The kicking dished out by the Court of Appeal to HHJ Leonard QC yesterday was not unexpected. A stay of criminal proceedings is, and must be, a most exceptional remedy and it’s pretty difficult to justify when then State says it can and will provide adequate representation within the foreseeable future (although whether anybody else will regard the quality of this State-provided representation as “adequate” is another matter).
But Judge Leonard’s ruling was robust and courageous, and to him we at the Bar owe a significant debt of gratitude. He may well have foreseen as inevitable the appellate repercussions, but he succeeded in bringing a crucial issue squarely back into the limelight, even if only for a week or two.
I’m sure that he, like the rest of the Judiciary, is fed up with sub-standard advocates appearing before him bringing inefficiency and obfuscation to even the most simple of trials…
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