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Junior barrister hits back at Boris Johnson’s ‘hamstrung’ justice comment in viral Twitter thread

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PM waded into government’s ‘lefty lawyers’ saga yesterday

The Prime Minister has waded into the government’s attack on “lefty lawyers” leading a junior barrister to hit back in a powerful and moving Twitter thread.

Boris Johnson publicly accused “lefty human rights lawyers” of hampering the criminal justice system in his keynote speech during yesterday’s Conservative Party conference.

The PM repeated his pledge to put 20,000 police officers on the streets, adding:

“But fan though I am of the police, we need to see results, not just spending; and so we are also backing those police, and protecting the public, by changing the law to stop the early release of serious sexual and violent offenders, and stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the Home Secretary would doubtless and rightly call the lefty human rights lawyers and other do-gooders.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel had lashed out at “lefty lawyers” and “do-gooders” who are “defending the broken system” in a divisive speech on Sunday.

Joanna Hardy, a criminal barrister at Red Lion Chambers, responded to the PM’s attack by listing “things I do that leave the criminal justice system ‘hamstrung’”. Hardy’s list of tweets has garnered thousands of likes, retweets and responses.

“[I] sit with prisoners who are suicidal and then lie awake at night thinking about them,” Hardy begins, adding that she regularly undertakes work pro bono, and represents children as young as 13 in the care system. “[They] have no parents and rely on me — and trust me — to advance their case,” she says.

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In other instances Hardy has had to “get up at 4am and drive a 180-mile round trip for a 20-minute hearing”, advise “sometimes volatile, aggressive [and] dangerous people to plead guilty in tiny cell areas on my own”, and make decisions that “could be the difference between a human being spending 15 years in a cell or not”. She says she does this with “no sick pay, no pension, no holiday pay, no HR department and no maternity leave”.

Hardy concludes the thread stating, “someone has left the criminal justice system ‘hamstrung’. But it wasn’t the lawyers”.

Law Society president Simon Davis described Johnson’s speech as “deeply concerning”. “This divisive language serves nobody and puts lawyers and their clients at risk,” he said. “All solicitors advise their clients on their rights under the laws created by parliament. Legal rights cannot be rewritten through rhetoric.”

Amanda Pinto QC, chair of the Bar Council, added: “It is shocking and troubling that our own Prime Minister condones and extends attempts to politicise and attack lawyers for simply doing their job in the public interest. Lawyers — including those employed by the government itself — are absolutely vital to the running of our grossly under-funded criminal justice system. Their professional duty is to their client and to the court, and not to play political games.”

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19 Comments

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Classic Bojo

.

He’s right

Anonymous

She forgot to add:

• Helping those that commit crimes evade responsibility for their actions by trying to exclude damning evidence and confusing juries to seed doubt in their naïve minds.

Nothing personal, but that is what they all do and they do it much more than the examples she cites. I’m with Boris on this one.

You are

embarrassing

Anonymous

Your ignorance is on another level.

Libeturd Leftie

Yeah I guess any sort of advocacy should be reserved for those that excuse their behaviour because of exhaustion and any other particularly middle class excuse for their “foibles”.

All regardless of circumstance are entitled to a defence, that it offends your delicate sensibilities is just too bad.

LS

God forbid you or any of your family are ever falsely accused of something. What a lovely world you must live in where people don’t lie. You also must have extreme faith in yourself if you drive and know you will never cause an accident killing someone and ending up before the courts. Wouldn’t you like to be defended and have someone in your corner fighting to ensure you are dealt with fairly? Luckily for you ignorance is not a criminal offence!

Darren

Secret Barrister put out some good Tweets on this today.

Worrying times when shields are confiscated and when means of defence is taken away. Next thing you know anybody can be taken to the Gulag without reason or notice.

Anonymous

Or put another way, fewer of the criminals will get away with it. Which sounds good. If we can’t use our islands for illegal immigrants, can’t we pack the criminals off there instead?

Philip harrison

Moronic comment.

Jezza

Ridiculous.

This is Britain in 2020, not Moscow in 1930.

Even a step or two back from the lefty consensus is thought of as communism or fascism.

Eh?

Did anyone else mistake the picture for Kurt Cobain? Just me? Time for bed.

Claire Chapman

“Helping those that commit crimes evade responsibility for their actions by trying to exclude damning evidence and confusing juries to seed doubt in their naïve minds…that is what they all do”. You honestly think criminal lawyers do this? Every single criminal lawyer in the country? Your stupidity is beyond belief.

Arum Pol

This is exactly what they do.

Chris Bennett

Presumably you mean that asking the jury to think about the evidence means confusing them.

Doc Brown

The Justice System in the future works swiftly now that they’ve abolished all lawyers.

Hmm

Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

Pod

Trying to imagine Pritti Patel as Judge Dredd. Nope.

..

Seems like you skipped your PCR lectures.

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