In the domestic visits room at HMP Victorian Holiday Camp. The remand prisoner is talking to his girlfriend. On the previous day he had been before the court for his Plea and Case Management Hearing.
“So right, this guy comes to the cells to see me with all the gear on and is like ‘I’m gonna be your brief.’
So I was like, you know, trying to work him out so I went ‘you gonna get me off?’
But err he looks at me and went ‘well we’ll have to see’
Now you knows me babes. Always thinking. So I ask him about what is going to happen. You know, how things’ll go. Talks about stuff for a bit. Always mentioning me pleading guilty. And I am like ‘hang on, does this guy know what he’s doing?’ You know, like to myself.
So I decide to ask him. ‘Look I don’t know you’ I goes ‘how do I know you just aren’t chatting shit?’
He starts telling me about someat that was like Quaver or someat. Something about these dudes being graded. But he tells me, dead straight like, that he is a ‘Plea Only Advocate’ and that we are there for plea and so this is right up his street and has been like approved to do exactly like this sort of thing.
We carry on talking and then it hits me that something he said sounded a bit wrong. I goes ‘what does Plea Only mean?’. ‘I only do pleas, Not Guilty or Guilty, and other stuff,’ he goes ‘but not trials’
I am doing my nut now. ‘I am going to want a trial’ I tells him. And then he starts going on about being here to advise me about whether to have a trial or not.
‘So yous is like a driving instructor who can’t actually drive?’ I went. Proper shut him up it did.
Then he starts telling me how he has done trials in the mags. I stops him. ‘I have had trials in the mags,’ I goes, ‘but don’t go giving me you your hat and cape and ask me to go and do the trial.’
‘Its alright’ he tells me, ‘I am applying to go up to being graded to do trials’
Then he goes ‘in fact your Judge today is one of the Judges who is going to help decide if I get the nod.’
Then I’m thinking, ‘hang on, that’s not good’ so I says to him ‘what if you do something to piss her off, what if you proper fall out with the Judge?’
And he just looked at me. For like, forever. And then just said ‘I won’t fall out with her’.
‘But what if she is pure wrong? What if she is just giving me a kicking? You are going to be bricking it that she’ll give you a bad mark.’
More looking at me. And he just goes, in like a dead small voice ‘No I won’t.’
‘What’s the point?’ I asks him, ‘what’s the point of this Quaver thing?’
‘To make sure you get quality representation.’
‘And if I have a trial?’
‘Well,’ he goes, ‘ you will have a different quality advocate’
So I says ‘and if I get this right, the people who decided who the good people are is the Judges? Don’t get me wrong bro’, but me and Judges don’t tend to agree about much. It would only be worse if the police got to choose.’
And he like just shrugged his shoulders and said that we are where we are.
‘Does the Judge also get to decide who prosecutes the case too?’ I asked.
‘Nope,’ he says ‘Judges wouldn’t get involved in that’ and then he banged on about something about being impartial and someat about an arena.
So anyways we talked some more and I decided to plead guilty. But only a bit guilty. Not to everything the police says I done. So we have been put off for what he called a trial of issue. Which apparently isn’t a trial. So he can do it. I think. And we are stuck with the Judge he wants the good marks from.
So my bleedin’ case is turning in to the X-Factor. I get a one way journey to the cells whilst my brief has one eye on the Judges’ buzzer.
Dun’t feel much like quality.
So, what’s up at home?”