Last week’s opener went down pretty in the legal community on twitter (due to concerns about its accuracy). We at UK Criminal Law Blog know that accuracy does not entertainment make – six hours of Martha sitting around waiting for the list office to find a court for her trial before being sent home because the MoJ had cut the budget and there were no jurors would be realistic, if a bit too Pinteresque for most people’s tastes.
But we’re certainly sticking with it. So, onto episode two …
Jordan Sinclair is a professional footballer (no legal aid this week either) who takes an elbow to an opponent on the pitch. It’s pretty open and shut and therefore there’s only one option – call for Martha!
The other half of her double act, Clive Reader (now Clive Reader QC) is prosecuting (it’s a small world on BBC1), cue fun. Martha decides to get to the truth through the agent. She tries to get her man by speaking very slowly when asking the questions. It worked in the end though, after she managed to break through the barriers to get to the real Jordan Sinclair.
And his secret is that he is gay and Dean Trent (the complainant) called him a ‘faggot’ . Martha then
tells him what to say checks his account and Mr Sinclair gives a word perfect statement of what self-defence is.
It’s still not looking good, so Martha calls (after lying to Clive) Tom Stephenson who confirms the abuse (and raises some questions of confidentiality agreements). In the end Martha, naturally, triumphs.
Last series we had the battle of the pupils (who both had more interesting lives than most pupils, engaged in sex or burglary), this time there’s a new pupil – Amy Lang who gets sent off to the Magistrates’ Court and gets some last minute advice from Martha – “if in doubt, get it adjourned” – great advice, even if it would never work.
Meanwhile, Caroline Warwick QC is off to Bury St Edmunds for a bit of sex and the head of chambers, Alan Cowdrey QC heads off to the bench (to be a Judge).
Another enjoyable episode to my mind. Good writing, good acting and a pretty good plot. But what about the law? We’re all about the law here.
Amy’s experience in the Magistrates’ Court is pretty realistic (apart from her acronym speech). She would, however, know not to call the District Judge ‘Your Honour‘ but the immediate refusal of an adjounment is bang on the money. Seemingly this also resulted in a threat of wasted costs.
The plotline with Caroline Warwick is, frankly, great. Am I the only one that hopes that she gets a spin-off show? Or more airtime at least … ?
Legal inconsistencies* :
- Pupils will be assigned to a barrister that isn’t a silk. You’d hope that Amy wouldn’t be thrown in the deep end in that way. Martha couldn’t be her Pupil Supervisor
- Not an inconsistency as such, but Martha hasn’t done her research – Jordan isn’t the first person to be prosecuted for on pitch behaviour
- Martha was close to the ethical line (making a defence and misleading the prosecutor), but she probably just stayed the right side
- If the trial developed as it did, Martha would have had to recall Trent to put the new version to him
- I’ve never been to Bury St Edmunds, but they’re a bit out of touch on sexual offences. The Crown Court there shut down years ago (apparently), so the crew had to go back in time. This would explain the cross-examination. That sort of questions wouldn’t pan out like that nowadays
- The days when a barrister would get a ‘tap on the shoulder’ have long gone – the Judicial Appointments Commission wouldn’t like this plotline
- There is no way that a silk would be prosecuting that rape case
- The defence lawyer is always the advocate closest to the jury
*We’re not perfect :
-Apparently silks now can be pupil supervisors.
-It’s been pointed out that Amy would be receiving a pupillage award of £12,000 per year. We’d maintain that she would not be wrong to say she was earning nothing, at least as a figure of speech.