Defence lawyers can be unreasonable

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2011, 12:00am


Lawyers are expected to uphold the law, yet some of them cause a lot of harm to society. Some defence lawyers specialise in getting their wealthy clients off the hook through clever manipulations of the legal system.

Even criminals are entitled to a defence. Yet lawyers who actively seek to get murderers and other wrongdoers acquitted despite clear proof of their guilt are no better than the criminals themselves.

People who commit terrible crimes deserve to be in prison. Yet defence lawyers sometimes turn a blind eye to what is right and just. Instead, they dig up dirt on witnesses and police officers just to help their clients.

I understand that defence lawyers' duty is to protect their clients. Yet I wonder how they can be so indifferent to the truth.

In addition, by working to get known criminals back on to the streets, these lawyers are willing accomplices in any further crimes their clients go on to commit.

Kimi Tsoi

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Kimi. It might certainly seem as if lawyers who defend criminals are just as bad as the criminals themselves. But that is not so. The law says that someone is innocent until proven guilty. So even if we really believe someone is guilty, we still have to prove it.

Hong Kong law also guarantees people the right to a fair trial. It means that even if someone like Osama bin Laden was brought to trial, he would still be entitled to a capable defence lawyer to fight for him.

Yes, people who are rich can afford better lawyers and that does not make everyone equal in front of the law. Yet even if it is true that the legal system is not perfect and can be manipulated, it is still the best we can manage.

Susan, Editor