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I broke the golden rule in criminal defence: the less evidence the better. And it is the client who pays when a barrister makes a mistake

By Alex McBride   November 2005

When a barrister makes a mistake, it is his client who pays, and in criminal law the price is often imprisonment. Nothing you say can make it better, as I discovered when Arthur, a 23-year-old client of mine, was charged with arson. On a drunken Saturday night, Arthur and some friends had driven to a half-built industrial estate to steal diesel for his van. The fuel caps on the diggers were all locked, so someone thought of burgling the temporary offices that had been erected on the site. Arthur smashed a window with his elbow, slicing his arm. The lads…

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