Last minute change of lawyer

My sister had a run in with the Police roughly 15 years ago. When we went to see a lawyer he informed us that he personally knew one of the officers involved in the incident but assured us that this would not affect his representing her in any way.

On the day of the court date, we went to meet him in one of rooms at the court house only to be met by another lawyer who informed us that the original lawyer had decided that he had a conflict of interest and couldn’t represent her. To find this out – on the day without any prior notification – left us feeling like we’d been duped and dumped on a stranger with whom we only had about 5 mins maximum before heading into court. The second lawyer’s major contribution on the day in representing my sister was to put her on the witness stand and make her admit to the charges.

The whole experience made us feel that we’d just wasted our time and that the original lawyer was more concerned about his relationship with Police than representing my sister.

Our attitudes to the criminal justice system since then have effectively become one of resignation as we’ve come to believe that there’s no point in trying to defend charges in court – we’re better off just pleading guilty (regardless of circumstance) in the hopes of receiving a lighter penalty by ‘co-operating’.