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To not understand how people can be lawyers?

(122 Posts)
danniboi Wed 25-Oct-17 14:43:57

DD was in court today, domestic violence. She had to leave as she was so upset.

How can lawyers do that to victims? Not being arsy, just don’t get it.

DunkMeInTomatoSoup Wed 25-Oct-17 14:47:59

(a) Every one is innocent until proven guity
(b) Everyone deserves fair and unbiased representation.

I've had clients where the case has totally flipped on its head and the DC victim has ended up in the dock sad because the perp has accused them of assault, and has the wounds to prove it. Is your DD ok ?

NoFuckingRoomOnMyBroom Wed 25-Oct-17 14:48:34

Without meaning to sound harsh, some people are wrongly accused of crimes & without lawyers would most likely serve time. Accusation doesn't always mean guilt.
Sorry for your daughter.

danniboi Wed 25-Oct-17 14:50:51

Yeah I realise it’s a bit close to home for me but watching that was awful. Shes only young and that lawyer really did push it. Thank goodness it ended in a good result but still... DD was absolutely beside herself. She’s okay now thank you x

confusedlittleone Wed 25-Oct-17 14:51:38

I can guarantee if your DD was accused of a crime you'd be jumping to make sure she had a decent lawyer....

danniboi Wed 25-Oct-17 14:53:02

No I do agree but seeing her injuries, but the lawyer still said what they said. Just makes me feel a bit sick.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Wed 25-Oct-17 14:53:57

Sorry for everything your daughter has been through OP, but PPs are absolutely right. The defendant's lawyer has a professional duty to act in his or client's best interests, which means fighting as hard as they can to achieve an acquittal.

Turning it around, if you or your daughter were being represented by a lawyer you would expect them to be entirely in your corner and doing everything they could on your behalf. You can't have that expectation, and then say that some lesser professional responsibility should apply in certain cases.

Ttbb Wed 25-Oct-17 14:54:11

Because they have a job to do. Without the legal system our country would collapse. Criminal law is particularly depressing (I couldn't do it tbh) but a lot of people who go into it go into it a bit blind and then find it impossible to switch to a different field of don't have the academic qualifications for nicer areas of law so do it out of desperation. Then there are some criminal barristers who really love their jobs and take great pride in ensuring that everyone (including those accused of crimes) get proper legal representation. If you think that it's acceptable for someone to be sent jail for dv without the alleged victim being asked some very upsetting questions then clearly there are a lot of things that you really don't understand.

MrsPinkCock Wed 25-Oct-17 14:55:10

Er - you do realise that your experience isn’t what every lawyer does, don’t you? hmm

I couldn’t be a criminal lawyer, mainly because I wouldn’t want to defend the indefensible. I also wouldn’t want to spend my life on call.

I do enjoy my job though, which is a mix of contentious and non contentious work. I enjoy going to court and I enjoy cross examination. Mostly because the opposition are the ones in the wrong and it’s tremendous fun to tie them in knots.

There are plenty of non contentious lawyers. Conveyancing being the prime example.

I wouldn’t enjoy berating victims in a criminal court though. However, someone has to do criminal defence work or the whole system would fall apart.

danniboi Wed 25-Oct-17 14:55:36

It wasn’t the questions. It was the accusation of some things, making out like she was a liar.

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 25-Oct-17 14:56:01

It has to be hard to send people to prison. Really hard. Because it's a very serious thing to do to someone; deprive them of their liberty. That means they have the right to a vigorous defense. Which is frequently hellish for victims.

There isn't a right answer unfortunately.

MrsJayy Wed 25-Oct-17 14:56:34

Everybody is entitled to some sort of defence I guess but people should not be pulled apart because of that entitlement, your poor brave daughter having to go through that flowers

PinkHeart5914 Wed 25-Oct-17 14:57:23

Becuase everyone has a right to representation.

Reality is some people do lie about some bloody awful things and the lawyers need to push everyone because of this. A liar is bound to slip up if under pressure.

Sorry for your dd 💐

x2boys Wed 25-Oct-17 14:57:38

My husband was accused and charged with assault what the main witness said happened was very different to what actually happened it was fortunately resolved on the first day of the trial with the Cps accepting their witness was in believable and inconsistent so no one was cross examined whilst understand it must be hard on your daughter it was horrific for 0my husband to have untrue allegations made about him.

blackteasplease Wed 25-Oct-17 14:59:54

Everyone is entitled to a defence. The lawyer will be acting on client's instructions. It is a million times better than the defendant being able to question the complainant himself - they are not allowed to do this even when they don't bother to get their own lawyer and the court appoints someone to do it.

Criminal lawyers are paid really badly (in most cases, i.e. where not privately paid) to work long hours at a difficult and stressful job. That's one reason to wonder why anyone would do it right there!

stevie69 Wed 25-Oct-17 15:01:49

It wasn’t the questions. It was the accusation of some things, making out like she was a liar.

