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?