THE EDITOR: Time and again we whine about attorneys’ exorbitant legal fees in non-criminal matters. But considering their years of legal preparation and the financial expenditure to acquire their status in the justice system, their fees are probably justified.
But what if attorneys' duties were constrained to just that, non-criminal matters? What if there were no murders? What if we had just one armed robbery for the year? What if sexual abuse was unheard of? Okay, many of us have heard or probably even know of unreported instances, but what if sexual abuse was indeed nonexistent? What if there was little or no white-collar crime, state or private?
Sounds like wishful thinking, right? But aren't a lot of time, energy and finance disbursed by both state and private resources utilised in attempting to achieve this said goal? Hence, should there be a notable degree of success in crime prevention measures, exactly what would be the status of that faction (criminal defence) of the legal fraternity?
Obviously, it would not have the great demand it presently does. And, consequently, just like normal businesses, eg supermarkets, hardware stores, etc, would non-criminal services become competitive, possibly necessitating media advertisements for inexpensive services?
The mere fact that attorneys are in such great demand for criminal defence services that they can discretely dictate legal fees, while law-abiding citizens have no way of challenging exorbitant non-criminal legal fees, are criminals and/or criminal activities literally dictating attorneys's across-the-board legal fees?
Consider the state's financial burden of maintaining a substantial police presence for our relatively small population. Besides salaries, Police Service expenses include contemporary training, weapons, uniforms, vehicles and maintenance of such.
Then there’s the need for adequately trained and armed prison officers, added to the increasing concern for their safety and protection given the very nature of their duties. There’s also the costly upkeep of prisons and prisoners inclusive of electronic and physical surveillance, transport to and from court and meals.
In our desperate need for crime reduction, we must bear in mind that only a collaborative effort by our divided political parties can validate and execute laws that will significantly slash criminal activities. But then, if success is achieved in such a co-operative undertaking, wouldn't that then drastically reduce the criminal defence clientele of attorneys, thereby resulting in a lower demand for criminal defence services, which would then turn non-criminal legal services into a competitive business, thus compelling a radical reduction in legal fees? Aren't our law-making parliamentary circle saturated with attorneys? Have criminal defence services grown into an industry? Diehard red and yellow citizens are caught in a party-blinded/unco-operative leaders/crime-infested paradox. Few cognisant, most naive.