So sorry, OP. The above is an unfortunate consequence of the legal system in this country, which is adversarial in nature. However we clearly need our talented lawyers—to provide support to both sides in legal proceedings.

Much love to your daughter.

Papafran Wed 25-Oct-17 15:02:18

Agree with others. You would absolutely be insisting on the best lawyer available if anyone you knew was accused of a crime. Including if there was compelling evidence. I am sorry your DD got upset and cross examination is intended to put the defendant's case to the witness, not to upset the witness. However, obviously the witness will get upset if the defendant's case is that she is lying.
A lawyer is a mouthpiece for her client. The lawyer presumably abhors domestic abuse but her job is to represent her client to the best of her ability and put her client's case to the court. It is a fundamental human right that everyone is entitled to and we have seen time and time again that miscarriages of justice happen, even in the age of advanced technology. In less developed and more barbaric cultures, people are often thrown in jail, tortured or even executed without anyone speaking up for them.

Additionally, lawyers owe an overriding duty to the court. If your DD's ex had admitted to his lawyer that he did it, she would have had to stop acting for him unless he pleaded guilty. Lawyers do not lie for a living, nor do they get off on humiliating victims or twisting the truth.

I am/was a lawyer (not practising now). I used to get annoyed about the lawyer-hate and the presumption that we were all rich fat-cats without morals. FWIW, criminal law pays the least of any area of law and the lawyer who cross-examined your DD will be earning peanuts, yet still feels a strong enough commitment to carry on doing what is most of the time a totally thankless job. You should be grateful for that.

CheshireSplat Wed 25-Oct-17 15:02:22

I agree OP, it can seem an awful experience. Colleagues occasionally attend court as witnesses for incidents at my place of work and they are given such a grilling, it can be really upsetting. And that's for something one step removed. Your DD will have to distance herself from the experience by remembering it's not personal, it's the system we have.

musicform Wed 25-Oct-17 15:03:12

Innocent until proven guilty - its a corner stone of our legal system. It is clearly hard for victims and their family, but it is vital that they have access to legal services and defence. If you disagree, there are plenty of countries with legal systems on their heads that you can look into to see what our legal system could be if we thought otherwise

dublinia Wed 25-Oct-17 15:03:22

OP I too often wondered the same thing.
Defending the indefensible at times.
Helping to get a guilty person off often on a technicality.
In court you might get law but you often don't get justice sad

musicform Wed 25-Oct-17 15:03:51

Its also not personal from the lawyer to your DD even though it may feel that way

ChelleDawg2020 Wed 25-Oct-17 15:04:30

A lawyer is there because everyone is entitled to defend a charge against them and "normal" people often lack the legal knowledge to defend themselves properly.

Most countries work on the basis of the accused being innocent until proven guilty. In a court case the accused is therefore presumed innocent until the verdict is reached. They are entitled to defend themselves, or to hire someone to do it on their behalf.

If we went to a system where everyone had to represent themselves in court it would lead to more miscarriages of justice. People who were genuinely victims of a crime would be forced to prosecute their attacker, for example, which would be more upsetting for many than to have a lawyer doing the leg work.

Those with a good education, especially a legal education, would be untouchable in court. No matter what crime they committed, if their victims were poorly educated the victims would always lose.

It sounds to me very much like the old idea of trial by combat actually, the strongest are innocent and the weak are guilty.

Amd724 Wed 25-Oct-17 15:05:00

First, I’m really sorry for what your DD has been through, first the domestic violence, and second going through trial. It’s really hard for DV victims to get up in court and testify, because of how they can be treated. I really commend her for that.

My uncle is a defense attorney in the States. He represents a lot of black/minority men being railroaded by a system that is more than happy to prosecute with very little evidence. I think he does excellent work, and the defense attorneys can keep rogue and aggressive prosecutors in check. They force the State to prove without a reasonable doubt that this person is guilty, with irrefutable evidence. If they weren’t there, I think a lot more people would be in prison today, without any recourse to help, and they’d be there for crimes they didn’t commit.

artisancraftbeer Wed 25-Oct-17 15:05:11

The barrister for the defendant has an obligation to the court (not to his client) to put his client's case across in full.

This means that if his client's story is that the victim is lying and has made the whole thing up, he needs to raise that in cross examination knowing it is probably a) entirely made up and b) unkind to the victim.

I'm another lawyer. I've never been a criminal lawyer and I don't deal directly with members of the public. I do it well and get an good salary for doing an interesting job.

TrickOrRuddyTreat Wed 25-Oct-17 15:07:22

Think about it this way OP - if that lawyer hadn't pushed as hard as he/she did then the person who assaulted your daughter might be able to appeal on the basis of having had an inadequate defence. Then your daughter would have to go through it all again if there was a retrial. This way, although it was awful the right result was reached and that part of things is over now.

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