Apr 292016
 

Paul Murphy free legal aidThe decision to grant Paul Murphy free legal aid has attracted widespread derision, much of it justified, but it masks a far deeper injustice routinely inflicted on innocent citizens whenever the State moves to prosecute them. Leave aside the fact that Paul Murphy is paid €87 thousand in salary and that his decision to give most of it to a political movement is his own choice. Leave aside the fact that he drew down an enormous amount of money as an MEP from 2011 to 2014. Forget the fact that he’s also in receipt of expenses.

None of that is relevant to the central injustice of the present system.

As matters stand, any person prosecuted by the State suffers an immediate, severe financial penalty regardless of their guilt or otherwise. Why? Because they have to pay for their defence, and the costs can sometimes dwarf any fine a court might impose.

Therefore, simply by taking the case, the State imposes punishment on every person it chooses to prosecute unless that person can demonstrate inability to pay legal fees.

It’s impossible to understand how this can be fair.

It opens the door for every sort of vexatious, capricious and downright oppressive prosecution. It creates conditions where an unscrupulous official is free to inflict severe punishment on innocent people, knowing full well that the State’s case has no merit and will be thrown out by a jury.

Forget about the court granting Paul Murphy free legal aid. His case is just a side-show and in any event he now has his costs covered, even if his argument was somewhat thin.

It seems obvious that, just as in a civil case, if the State brings a prosecution against a person and fails to prove its case, the accused should not be at a financial loss, so what’s the answer?

Simple.

If an accused person is acquitted, the State should be liable for all their costs, whether that person is a billionaire or a pauper. That’s the risk everyone runs when they take a civil case, so why not a prosecution?

What could be more self-evident?

  7 Responses to “Paul Murphy free legal aid story deflects from real injustice”

Comments (7)
  1.  

    Bock,

    Fair comment and to add insult to injury if the State’s prosecution fails and costs are awarded to the accused then the accused must still pay those costs of his own legal defence first and then attempt to recover them from the State thus incurring further legal costs if the State delays payment.

  2.  

    That judge is allowing the free legal aid scheme to fund a political movement indirectly. Is there no way for the taxpayer to appeal this waste of taxpayer’s money?
    Free Legal Aid has to be the worst name possible for that scheme – it’s anything but free.

    If I have Paul Murphy’s income, and I chose to give much of it away to Diageo, as I do, would I get free legal?

  3.  

    This case is expected to last from 4 to 6 weeks. Even on his salary he could not afford legal representation over that period of time. Never mind the time spent by legal eagles reviewing the book of evidence and preparing his defense

  4.  

    Why are people worried about Paul getting legal aid on a mickey mouse charge and not the piss stained tracksuit wearing scrotes in front of the courts every day of the week?

  5.  

    Because “the piss stained tracksuit wearing scrotes in front of the courts every day of the week” are unlikely to be in receipt of an annual salary of €87,258 paid by the tax payer, who now have to fund Mr.Murphys legal bill. Just guessing

  6.  

    Why should a the piss stained tracksuit wearing scrote, who is before the courts for his whole life be entitled to anything from the tax payer? Should a line not be drawn after maybe the third time the parasite is in court for fucking someone over and left to his own defensive devices? Why should Paul Murphy have to fork out to defend this mickey mouse charge, or any decent non scrote for that matter?

  7.  

    Ronwan – unfortunately Justice has to be see to be done.

    Along with Free Legal aid, the probation service is’nt exactly cheap

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