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to think that being a criminal defence solicitor...

(173 Posts)

must be a really difficult job for your conscience? inspired by reading a solicitor's comments about his client being 'lonely' and knowing what prison is like and not wanting to go back there... his crime involved 'trawling the internet' for illegal images. I would imagine finding it emotionally hard to defend a person who was definitely guilty of something so awful.

FitzgeraldProtagonist Thu 06-Feb-14 00:02:52

Yawn. Then be grateful you haven't had to passionately devote yourself to it as a career for a decade and then be forced to leave because of funding cuts.

Suelford Thu 06-Feb-14 00:05:21

Does a doctor find it emotionally hard to treat a patient who is nasty enough that they don't deserve help? Maybe, but it seems well accepted in that scenario that you swallow your personal judgement and give them the best treatment available, same as anyone else. No different for lawyers in my opinion.

fitzgerald really no need for that. my post blatantly isn't intended to be offensive so bit puzzled as to why you've chosen to be.

(chosen to be offensive, not offended)

LifeIsForTheLiving Thu 06-Feb-14 00:11:10

Suelford that situation is completely different. People in the health profession such as Doctors will treat people because they're people. Their role is to heal and they put aside their personal feelings about them and still deliver treatment.

To defend a person who you know/suspect is guilty of a crime...in a bid to 'get them off' or reduce the severity of the punishment is a whole different morality issue.

winkywinkola Thu 06-Feb-14 00:12:12

Op, I'm sure it's hugely difficult.

SaucyJack Thu 06-Feb-14 00:12:33

I agree with you actually- especially if you've helped to keep a rapist or a paedophile loose on the streets. I quite often wonder how various solicitors can sleep at night after reading the news.

Being a doctor doesn't compare at all. Doctors only do good in the course of doing their job correctly.

windchimes Thu 06-Feb-14 00:14:05

for what's worth yes I think it must be really difficult for lawyers to defen people accused of horrendous crimes (rape/child abuse/murders)

But some people accused are innocent and they need someon good on their side to help

absolutely they do windchimes - I was talking more about cases where the defendant has confessed to a crime and is after a lesser sentence or the evidence against them is overwhelmingly solid.

Lilka Thu 06-Feb-14 00:17:24

This has come up so many times before, and I think most of the criminal lawyers on here are just fed up of these threads, and they don't especially enjoy being accused of having moral deficiencies, which someone always does (and no, I'm not saying you're doing that OP)

SaraHillsBook Thu 06-Feb-14 00:18:09

SIGH

A solicitor cannot defend somebody on a not guilty plea who is "definitely guilty"

Why does nobody understand this? confused

Monty27 Thu 06-Feb-14 00:19:15

All sorts of professions have to defend people who may not be morally correct.

absolutely they do windchimes - I was talking more about cases where the defendant has confessed to a crime and is after a lesser sentence or the evidence against them is overwhelmingly solid.

they do, monty?

Suelford Thu 06-Feb-14 00:26:08

Doctors will also help keep rapists/murderers etc on the streets by healing them, still not seeing the difference. Defence solicitors also only do good by doing their job correctly, i.e. making sure the state meets their burden of proof.

SaucyJack Thu 06-Feb-14 00:32:38

Doctors will also help keep rapists/murderers etc on the streets by healing them, still not seeing the difference.

The difference is that a doctor's job isn't in any way concerned with criminality or morality or justice in the way that a solicitor's job is- or should be.

Doctors make sick people better. Health and medicine is their concern- not the law.

Lilka Thu 06-Feb-14 00:38:04

The onus is on the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and if they don't manage it, then they don't manage it. That's the point of innocence until proven guilty, and right to a fair trial. Upholding the principles of the justice system is a very good thing, unless we want to go back to "he looks really shift and I think he did it, therefore he shouldn't have a defence or a trial, straight to the gallows with him!"

This thread has some great posts from criminal lawyers/barristers on it, saying that they sleep very well at night indeed thanks, worth a skim to find those posts - www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/1583562-To-ask-how-defending-Lawyers-Solicitors-sleep-at-night?

Suelford Thu 06-Feb-14 00:40:04

The difference is that a doctor's job isn't in any way concerned with criminality or morality or justice in the way that a solicitor's job is- or should be.

It is a judge's job to decide that stuff. It is not for individual defence solicitors to decide before the trial that their client is "definitely guilty" and then half-arse the defence. Apart from that, the law is very much their concern, which is why defence solicitors make sure the state follows it by making sure they prove their case before they lock up any individual.

Besides, it doesn't matter that a doctor's job is concerned with those things. The effects of their actions are that a rapist is put back on the streets, possibly to offend again.

steff13 Thu 06-Feb-14 00:42:32

The accused has a right to a fair trial. A defense attorney ensures that happens. There's nothing morally questionable about that.

mayorquimby Thu 06-Feb-14 00:42:47

Ah lilka beat me to it with the link.
Pretty full discussion of it in that thread.
No problem sleeping due to the moral deficiencies of my job here, my lack of sleep is due to netflix.

It's easy to sleep when you have no moral issues with your profession.

steff13 Thu 06-Feb-14 00:42:50

The accused has a right to a fair trial. A defense attorney ensures that happens. There's nothing morally questionable about that.

genuinely haven't seen this type of thread before and I do agree that if there is reasonable doubt, the defendant deserves a fair trial. However, I feel it must be a huge struggle for a lawyer to defend a person who they believe is guilty or to have to acknowledge that their client has committed a horrific crime but still try to spare them the harshest sentence.

just seen the comment on that thread about being able to bow out if you know your client is guilty. I didn't know that.

extremepie Thu 06-Feb-14 00:48:59

Actually I do see some similarities between doctors and lawyers - if a doctor had to treat someone with, say, a broken hand, and they knew that person had broken their hand beating someone to death they would not necessarily want to do it, they might feel better letting them suffer. But that is not their job, so they fix them up.

A defence lawyer might have reasonable belief their cilent is guilty and therefore believe they deserve to go to prison but it is their job to present the evidence and let the judge/jury decide.

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