Crumbling justice system sees solicitor forced to take on pet-sitting duties
After a particularly stressful day, a legal aid lawyer has taken to Facebook to give a first-hand account of life on the front-line — and has seen his post go viral with, so far, over 4,000 shares.
Phil Mahoney, a solicitor specialising in criminal defence work, wrote earlier this week on his personal social media page a diatribe about the crumbling justice system in which he heavily criticised — among other things — the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the government.
So bad have things become, explains the Usmani King Solicitors lawyer, that he has even been forced to look after an imprisoned client’s pet cat. In the post, Mahoney writes:
When I left the office I didn’t go home. Instead, I added an hour to my journey by driving in the opposite direction to go and feed a client’s cats. He got remanded a few days ago. The police suffered one of their frequent not-my-job-can’t-be-arsed attacks and left his cats in situ. It’s not my job either, but the RSPCA and Cats Protection will only take them if he signs them over for permanent re-homing, which seems a bit harsh as he hasn’t been convicted of anything yet, and even if he was agreeable, he can’t do anything right now because he’s in prison. So I went and fed the cats, because no one else was willing to.
Elsewhere in the lengthy status (which is reproduced in full below), the Leighton Buzzard-based solicitor — who has been practising for 12 years having graduated from Sheffield University — claims that the latest round of legal aid cuts will cause firms which do their jobs properly to go bankrupt. He writes:
The only way to stay in business will be deal with a large number of cases and pressure all your clients into pleading guilty. If you think that is a result which the government has achieved by accident, then you’re a fucking idiot.
In the post Mahoney also lambasts the CPS for allegedly failing to serve evidence in a case he was dealing with that day, which he says was a “breach” of its disclosure obligations.
When contacted by Legal Cheek, the CPS was unable to comment on this allegation due to the lack of information regarding the trial itself.
Mahoney — speaking to us yesterday — also declined to comment further as the case is still ongoing. Of the Facebook post in general, he said:
I must admit to being a little taken aback by the amount of interest which my Facebook post appears to have attracted. I post these things for the interest of my friends and it has come as quite a shock to see the number of times this has been shared.