Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Sunday, June 21, 2009

# 55. They blame their clients if they lose


The best criminal defence ever

If there was an Oscar for the best criminal defence ever it would go to what I know as the ‘Jump Up’ defence. I don’t know why it is called that. Imagine that you are a criminal. You have just stolen a TV and you are carrying it down the street. A policeman catches you red-handed. Being a criminal you stay stumm. At your trial you say that you were walking along the road when a man said to you, ‘Do you want to make some cash?’ Being out of work, you agreed. The man tells you to pick up a TV and follow him. You were following him, carrying the TV, when the policeman stopped you.
In criminal trials the prosecution must prove the case beyond reasonable doubt so that the jury is sure. Juries often give the defendant the benefit of the doubt especially where the Jump Up defence is used.
So why doesn’t everyone plead clever defences like the Jump Up? Well, defence lawyers are not able to assist their clients (even a little bit) in concocting untrue defences. Defendants often learn basic defence strategy in prison, however, it displays a marked lack of creativity. They can’t all have brilliant criminal minds. If they were that smart at school they would now be bank managers.
What lawyers will not do is represent you in a not guilty plea to the court if they know you are guilty. I have had to work with some lousy, implausible defences over the years, but some have turned out to be true—so you never know. Therefore, the only way to be sure that your lawyer knows that you are guilty is for you to tell him.
Finally, I suggest that you expect professional detachment from your lawyer rather than tea and sympathy. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.