Today I am taking part in the Unconvicted blog tour and have a guest post for you from Olly Jarvis. He’s written a fascinating post about defending people who are guilty, something that I have to admit I’ve always wondered about. So read on and find out for yourself how they do it and don’t forget to check out the other blogs on the tour today.
Book Blurb: In a razor-sharp legal thriller, Jack Kowalski must win two challenging trials to save his reputation and his career
Junior barrister Jack Kowalski is crushed. His client Timothy Smart appears to have committed a monstrous crime while on bail – a bail application Jack fought hard to win.
When a high-profile Polish footballer is charged with rape and demands a fellow countryman represent him, Jack must overcome his guilt and get back to work. Before long he takes on a second case, a GBH for instructing solicitor Lara Panassai, who Jack remains desperate to impress. But neither case is what it seems, and Jack will face an extraordinary uphill battle to see that justice is done…
The second Jack Kowalski novel, Unconvicted is a gripping courtroom drama written with the expert insight of a practicing criminal barrister, perfect for fans of William L. Myers, Deborah Hawkins, and Scott Turow.
Links to Book:
Defending the UNCONVICTED.
When I started writing legal thrillers, I had twenty years of experience as a criminal defence barrister to draw on. I wanted to show the reader what it’s really like defending people on serious charges, week after week, the relentless pressure.
By far the most common question I’m asked is : how can you defend someone you know is guilty?
The short answer is: if the defendant tells me he committed the crime alleged, I can’t defend him in a trial, but if he pleads guilty, I can try and persuade the judge to keep his sentence as low as possible. Some people have a misconception about sleazy barristers, telling clients what to say to get them off. Nothing could be further from the truth. A barrister can never knowingly mislead the court. These are fundamental principles that hardworking legal aid lawyers live by, up and down the land.
Personal opinion on a client’s guilt or innocence plays no part in my job. It’s for the jury to decide, not me.
For every trial that was ever prosecuted, there had to be a defence advocate. That is the system of justice that we as a society have all signed up to. If a barrister could refuse to defend a case where he thought the client might have done it, the whole system would break down, people going unrepresented and an explosion of miscarriages of justice. Every person charged with an offence in the crown court is entitled to a defence barrister who will defend him without fear or favour.
Of course, principles aside, it’s very challenging defending someone I suspect is guilty, particularly, sexual offences. Week after week, it can grind you down.
Unconvicted, my latest novel, explores these thought processes. Jack Kowalski, a newly qualified barrister has to learn the hard way about getting too emotionally involved in a case, and asking himself the ultimate question – did his client do it?
If a barrister starts hearing that voice in his head, pre-judging a case, mistakes get made.
The road to justice is never straight forward. It’s hard and it’s ugly, for everyone involved.
For all the celebrated cases in the news, where monsters were successfully prosecuted to conviction, there was a defence barrister who had to endure the horror of defending the trial – and do their very best.
Olly Jarvis is a writer and criminal defence barrister, originally from London but now working in Manchester. Drawing on his experiences, he writes both fiction and non-fiction with a particular understanding of the pressures and excitement of life in the courtroom. He wrote the highly acclaimed Radio 4 drama Judgement, and wrote and presented the BBC documentary Mum Knows Best. He is also the author of Death by Dangerous. Olly has two children and lives in Cheshire.
Link: Twitter: @OllyJarviso