Solicitors in England and Wales are complaining over a new scheme which sees accused persons bailed to the legal representative’s home address in failed remand applications.
Members of the Law Society took a petition to Downing Street to have the initiative halted claiming that it put solicitors’ lives at risk.
The pilot scheme was trialled in Yorkshire for three months towards the end of 2007. Rules laid down by the project stated that any accused person who was given bail at court had to live for that period of bail with the solicitor who represented them and supported their bail application.
From its implementation the scheme saw solicitor’s challenges to remand applications at court fall by almost a hundred percent. The only challenge lodged during the test period was in the case of a young male accused of soliciting gay men for sex.
Plans are now being put in place to have the scheme rolled nationwide before the summer.
Rufus Broadback, a solicitor in Skipton said: ‘It’s outrageous. Totally unacceptable. They’re expecting us to take home people accused of all sorts. Only yesterday I woke up to find a registered sex offender playing squash on the Nintendo Wii with my daughter. I’ve got two shoplifters in my box room and a man accused of glassing his brother dossing on my sofa. You should see the milk they’re going through.’
Former woodwork teacher, Jim Stevins, a magistrate at Wakefield Magistrates’ Court shrugged. ‘If the solicitor thinks the accused is no risk of offending during the life of the trial and genuinely believes their client to be innocent, I can see no reason why we can’t bail them to go home together. If they don’t see a problem, then we don’t. Otherwise we’ll remand them.’
On Thursday in York a woman accused of harassing her family with text messages and ‘phone calls of an obscene nature was offered bail by the presiding magistrate. The woman’s solicitor declined the offer politely stating: ‘I’m not having this bloody nutter in my house.’
Concerns have been raised following a number of incidents at solicitor’s homes. Ninety-five burglaries, forty-seven serious assaults, nearly three hundred instances of criminal damage and one buggering have been reported. A tearful Scarborough solicitor of twenty years Pat Flugger said: ‘I live in constant fear. My bedroom door has locks on it. These people are scum, we shouldn’t have to put up with them. I’ve lost three plasma TVs and my pedigree dog, Bumper, was sold to gypsies. I’m sure someone is dealing crack cocaine from my kitchen. My house reeks of cannabis and urine. I’m using five cans of Oust a day. They were defecating in the fire place.’
‘Lives by the sword…’
The scheme was championed by controversial Barnsley MP Simon Peace. The National Socialist stated: ‘It’s a simple case of he who lives by the sword…’ It’s about time some of these liberal bigots had to live with the consequences of their own actions. I’ve got no sympathy for them.’
Peace, who has implemented public birching and restorative justice whereby complainants are given the opportunity to ‘physically remonstrate’ with offenders in specially designed ‘Straightener rooms’, stated that the scheme had been a resounding success. ‘We’re keeping criminals off the street or placing them in the care of the people who want to see them at liberty. It’s working a treat. A few people have had their rose-tinted spectacles taken off.’
‘Solicitors are angry, they are beyond angry, and many have said that if this continues they’re going to do more conveyencing’ – Ben Digest, solicitor
When asked about the incidents of criminality at solicitors’ homes Peace said: ‘Hey, eggs and omelettes.’