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Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Former England captain left stumped over 'terrorist-defending lawyers'

Former England captain left stumped over 'terrorist-defending lawyers'


Unnamed advocate highlights need for 'fairness' however 'grotesque' the crime

Ex-England cricket captain Michael Vaughan was hit for six this week when he questioned how terrorists can be defended by lawyers days after the Brussels attacks.

'Seriously how can any Lawyer work to Defend terrorists ??? [sic],' he tweeted to his 920,000 followers.

However, the former Yorkshire batsman was soon on the back foot when regular SJ contributor @BarristerSecret bowled a quick response, providing a link to his blog that explains how criminal lawyers can defend 'quite easily' someone who is guilty.

'If they tell me they are guilty, I will strongly advise them to plead guilty,' the blog post reads. 'If the evidence against a client is overwhelming, but in the face of the evidence and all common sense they instruct me that they are not guilty, then I will fight their corner at trial.'

On the issue of defending alleged criminals, including sex offenders, paedophiles, or terrorists, the anonymous barrister argued that however 'grotesque' the offence a person is suspected of, fairness requires they must be represented where their liberty is at stake.

The barrister validated his view in light of the mass resources usually available to the state agency, comprising of an 'annual budget of £600m budget, an investigative squad of 128,000 police officers and an experienced, well-qualified barrister in the Crown Court'.

After receiving a barrage of big hits targeting his comment, Vaughan said 'I just don't know what kind of person would want to defend a terrorist..!! [sic] That's all I am saying .. [sic]'

The Secret Barrister was subsequently blocked by the England legend, who perhaps should leave his commentary to the boundaries of the cricket field. Howzat?