The Police are to be given a role in deciding whether or not a defendant receives legal aid support, under new proposals from Chris Grayling.
Citing the need to cut the criminal Legal Aid budget the Justice Secretary claimed, “It is quite clear that lots of guilty people are playing the system by claiming to be innocent, and that this is costing a lot of money”.
Under new rules the arresting officer will be asked whether they believe the defendant to be innocent or not, with legal funding withheld completely from anyone who is thought to be “definitely guilty as hell”. Partial funding will be available to those who are, “most probably a wrong un”.
Grayling added, “You have to ask yourself, who is better placed to determine innocence or guilt that the good old British Bobby, with their sense of justice and fair play? If you disagree with that you must either be some liberal pinko, or foreign or something”.
Grayling denied that some defendants would be denied any representation whatsoever, noting that under the new reforms an individual the police determined to be “probably guilty” would be given the opportunity to share the prosecution's solicitor. Claiming that this proposal struck “the right balance between justice and efficiency”, Grayling noted that in such cases the defendant would be required to rely on the same witnesses and evidence as presented by the prosecution, in order to save time and paperclips.
Questioned as to whether the Police are best placed to make such decisions, in light of previous miscarriages of justice and cover ups, such as the Hillsborough tragedy, Grayling claimed that, “To the contrary, these cases simply prove that having access to legal representation is no guarantee of getting the right result every time. So, on balance, we might as well do without it”.