Today, in the Daily Telegraph, I noticed that Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, (who happens to be my MP), is concerned that the reductions in legal aid will lead to more people representing themselves in court. The cynic would of course say that, as the leader of the Bar, he is concerned that lawyers might not be getting so much work. But without proper representation in court there must be real concern that people could be wrongfully convicted of criminal offences, which does of course include motoring offences.
Only the other day did I notice that the government had decided that it was no longer going to pay the defence costs of motorists who fight a motoring offence in court and are acquitted. This must be wrong; it has always been a principle of British Justice that if someone accuses you of something and that you are found innocent, you are able to recover your costs from the accuser.
Then continuing my reading of the Telegraph (I use an RSS feed) I found this!
"A convicted terrorist who aided the July 21 suicide bomb plotters is being given taxpayer-funded legal advice to fight deportation to Eritrea. "
Why on earth do we do this? I cannot see that we have any obligation, moral or otherwise, to provide legal aid in a case like this. He is a criminal, he is not a British Citizen, and he should have been taken straight from prison to an aircraft on completion of his sentence. This would happen in any other country, why not here?
So far he has apparently cost the taxpayers £30,000 as he is on bail receiving all the usual handouts..
But, even worse, he is not the only person in this position, it seems that there are quite a few more also fighting against deportation at our expense, and to the detriment of British Citizens who are being refused legal aid. I can think of no other country in the World which would provide free legal aid to non-citizens, along with free interpreters, and anything else necessary to meet their "Human Rights".
Surely Legal Aid should be restricted to British Citizens only, and should be available for all criminal cases. Whether it should be possible to get legal aid in other areas such as challenging the government and asking for judicial reviews is arguable, but such money as is available must be used to ensure that all British Citizens get justice in the Criminal Courts.
If the do-gooders think foreign terrorists should have legal advice, perhaps they should form a charity "Legal advice for Foreign Terrorists in the UK" and see how much money they can collect.
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