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A defendant should pay for new legal team

Published 02/11/2011

Full marks to the PSNI, Public Prosecution Service, judges and juries in the recent murder cases of Jennifer Cardy and Maire Rankin.

However, surely a justice system (as in the Maire Rankin case) which allowed the accused, Karen Walsh, to change her legal team on no fewer than four occasions at the taxpayers' expense requires a review.

Karen Walsh deliberately and cynically manipulated the legal aid system in Northern Ireland, causing much delay and further pain and disruption to the victim's family - never mind incurring significant additional expense.

As a result, it has taken two years and 10 months to deliver justice in a case which appeared to be clear and obvious in the aftermath of such a gruesome murder.

Any review should conclude that the defendant may only change legal teams at their own expense.



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