authorities on a matter, regardless of whether or not they lend support to their case. Therefore the criminal lawyer has a duty to raise every possible defence, technical or otherwise. Identifying Dregs It also begs the question, how do we identify a dreg of society? Is it because of the clothes they wear, the way they talk? Simply because someone wears a suit doesnt necessarily make them a good person. To pre-judge someone based on a stereotype as a dreg of society and refuse

to represent them is contrary to the universality of human rights. Through a number of provisions, the NZBOR Act 1990 guarantees every person the right to a fair trial. For a criminal defence lawyer to refuse someone that right contradicts its universal basis, and is analogous to suggesting that this dreg is not a person as recognized by the NZBOR. Those that we identify as the dregs of society are only in such a position because of the hidden discrimination that pervades our society. Report in the UK in 2002 about Tony Blairs policy of stamping down on street crime. Found that on average, a black person in the UK was 5x more likely to be randomly stopped by Police. A famous black soccer player had been stopped 12 times in 6 months for driving an expensive car in Londons poorer suburbs. The societal inference here is clear that the Police decided that the car must have been stolen as the person driving it was not a white man wearing a suit. This was an e.g from the UK cases from Zimbabwe, Syria, Lebanon and the USA are undoubtedly worse. These problems of societal discrimination are widespread. Without the criminal defence lawyer, the police would be more likely without the important counterbalance provided by the lawyer that I have discussed.

Conclusion The role of the criminal defence lawyer is justifiable. The widespread derogatory views of criminal lawyers are founded in ignorance. At the end of the day, the criminal defence lawyer, armed with sword and scales, is the defender of the freedom and liberty of us all. Current examples that I would be using would be Weatherston, Bain talk about how he has now been acquitted, so was super important that he needed counsel, upholding justice etc etc and using Lundy will be smart too.

In the words of Mark Henaghan, the role of a defence lawyer is a noble job. Where is the rationale behind those that punish the likes of Judith Ablett-Kerr by drenching her car in acid and posting death threats to her home for simply doing just that, her job? By assessing the function of a defence attorney, the rules they follow and the necessity for them to step up and defend the so called dregs of society, it can be seen that although it is not possible for morality and justice to overlap, they can be moderated by our system of advocacy. How can one defend the dregs of the society? This begs the question then as to how we identify a dreg of society? The function of the criminal defence lawyer is to maintain the integrity of our adversarial system as without them the fundamental right, established by the Magna Carta in 1215, of innocence until proven guilty would be fast declining. The NZBOR Act 1990 affirms that every citizen, even those accused of murdering their entire family, have the right to a fair trial with proper representation in our court of law. To deny them this would contradict these rights, suggesting that this dreg is not a person as recognised in the NZBOR. Those that we identify as dregs are only in such a position because of the hidden discrimination that pervades our society and if not for the defence lawyer to challenges the prosecution in order to ensure the court reaches a just decision, how could one prove their innocence? Without the defence lawyer to counterbalance the social discrimination in our society and take upon their shoulders the challenge of defending the likes of David Bain, there would be no such thing as a fair trial. Undoubtedly, it is difficult when we hear of tragedies such as Sophie Elliots murder to accept that those responsible like Clayton Weatherston deserve any chance at justifying such a heinous crime. Outrage sparks a need for revenge and when the public hears that there is a possibility that for example provocation could excuse something seen as inexcusable; it is assumed that fancy lawyer talk is setting criminals free. However it should be reaffirmed that in fact the defence lawyer is regulated by a comprehensive Code of Ethics. A lawyer must not lie to or deceive the court, and act in a professional manner at all times. They must protect their client, but at the same time bring all relevant information before the court, even if it is to their clients disadvantage. These duties become most important when dealing with guilty clients. If a client has professed their guilt, justifiably the defence lawyer cannot attribute responsibility to another. However it is still up to the Prosecution to prove that their guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt. This shows the significance of the defence lawyer challenging the prosecution the jury cannot convict someone if there is any reasonable doubt. In a case where Marie Dyberg was defending a plainly guilty man it was said by a member of the jury putting someone in jail for life is a dammed hard thing to do. If those who challenge the defence lawyers role found themselves in the defendants position, they too would value all the arguments put forward on their behalf, especially considering that our law is not always black and white, innocence and guilt.

There is often public outrage that a defence based on technicalities could acquit a guilty person. When the Road Safety Act 1967 was used to argue that over 1500 drunk drivers be cleared there was great anxiety. This emotional response is quite understandable, particularly from those closely affected but if assessed rationally, given the duties owed to their client, the lawyer must put forward every plausible argument. It is this use of technical defence lawyers are most criticized for but without them, the court comes close to legislating not interpreting and this defies our well established common law system. Despite the view of our society that this defence is adverse to public interest and moving away from the purpose of the statute, our attorneys are in reality fulfilling a duty to this uninformed public by accurately applying and enforcing the law. While there is a misconception that justice is a measure of morality, a more accurate definition would be synonymous with fairness, impartiality and reasonableness. It is interesting that those who criticize defence lawyers do so on a basis of morality. It was said to Judith Ablett-Kerr by a Priest your participation in this appalling, abusive defence, accusing the victim of a part in Mr Weatherstons horrendous crime, fills me with disgust. Defending criminals is seen as immoral, defending them successfully unjust. However, Greg King so rightly pointed out that we have courts of law, not courts of justice. If not for the ability of defence lawyers to ignore the likes of the medias uneducated accusations and take a professional stance, the many innocent people charged of murder would, as King also stated, be in jail when they shouldnt be, and that would be a great moral injustice. The role of the defence lawyer is not just defensible but truly noble. They ensure the due process of our law is adhered to and uphold the fundamental rule that everyone must be treated equally and believed innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. They abide by a code of ethics which allows them to address the hazy areas of law and to protect their clients rights as people. While public perception may stand by certain actions being defenceless society would struggle to find a more just system. By considering the importance of having a defence, one must appreciate the not only justifiable but crucial role the criminal defence lawyer plays in our justice system.