Part Three of my Solicitor's Guide:
If you have been unfortunate enough to be presented with a guilty client, a police officer who can string a sentence together AND a smidgen of prosecution evidence, you may find yourself and your hapless client in Court one day. Believe it or not, there is a high chance that your client will not show up at this stage, less than confident in your ability to quote the law better than the Magistrates' Clerk.
What to do if your client doesn't appear:
- Tell the Court he'll be here "in a few minutes". If you can use the word "presently", do.
- Find out whether any prosecution witnesses haven't shown up. If they haven't the case can be discontinued.
- Scour the file for a query you had asked the police to do six months ago and which has only been answered yesterday. No matter how irrelevant the query may be to your case, you can now claim an adjournment because you "haven't had time to prepare".
- Claim an abuse of process. If they ask exactly what process has been abused, just keep shouting "Abuse! Abuse!" and jabbing your finger down onto the desk.
- If at any stage someone suggests hearing the case in your client's absence, immediately demand that a warrant is issued for their arrest instead. Once arrested on warrant, your client will be released on bail and given another chance not to show up later in the year.
- If all else fails, wait until the Magistrates are out of the room discussing their options, grab your briefcase and leave the building. They will be unable to go ahead with neither client nor advocate and the case must be adjourned.
Next time on my Solicitor's Guide: the Juvenile Client.
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*Readers should not be misled by the term "award-winning". This Guide has never and will never win an award, the phrase is merely used figuratively.