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Monday Message 27.10.14

CBA Chairman’s Message:
Tony Cross QC 

Monday 27 October 2014

E: [email protected]
T: 07860 692693 

The Bar – The glue that holds the Crown Court together
October 2014 – A Crown Court – A true story
A severely disabled defendant confined to a wheelchair defendant stands trial for an offence of violence. He is dependent on carers who visit his home a number of times a day and in addition requires dialysis 3 times per week. The victim was also disabled.

On the first day he came to Court in a specially adapted taxi. At the conclusion of the first day the taxi he had booked failed to arrive to take him home and he waited outside the court building until 7pm. The cost of the taxi? £90. As a consequence he missed his dialysis and was unfit to attend on the Tuesday and so the Court did not sit.
By Wednesday he had no money left. So you will wonder how did he get to Court? Counsel paid. Why? Every other avenue you can think of was explored and in detail. So had Counsel not acted, then the trial would have been jeoparidsed, the victim perhaps having to give evidence again. The trial concluded and the jury returned a verdict of guilty.
On the day of sentence Groundhog Day. No money for a cab so Counsel paid again. Not once during the trial did a carer attend trial despite the Court having earlier sought their assistance-such was ‘outside their remit.’

Throughout this trial defence Counsel acted as carer even to the degree of taking him to the lavatory, bodily lifting him from his chair and assisting him afterwards.
This Barrister is not interested in plaudits and this extreme example of duty was brought to my attention by the trial judge. I recount the sad story with permission.
Extreme though it is, it is an example of how day by day, week by week the Bar battles against the odds throughout the land, trying to keep cases on track.
The referral bar is the glue that keeps the Crown Court together. Duty, honour, service, pride are but some of the by-words of the self-employed  Bar, working from Chambers. The Crown Court would be a barren, broken and more costly place without us.
Meanwhile the BSB has removed the 31st December 2014 deadline for registration. The regulators will meet in January 2015. An announcement will follow. Watch this space.

CLSA Conference
Friday 31 October 2014
Friends House, Euston Road, London. 
Registration: 10:00 Conference 10:30 – 17:00
Further information and how to book is available HERE

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