This series of Prisoners’ Wives continues. Apparently there are only four episodes this time, so we’re half way through.
We’re not drama or TV critics, what we wanted to do is look at how accurate, or otherwise, it was as a portrayal of ‘real life’. Last week’s write-up is here.
As we said, the main focus of what we will be looking at will probably be Mick and Kim. Mick has been accused of a serious child sex offence and is on remand.
The first klaxon was Kim meeting the lawyer. The lawyer said words to the effect of “it’s a legal aid case, paid by the hour, so she can’t afford to investigate.”
This isn’t accurate. The situation for someone trying to show that they are innocent is worse. There will be a fixed fee – the lawyers will get the same amount however much or little work is done on it.
The exact amount the lawyer will get depends on how many pages of evidence there are and how long the trial is (you can see the tables to calculate this here). Here, it may be that the solicitor will get as little as £2,500. This includes the bail application that they did at Court as well as all the investigation.
Whilst £2,500 may sound a lot, when you consider the overheads of running an office and paying staff, you can see one of the reasons why miscarriages of justice happen – there is a huge incentive to do as little work as possible.
Mick here is lucky having a wife who is supportive and prepared and able to investigate the case on his behalf – many people do not have that.
Nowadays the police do not have the time (or often the inclination) to investigate even serious cases, at least to provide ‘exculpatory’ evidence – evidence that may help the defence. Forget what you’ve seen on CSI, it just doesn’t happen. This is also a potential source of miscarriages of justice.
Kim does have to be careful if she starts speaking to witnesses (as she found out). It is unlikely that she would have been arrested for Kidnap and Perverting the Course of Justice. The more likely offence would have been ‘witness intimidation’ (see below).
At the end, Mick’s lawyer says that it is now one person’s word against another, which is enough. That is not correct, as plenty of people in prison will be able to tell you.
It is an offence to:
- intimidate someone
- intending that they are to be intimidated
- knowing that that person is ‘assisting an investigation’, is a witness or potential witness, or a juror
- and intending that as a result of that that “the investigation or the course of justice to be obstructed, perverted or interfered with.”
There is a separate offence if it is done after the trial. The maximum sentence is 5 years.
This is seen as a very serious offence. It is not likely that the CPS would have taken no action in the circumstances.
Mobile Phones and Adjudications
Despite being prohibited in prison, there are plenty of mobile phones around. Someone caught with one will face a prison adjudication. We will have a look at that in more detail, but the official publication dealing with them is here. There is also a good factsheet from the Prison Advisory Service here.