|| Oh FFS...
||Oct. 13th, 2007 10:53 am|
The government has been criticised for cutting the right of arrested suspects to advice from a qualified lawyer.
In a little-noticed change, from next February most people who are arrested and held in custody in England and Wales for minor offences will usually be denied the right to speak to a duty lawyer.
Parliament said nothing about it: neither the Commons nor the Lords, neither in debate nor in Committee. Scrutiny? What scrutiny?
The media have only just noticed: the BBC has thousands of News & Current Affairs staff and they've only just picked it up, long after it's gone on the statute books and the contracts for the call centres have been drafted and signed.
The Law Society appear to have said nothing*. Are they going to stand up and say that they weren't consulted at the Green Paper stage? That they made no submissions to Parliament at the White paper stage? That they contributed nothing during the committee stages of the bill, and that none of the many Parliamentarians who are qualified solicitors heard anything about it from Chancery Lane? Were they just too stupid and lazy to watch the progress of an Act of Parliament which has a direct impact on their business? Or did they do all of these things, but are so inept in their media and PR skills that nothing they did got as much as a inside back page in the evening papers?
Which leads us to the press, but that's a done deal: if no-one briefs their tame journalist - or calls a press conference and distributes a press-pack with the story - then it never happened.
Our watchdogs are blind and toothless poodles.
*Feel free to contradict me, after you've Search The Law Society's website. Try typing 'Police Station' as the starting point of your search. There's plenty on the SRA's approval scheme for Police Station representatives but nothing that looks like a press release, or an opinion from the Society. Perhaps a subscriber to the Gazette has seen something - but let's face it, that isn't what you'd call campaigning or effective lobbying.