Edited by Barry Rider
Chapter 47: Defending individuals charged with white collar crimes – challenges and strategies
The advocate is not obliged to conduct a case in accordance with whatever the client, or when the advocate is a barrister, the solicitor, instructs him. Save for well established principles, like the defendant’s personal responsibility to enter his own plea, and make his own decision whether to give evidence, the advocate alone remains responsible for the forensic decisions and strategy. Case reports may tell us the outcome of the trial and any arguments taken but can rarely tell us the strategy decided upon and executed by the defendant and his legal counsel. On the rare occasions when the Court of Appeal does comment on the strategy evidently executed by a legal defence team, it is often to express a negative view of it or to refuse a ground of appeal brought by a defendant who has been convicted and now regrets the particular strategy which he and his barrister agreed upon. What is strategy and how is it learned? When a junior criminal defence barrister in England or Wales begins their training at Law School, they are taught to read the prosecution’s evidence, identify legal and evidential challenges, take the defendant’s instructions and put forward his defence by highlighting that which supports his version of events whilst undermining that which does not. This is not strategy, it is merely basic case preparation. In addition to the basic preparation of the case, a successful advocate will always develop a clear strategy for the case as a whole.
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