When the Met comes calling

Now that I have made a clean breast of my activities in the Strand, I expect the Metropolitan Police will seek my arrest.

Pretending to be a barrister is a criminal offence. It is regulated by the Legal Services Act 2007 and is punishable by a prison term of up to two years. It is also a contempt of court.

There have been several cases in England in recent years.

Monika Juneja was sentenced to 14 months suspended for two years , though she didn’t  ever appear in court.

Amir Salem spent 20 years pretending to be a barrister and a brain surgeon. He won a case at Manchester but suspicions were raised because of his “nonsensical legal propositions”. In NI he would have got Silk. He got 4 years and 4 months.

David Evans represented a friend he had met in jail. He was rumbled , according to press reports because of discrepancies in his clothing  and a series of hopelessly wrong legal submissions. Poor pleading is one thing but wearing brown shoes to court is beyond the pale.

Paul Bint pretended to be Keir Starmer and Orlando Pownall [though not at the same time] in order to woo women. The BBC said that he wore a pinstriped suit and carried papers tied up in pink ribbon. He had previously impersonated an aristocrat, a ballet dancer, a banker, a doctor , a playboy and a policeman. I think his mistake was to imagine that he could impersonate a ballet dancer AND Orlando Pownall.

The Bar Standards Board, says  that in some cases it will refer matters to police “about people pretending to be a barrister” [sic]. I’d like to see that, does it happen at carnival?

So I fear that at dead of night the Met will hammer in my door, assisted by the TSG.

I will , of course , give a “no comment ” interview.

But, Dear Reader, on a serious note, how to know if your barrister is real? Here are some tips.

  1. Does the person seem to be healthy and without vices, such as excess alcohol consumption?
  2. Does he/she seem calm and show no sign of being a psychopath?
  3. Does the person speak to you politely, listen to what you have to say and explain matters to you?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to all the above the person before you is undoubtedly a fake and you should call 101.


Starmer review

Tucked away at para 1.13.

“It cannot be said with certainty whether the outcomes of these cases would have been different if particular decisions had been taken differently.”

For the layman, imagine Match of the Day and the endless slow motion replays and the blethering of the pundits.  “Well, Alan, should he have scored there?”

“Well maybe not Gary, but his decision making has to be in question”

I wonder what the report cost? Is anyone interested?

Belfast Telegraph misses the point

Today’s ‘Editor’s viewpoint’ , unsurprisingly, misses the point completely. The test for prosecution is not and never was an issue in MC,AA and BB. It does not feature in Starmer’s report.

Study instead Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy and the Peter Principle.

Look at the officials involved in this shambles and ask if they were up to the job.

Ask them what the organisation expected of them. The answer will be ‘stats’.

In my own experience , the high command  was not interested in issues about victims, for example , about the evidence of young children , there were no medals for that.

Every organisation is taken over by the bureaucrats and every person in it is promoted beyond his/her level of ability. The PPS is no different.

There are no bad soldiers only bad officers

Kier Starmer made a number of criticisms of the PPS. Any prosecuting barrister could have told him of the failings if he had cared to ask. The service provided to victims has always been wanting. Frequently the defence is represented by senior and junior counsel attended by a solicitor and frequently the prosecution is in the hands of junior counsel or employed counsel attended by an unqualified clerk.

Worse still is the enormous pressure place on these clerks, who are left to be the conduit between victims, the witnesses, the court, the police, the directing officer and counsel. None of the PPS high command, mentioned by Starmer, has ever had a career prosecuting  in the Crown Court and they are rarely seen there.

The problems suffered by the three complainants are not new. The victim is less well looked after than the accused. For example in Craigavon, the PPS has no dedicated , private, room in which to consult with victims. It was taken off them without a fight.

Of course like all organisations, found out at last , the promise is for new organisational structures. I’m surprised that nobody said “we have learned lessons”.

All the reorganisation in the world will be of no avail until there is a culture change at the heart of the PPS. Less obsession with ‘stats’ and more interest in the court process would be a start. The Irish Times  today says  that the two counsel involved have reported themselves to the Bar Council. Let’s see what happens to the civil servants, responsible for delivering the service.

Meanwhile Napoleon’s dictum is as relevant as ever.