Hints & tips number 5

To tell the truth, I've lost count of how many hints and tips I've done, so this could be number 5 or 3 or 4 or 6... I just don't know.

The theme of this tip is to TELL YOUR SOLICITOR WHAT OUTCOME YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE.  I always ask clients what they want and they usually look at me like I'm some kind of idiot who can't work out that they just want to a. get off; or b. get out of prison.

Quite often people mistake me for their doctor and tell me lies.  Now that's fine if you're trying to convince a doctor that your smokers cough is nothing to do with your 40 a day habit.  But, if you want to get out of the cells then there's no point in lying to me.

I was court duty yesterday and after several loooooong hours I finally got a client.  He was in for a minor shoplifting, but with 120+ previous convictions the likelihood his being released were very slim.  A fact I made crystal clear.  He instructed me that he has alcohol problems and was desperate for help from probation to sort himself out.  "Fine," says I.  "But, you understand the court will order a pre-sentence report and the chances are it'll be with you in prison?"  He said he understood.

In court, low and behold the judge orders the PSR within the punter remanded despite my most eloquent re-iteration of the defendant's promise not to commit any more offences and to turn up next time.  Amusingly, he had told me to ask the judge to give him just one chance to prove himself.  I made clear I wasn't going to do that as retort from the judge would have been, "Mr Defence Brief, if I release him this would be the defendant's 127th chance".

When I see the punter in the cells after the hearing he's furious.  It seems that his real objective was to be released as quickly as possible.  He is no longer interested in getting any help for his drink problem and is angry that I didn't just ask for him to be sentenced to prison today.  As I explained, if he told me he just wanted to be out ASAP then I'd done that - it's actually easier than arguing for a PSR with somebody who's been to prison so many times before for the same thing.

So, the moral of the story is this.  I'm not a doctor who is going to tell you to stop drinking or smoking.  If you want a particular outcome then tell me the truth about what you want and I'll tell you either how to get it or to stop wasting your time because it'll never happen.

I'm there to help, but if you don't tell me what you want then you'll never get what you want.


  1. But aren't most crims not the sharpest tools in the box so to expect any thinking skills apart from how to get the next hit, drink or bit of bling is unlikely.

  2. This reminds me of a client my (then) firm had, way back when I was a trainee. He had NFA and was an alcoholic, and was frerqently arrested for shoplifting, criminal damage etc.
    He sacked us after my principal took him at his word and tried to persaude the custody sergeant to bail him (and, which was the unforgivable part)did so sucessfully. apparently the client had in fact wanted to stay in overnight, where he would at least get meals. My Principal had started out thinking that what was he wanted, but felt he could not go against such very clear instructions...


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