A and B had had some sort of sex when Mr. A was a young/ youngish man and B were nobbut a youth. They stayed friends. A married. B married – and A would take B’s son out as if he was his own. A had a bit of money and B often had none. And then – 30 years have passed: maybe more since first they met and B has a row with A. It’s not exactly blackmail - but close. “And I’ll stitch you up,” those sorts of words are said. And indeed B goes to the police.
Here we go again – this is the familiar narrative.
The police listen to the complaints from B., and off they go and arrest A.
They take him to the police station. Now A. has never been in trouble before this time in any way with any part of the law. He is frightened. He has no solicitor and a duty solicitor is found who says at the station plead guilty to 11 of the 24 charges. Because he admitted he knew the man B when he was a lad, and they did have some sort of sex – which he thought was consensual but consensual is no excuse if at the time B was under age.
Twenty years ago ? Thirty years ago – we’re into historical abuse again but there we are.
On reflection and talking among his family A. then thinks, after his charging, he was not right maybe at the police station to admit to the 11 of the 24 – although he had the duty solicitor present, he was flustered. Some friend recommends he gets in touch with us at GAY MONITOR
Now OUR ADVICE is never never never go guilty – certainly not at the police station stage. Reserve your defence. But then – we don’t (at Gay Monitor) believe these sorts of things are necessarily a crime, and we believe there should be Statutes of Limitation as there are in many countries to stop matters way past being dragged up in some vendetta.
Of course – we know the counter argument. A confession of guilty at the earliest opportunity – i.e. in the police station earns you points when it comes to sentencing, and to go guilty on some and not guilty on others enables plea bargaining to be done between the Crown Prosecution and your solicitor.
Anyway we meet Mr. A. and he says he has no faith in his current (the duty) solicitor. Mr. A. says he doesn’t think this small town solicitor knows much about these sorts of cases, and isn’t willing, or capable.of putting up a good strong fight on his behalf. Mn – we respectfully listen. This is in the small town.
We say we know in the nearbye big city a firm of solicitors who do know these cases, and are willing and able to put up a good fight. If you want, we suggest, we’ll contact them and see if they’ll see you. Or we’ll tell you their name and you can contact them yourself. This is a frightened man – in his retirement. “You do it,” he says – and we do there and then on the mobile in the Wetherspoon’s and the Ace Big City Law Firm will see him – and should be no trouble changing from his current to them as his legal rep.
There’s a magistrates hearing next week and his new lawyer is present in court, but so is his old lawyer: the little small town guy says he wants the case, has acted properly. The new one says her firm is ace at serious. There’s a little battle and the magistrates withdraw. Never known anything like this: because we’re in court. We-ve never known anything like this. Usually if a new lawyer takes over that’s that. Not here. The small town magistrates (bench of three) retire – and they’re out the back for over half an hour.
When they return, they pronounce that they now have discretionary powers in these matters and particularly with legal aid and have decided to refuse Mr.A permission to change his lawyer Now as I said this is new to us – never known this. But there we are.
The magistrates decision could be appealed against – at the High Court.
That will cost ? Mn: maybe. What to do – it has to be Mr. A’s decision. And of course we have only heard his side of the story. He may want to plea bargain. There may be more than what we’ve heard. Maybe. And many things can happen when a trial begins. And the Big City law firm is NOT always the best. We may not get to a trial Watch this space – but be warned: as a caution – be aware – choose the right solicitor FROM THE BEGINNING – because these days it seems you may not be able to change.