The idealist in me thinks that barristers have a noble profession. In our relatively advanced legal system, they are critical in ensuring that justice is done. Anybody who stands accused in a court of law deserves a learned advocate fluent in the language of that court.
This unfortunately means that a lot of bad people get acquitted of crimes they certainly committed, and it can’t be too easy to sleep at night if you were their barrister and you thought they did it. Well remunerated you may be, but the damage done to your conscience must be immense.
They probably justify it to themselves by recognising that it’s up to the police to gather evidence, and the prosecution to present it convincingly. Their job is to offer a defence, not to assign guilt or make moral judgements.
Still, it’s undignified to defend the undefendable. Take this grotesque story. Anthony Glass (QC), defending, said, with a straight face, “It is, you may think, a very unattractive defence. He did not know she was dead until intercourse was concluded.”
He might as well have said ‘the defendant was walking home and saw a heavily bleeding woman unconscious in the street, so he stopped to help, but his trousers fell down and he slipped and fell…’
SURELY there comes a point where the facts of your case are so incriminating that maybe you should consider, y’know, pleading guilty.