Oh My Giddy Aunt!

This I find hilarious: both funny Ha-Ha and funny as in my God I want to start measuring people for lamp posts

A convicted drugs criminal has escaped an order to have up to £4.5 million of his assets confiscated because no legal aid barrister would take on the case.

More than 30 barristers from London, Leeds and Sheffield were approached to represent the offender, but refused because they felt the new fixed-rate legal aid fees of £175.25 per day does not justify the complex workload that would be involved.

That\’s the funny ha ha bit: in their mad urge to gut the legal system (one of the things that only government can do and therefore must do) to save money to be spent on outreach workers (something that others than government can do and thus government need not do) they entirely screw themselves: for the lack of a few hundred pounds a day they lose the £1.5 million they were chasing.

Then there\’s the funny leading to rage bit:

The offender, who has served a nine-month sentence for two drugs convictions, could not pay for the legal fees himself because his assets had been frozen.

Yup, you\’re not allowed to use your own money to fund your own defense. Because the burden of proof is reversed here: they say it all came from drugs and it\’s up to you to prove it isn\’t. But since the assumptions is that it is indeed all drug money, you can\’t use that to employ your own lawyers.

It also exposed the “draconian” provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 under which offenders convicted of a drugs-related offence faced having assets seized that could in theory be counted as gained from a “criminal lifestyle”.

“So although this defendant was convicted of offences only involving a few hundred pounds’ worth of cannabis, he found himself at risk of losing £4.5 million worth of assets – with the burden on him to prove that they were not ill-gotten gains. On top of that, he was prohibited from using those assets for his own defence," Mr Versfeld said.

And guess what children? They\’re about to make it worse. The next stage of the law, currently being railroaded through Parliament, is that the confiscation of presumed to be drug related assets will take place upon arrest. Yes, really, upon arrest on drugs charges they will be able to take all of your money. So in the future you won\’t even be able to use your own money to defend yourself on the criminal charges to do with drugs in the first place.

Now that\’s really gutting the legal system, don\’t you think? A deliberate method of negating your opportunity to employ a lawyer of your choice.

Time to start checking those lamp post fopr their weight bearing capabilities, don\’t you think?

As Uncle Milt pointed out:

Alcohol and tobacco cause many more deaths in users than do drugs. Decriminalization would not prevent us from treating drugs as we now treat alcohol and tobacco: prohibiting sales of drugs to minors, outlawing the advertising of drugs and similar measures. Such measures could be enforced, while outright prohibition cannot be. Moreover, if even a small fraction of the money we now spend on trying to enforce drug prohibition were devoted to treatment and rehabilitation, in an atmosphere of compassion not punishment, the reduction in drug usage and in the harm done to the users could be dramatic. This plea comes from the bottom of my heart. Every friend of freedom, and I know you are one, must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence.

It isn\’t possible to fight the "War on Drugs" and remain with any semblance of the liberty for which our forefathers fought and died. It is necessary to take sides here therefore: liberty, including the liberty to toot? Or no liberty and drugs still remain, if illegal?

14 thoughts on “Oh My Giddy Aunt!”

  1. With so many billions of dollars involved, is it possible there are too many people and organisations in whose interest it is, that drugs other than alcohol and tobacco remain illegal? That’s getting into the grey area of conspiracy theory, but…

  2. Sigh. Why does the Government insist on doing these stupid things? Right to a fair trial and no confiscation of property without due process means that the courts will savage the new act, and indeed may well savage the current one.

    I can understand how the defendant couldn’t afford a decent lawyer, but why can’t the Government ask one before passing such utter shite into law?

  3. Taking the principle as read, I am still contemplating the detail “legal aid fees of £175.25 per day “. I suppose if you have MPs who don’t pay their own plumbing or decorating bills you must expect this sort of madness.

  4. This means you don’t have a Public Defender’s Office here in the UK as exists in the US?

    Lawyers are paid a salary, and they are appointed to defend people who can’t afford their own legal counsel. Whatever the weaknesses of the US legal system, this is a good idea.

  5. “Whatever the weaknesses of the US legal system, this is a good idea.”

    I take it you’ve never seen My Cousin Vinny then?

  6. I take it you’ve never seen My Cousin Vinny then?

    Tomai (sp) was fit as f&ck too!

    This means you don’t have a Public Defender’s Office here in the UK as exists in the US?

    Per sa, no. But in the UK you have a right to legal council through legal aid if you cannot afford a lawyer – this is the whole crux of this argument.

    He can’t afford a lawyer but cannot get legal aid because his personal wealth is too much. But as his personal wealth is seized he cannot use it to pay for a lawyer.

    Complete fecking madness but this is how the ‘Labour’ government are and have been for a number of years.

  7. “that’s less than £44,000 p. a.. Laughable.” Clearly it is laughable, since no-one will take the work on. No doubt if I were offered that, and out of it had to fund my office expenses and so forth, I’d dismiss it as daft. What hourly rate does your garage charge you?

  8. I heard a drug-user once comment, “America can either be free, or drug-free, but not both!” The same holds true for my country, Australia.

  9. ‘I take it you’ve never seen My Cousin Vinny then?’

    No, I haven’t but it sounds as if I should!

    More years ago than I care to remember, I lived with a public defender in Los Angeles and got an update on the city’s criminal underclasses every evening.

    My point was, that those attorneys were government employees, paid a yearly salary to defend whom they were assigned by the court – none of this ‘it isn’t worth my time’ business. Often, they were young lawyers intending to go into private litigation practice. Probably all changed now, though.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    I am not happy with the merging of two issues here. Yes, the British (and most other Western governments) are becoming more and more draconian in their legal systems. Yes we are losing our freedoms every day. Yes we ought to be looking for some lamp-posts.

    But that has nothing to do with drugs.

    Drugs are just an excuse because dealers are so unsympathetic. They would do it anyway. They are doing it anyway. If drugs were legal does anyone here seriously think that the Government would *not* be winding back our freedoms? I would suggest you go and look at any legal reform these last two decades. Sexual abuse? Anyone remember that? The burden of proof in rape cases? Laws on Racial and even Religious Vilification?

    The truth is that our rulers are f*ckwits. Stalinist f*ckwits mostly. And the Tories are Tory f*ckwits so it is not a partisan issue. They hate us. They want us to be more submissive and they will get their way one way or the other. The drug issue is totally separate.

    (And yes we could fight the drug war and retain our freedoms if we wanted. But they don’t)

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