You what?

The wives of men facing criminal charges will have their wages docked by the Government to pay for their  defence.

And they could even be forced to remortgage the family home to settle the bill for legal fees.

Critics say women will be forced to divorce their husbands to avoid the new ‘legal tax’, which is being proposed by Justice Secretary Jack Straw to save £50million a year in legal aid payouts.

Under the scheme, revealed last week, families with annual incomes between £20,000 and £40,000 are likely to have to contribute to defence costs. Those earning more than £40,000 will probably have to pay the full cost.

A new means test will analyse the disposable incomes of defendants and their families. Those deemed to have more than £3,398 of ‘spare cash’ will have to pay towards their legal bill.

The money will be taken directly from the pay packets of defendants and their families in the run-up to a trial.

I\’m sorry? Run that by me again? If you\’re charged with a crime then the government has direct access to your pay packet? They can and will fine you before you\’ve even been convicted?

Where in buggery did I put those lamp posts? That length of hempen?

Only defendants who are completely acquitted will get their money back. People charged with serious offences who see their cases downgraded will still have to pay towards the cost.

So the Govt decides it would be a nice idea to prosecute you under, say the Anti-Terrorist Act. 28 days detention, your solicitor is trying to get you out. You get charged with, say, conspiracy to blow up a plane.  You\’ve got, what, 18 months of legal bills along the way. Finally, they offer a plea bargain. Drop it to, say, accepting a caution for having looked at the wrong document on the internet.

And then they\’re going to keep your money?

Are these people completely ignorant of the concept of civil liberties?



13 thoughts on “You what?”

  1. “Are these people completely ignorant of the concept of civil liberties?”

    Not sure the last six words in that sentence weren’t redundant…

  2. Not the ideal example to get people onside, Tim, but you’re quite right this is so startlingly scary I think I might have to go outside and run around in circles, screaming at the wind.

    If anyone has seen the film Brazil, you know where this is going. Contesting a charge will be a charge will equate to bankruptcy, the fear of which will force many innocent people to plead guilty.

  3. OT1H, I can see the need for legal aid payments, OTOH I don’t see why the taxpayer in general should stump up.

    However, who are the real beneficiaries of legal aid? Not just the accused but the legal profession generally. Ergo, we should retain Legal Aid and fund it be a flat levy on the income of the legal profession generally (with a surcharge on those involved in criminal law).

    There, that’s that fixed.

  4. “flat levy on the income of the legal profession generally”

    Nice idea but lawyers will just pass the cost onto their paying customers. The only solution to cutting the cost of legal aid is to cut cost of the legal system and that means increasing competition: scrap the Bar and privatize the courts.

  5. Who said that? The scum is committing an offence (S5 of the Public Order Act). Naturally the filth can’t have any legal representation when defending this charge because it is so rich…oh…sorry, this is a Labour minister speaking. I forgot.

    Labour ministers are immune from prosecution. It says so in the law.

    Doesn’t it?

  6. To rephrase; “These people are completely ignorant of the concept of civil liberties.” Also indifferent to them it seems, except when it affects them direectly of course.

  7. This wouldn’t be the first outrageous proposal they’ve run up the flagpole to see who salutes, and it’ll be hauled down quickly enough.

    But…wouldn’t it be nice if you had a bit more than a gentlemens’ agreement and legal precedent to protect your civil rights?

  8. They are and don’t give a toss.

    personally, I find your method of dealing with NuLab to be too civilised. Rusty implements are more my preferred option.

  9. There’s an “out,” though–they can elect to contribute, instead, some of the foregone marital services.

  10. No, they are ignorant of the concepts of freedom , not interfering in the lives of peple and they do not understand the concept that taking money with menaces is still theft even if it is the wretched excuse for a government doing it. Innocent until proven guilty. Since it is the government having you prosecuted they should pay. Not some poor individual who is indited because of say a serial liar. Remember the Hamiltons?

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