Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Legal, but not ethical

Published:Thursday | May 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM


"No client of mine has ever confessed to murder," said Valerie Neita-Robertson, attorney-at-law, in The Gleaner's Letter of the Day, May 3. No earth-shaking revelation here.

Every day, self-professed saints call down God from heaven to proclaim their innocence. It's tough being God. Scoundrels, liars and con artists they may be, but until a truth machine is invented, they are entitled to have their day in court and judged by our legal system. Lawyers constantly remind us that all persons are innocent until proven guilty. We are also reminded that unless the prosecution offers enough evidence to persuade a judge or jury to convict, the defendant is not legally guilty. Whether he committed the crime is unimportant. It is what the prosecution can prove or unable to prove that determines the guilt or innocence of the defendant.

But what if the lawyer KNOWS his client is guilty based on factual evidence, but states that his client did not commit the crime? Wouldn't it be unethical for the lawyer to continue to represent his client who he knows is guilty? Wouldn't it be right to withdraw from the case? But, lawyers are human and subject to the temptations of mammon and some will no doubt ignore what their consciences dictate, and forge ahead.

Is justice served? My friend, what is legal isn't always ethical.