Maz JP wrote:Spankymonkey wrote:I guess you haven't been in a police station for a number of years Shootist. In reality, all the OPs friend is likely to get is to speak to a paralegal at CDS Direct.
I'm rather sure that this is nowhere near a universal truth, but would like to know whether there is some truth in it?
Duty Solicitors are the unsung heroes of the legal world imo.
I never laid claim to it being a universal truth Maz. However I'm sure you will be able to do your own research on the matter, given that you place no value in mine.
CDS Direct is provided to detainees at a police station for less serious offences such as drink-driving, non-imprisonable offences, breach of bail and voluntary attendance. Request to see a duty solicitor will be denied by both the police and CDS direct under such circumstances. The police will not volunteer information to the detainee that he can request a solicitor if he pays for one. But even then he will be forced to make this request through CDS where he will be sent on a merry-go-round between different call centres.
If you have to speak to one of the CDS call agents on the phone they will attempt to advise you. Most of them are paralegals. Allegedly some of them are law students. The advice they give is vague, patchy and lacking.
Most detainees who are bulldozed into using the service will just accept it without challenge. They won't understand, that they have a statutory right to consult a solicitor and that they are being denied that right. The police certainly won't be telling them this. Nor will anyone at CDS. Nor the duty solicitor, because they won't be seeing one.
Don't take this as an insult Maz, but I am surprised that you are unaware of this. Given the fact that in all likelihood you have dealt with many a non imprisonable offence where police interviews have been entered as evidence, despite the fact that the defendant was denied their rights to a free solicitor, and undertook the interview unrepresented.
I see nothing heroic about duty solicitors who are, after all, just doing their job. They don't work for free and are paid very well to be in attendance. It is also a good opportunity to get clients. Some of them will also do double shifts and it is not unusual to have one roaming the halls of the police station, having been on duty for a full 24 hours.
They also have a very matey attitude to the police officers they work among, and this can appear to be very disconcerting to those who are left with no other alternative except to use a duty solicitor.
In my opinion a true hero of a duty solicitor would be one that elects to see a detainee who has been palmed off with a CDS call handler. But as they won't get paid if they represent such a detainee, then I doubt there will be many heroes coming forward.