CrowdJustice Campaign – Alert your MP to the state of criminal justice
It seems bizarre to be talking about the need to alert our elected representatives to the plight of the criminal justice system. Don’t they know already? We suspect that the answer is “no” – and we suspect that the example of Nigel Evans MP is instructive. He was part of the Conservative government that removed the right of acquitted defendants to recover any of their legal costs of defending themselves against allegations brought by the state. Having spent £130,000 defending himself against allegations of sexual assault – he freely admitted that he had little regard for his actions when voting through LASPO in 2012.
There are many and varied reports into the state of our prisons, the waste of money and inherent unfairness of incarcerating people on remand who are subsequently acquitted or convicted but do not receive a custodial sentence, the impact on victims of the failures within the system, etc, etc, etc. However, it would appear that these have just become part of the white noise of an MPs life – and there seems to be no understanding at all that from the Police to the Court service, to the CPS, to our prisons and to our criminal defence firms – the system is now well and truly broken.
The Secret Barrister’s book and the campaign to provide a copy to every MP is an opportunity to try a new approach to bringing this subject to life in the minds of those who actually have the power to do something about it. Will it succeed in changing attitudes? On its own – certainly not. Should we do it anyway? Absolutely we should. And importantly, this is seemingly only one aspect of what feels like an increasing clamour for action – and one that has a very broad coalition of support. We would encourage anyone who finds a few spare pennies down the back of the sofa to donate to this campaign.