We find ourselves in a fortunate position to have achieved 4 consecutive Operation Pallial acquittals in the North Wales Care Homes Cases ensuring men we have represented can return to their lives untarnished by the allegations made against them.
Returning acquittals is something we take a pride in, it is not always possible, but when it comes with regularity the question might be posed why? How is it done in a kafkaesque atmosphere where the Police, Politicians and the media want to try every accused person and convict them even before they get to a Court room?
The answer is in fact a simple one. We believe in our Clients ( That is not the same as standing back and assessing the evidence). But the belief means that we regard our client as much a part of the team as our Support Staff, Legal Executives, Solicitors, Higher Court Advocates and a stable of experienced counsel who all come together to work as one unit. [We particularly thank Mark Barlow and Brigid Baillie for their outstanding advocacy in the current spate of cases].
Anyone who professes to be a Criminal Advocate should look to the standards they apply in defending these life changing and complex cases and they should always strive to provide the level of care and support they would expect if say for example one of their family was accused.
As miscarriage lawyers we regularly see the horror stories:
- Clerks running complex investigations beyond their skills
- Solicitors failing to act on client instructions
- Clients who never even see the evidence they are facing
- Barristers not investing time with their clients or swopping at the last minute to counsel who should not be undertaking the case
In a current atmosphere where the very quality of advocacy and representation is being scrutinised then it is imperative that we look to these cases as a model of how good advocacy and representation can be delivered. It is done so at personal and financial cost in a system that does not properly recompense for the work that is undertaken.
There is an easy test to know whether you have delivered a good job . What does the Client to say to you after that closing speech is delivered . If like in many of our cases the Client such as Kelvin Horriben says "I can't thank you enough and I would still have said the same if it had gone wrong" then you know you are probably near the mark , although there is always room for improvement.
And what of Operation Pallial and the other Operations proceeding as part of the current "witch hunt" well integrity means we should not make any public comment whilst future prosecutions are pending. Any observer will no doubt conclude the very mixed results are a worrying sign but the true story of all of this has yet to come out in the wash, it will do so in the years ahead.
Giving a voice to genuine victims, who may not have been heard before is one thing , failing to test cases which arguably should never have been brought is a different matter. We say again the pendulum has swung too far and we are now seeing a pattern of case failure which supports what we predicted in 2012.
If this is happening regularly then it does as much damage to the accuser as to the people whom have had their lives decimated whilst they live under the spectre of false allegations.