The Legal Aid bill is around £2 billion a year. The firm Tuckers takes a fair share of it, but its staff do more than a fair share of the work.
This documentary screened by ITV runs to around three quarters of an hour. Currently on iplayer for those who can receive it, The Briefs takes a look at the work of Tuckers, which according to the narrator, does more Legal Aid work than any other firm in Britain. Although it has offices in London and Birmingham as well, this documentary focuses on its Manchester office, largely on Franklin Sinclair, whom I have to confess, I have met.
Although the Mind Sports Olympiad started off in London, and is now back there, for three years it was held in Manchester. I competed in all these, and during one of them, I dropped into Tuckers to meet up with Sinclair, who was then acting for Michael Stone. Sadly, Stone decided shortly to change lawyers - and is still in prison - but from the little I saw of Sinclair I was very impressed, although I didn't realise he was also an aspiring DJ!
This programme was more than a year in the making, following an eclectic mix of Tuckers' clients, including a man who has a short temper; a former soldier who was facing charges relating to the riots of last August; and two teenagers who became murder suspects after an old lady died following what appears to have been a mugging.
These two were unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and as well as warranted attention from the police, received a great deal of unwarranted attention from locals who didn't realise there is no smoke without smoke. Happily, they have now been cleared because only last week, small time criminal Mark Royle was convicted of the murder of 79 year old Nellie Geraghty.
The former soldier was also cleared; his "crime" appears to be that he was drunk and curious. The man with the short temper was not so lucky, but three weeks behind bars certainly won't have done him any harm.
There was obviously a great deal more footage to this documentary than was shown, but to compress a year's filming into less than an hour is an impossible task. Overall though, it does show what you can expect from Sinclair and his team, should you be unfortunate enough to need their services.