Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Criminal Justice?

OK, I have to admit that I didn't see a single minute of the BBC's "flagship" drama last week. But a number of colleagues did, and they weren't impressed by how the lega profession was protrayed.

Which brings me to my first message; never watch a TV program, or read a newspaper article, about a topic that you are already well-acquainted with. The writer will have got things wrong on so many levels that it serves only to irritate the already-informed, and mis-inform everybody else.

But in the spat between Bar Council and writer of Criminal Justice (one Peter Moffat, once - allegedly - a proctising barrister, though I suspect that he had the usual reason for pursuing an alternative carreer), I happened on this gem:

Moffat disagreed with his learned friend - as he makes plain in a letter in today's paper. "Timothy Dutton ... seeks to reassure us that defence practitioners 'act to the highest standards'," he writes. "Does this include the defence practitioner who sent documentary 'evidence' (in fact invented and drafted by himself) from an internet cafe in Oxford Street to his opponent?"

Fair point. Until you discover that the barrister in question, who forged a law report to trap his unrepresented opponent, was only called to the Bar in 2004 and had done very little legal work. In fact, he had made his name, reputation and living as ... a TV writer and producer.

Methinks Mr. Moffat needs to pick his examples more carefully in future.