THIS EXTENDED AMA WILL STAY OPEN UNTIL 20.15 SO THAT'S ANOTHER 6 MONTHS YET

My short bio: I was called to the Bar in 1976, became a Silk (QC) in 1999. I have only ever defended. I don't prosecute as the State already has enough going for it. http://www.topcriminalqc.co.uk/about-michael-wolkind-qc.html

My Proof: http://www.2bedfordrow.co.uk/_member/50

Comments: 399 • Responses: 111  • Date: 

barristerwannabe55 karma

What is the most outrageous thing you have said in open court?

MichaelWolkind86 karma

great question. have an upvote from me. My humour is always deniable. I remember a policeman who pleaded guilty to misuse of the police computer and he had researched Abul Hamzah and family. Now he was to go to Belmarsh where Hamzah was. I mitigated that the time there would be particularly hard as this case was bound to be publicized as any mention of that gentleman is a hook for the Press and they will keep one eye on the story. that was probably a 5 on my Outrageous Scale. Deniable cos of course I certainly didnt mean what I appeared to say., did I.

Dolphin_raper15 karma

Your grammar is atrocious. What do you have to say in your defense?

MichaelWolkind37 karma

I am a very poor typer and random computer American alternatives creep in as well. My grammar is great on my feet. I would, of course, have presented a far better defense if I could afford my own fees.

Dolphin_raper16 karma

I'm just going to assume you've been drinking Absinthe.

MichaelWolkind32 karma

why not a presumption of Ginocence?

Dolphin_raper11 karma

I rest my case.

MichaelWolkind9 karma

you are a superb writer, a dream arguer, and overall the finest human I have "met" today. seriously, very well done indeed

barristerwannabe48 karma

How do you do so much work? Surely you have some kind of super hero assistant?

MichaelWolkind70 karma

he thinks he is a superhero but given that he is now feeding me dolly questions instead of getting on with his work, it's debatable

MovieMarker32 karma

What are your thoughts on the current 'terror trial' being held in secret due to the nature of the case? Do you think this will set a frightening precedent and do you think it contradicts the basic principles of justice and transparency in the legal system?

MichaelWolkind40 karma

yes and yes. scary development

Not__A_Terrorist9 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind16 karma

we are waiting for the judgment of course. as much publicity as possible, as much outrage as possible

Not__A_Terrorist10 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind14 karma

I fear you are right but it can't stop the fight

20304815417 karma

The 2010 Chambers Directory calls him "incredibly mentally agile, a genius on his feet and a great cross-examiner"

Have you examined this one?

MichaelWolkind7 karma

explain the pic

Not__A_Terrorist5 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind29 karma

let's settle for an "alleged funny" . Deal?

Birdie_Num_Num6 karma

A swing and a miss

MichaelWolkind8 karma

it happens...

2030481542 karma

Jeez, they called you a "genius on your feet"?

I guess you must have been sitting down.

MichaelWolkind3 karma

all day!

Arrietta16 karma

Do you feel judges prefer blonde or brunette QCs?

MichaelWolkind39 karma

Thank you for raising this important point, which has troubled scholars over the years. it's vital for you to remember, Arrietta, that even witnesses with false teeth can still tell the truth

robbyarcane13 karma

Have you ever defended someone, knowing he/she is probably in the wrong?

MichaelWolkind34 karma

not quite knowing. I am not a witness and they don't confess

MovieMarker12 karma

Looking through your case history and who you have defended, there must have been terrible moral conflicts for you. I appreciate that you say you are not a witness and or a juror and therefore not obliged to make a decision on guilt, but for example Morss where a 6 y/o was killed. How do you keep your emotions from affecting your defence, even though you must have a natural response one way or the other to your clients guilt.

MichaelWolkind23 karma

Morss I remember well when I saw him in prison. My son was then the same age as the little boy, Daniel Handley, and just as blond and it was a poignant thought as I sat opposite him and thought that. But that is not a moral conflict

jcaseys3411 karma

Why do you choose to defend people who have done (or at least been accused of doing) such terrible things?

MichaelWolkind35 karma

once you believe in the idea that everyone deserves to be represented, it's simple. and once you are in the profession, step up for the hardest least attractive cases.

jcaseys3411 karma

Simple enough, I suppose. Thanks for the AMA!

MichaelWolkind14 karma

very welcome, it's been interesting and fun for me

20rakah3 karma

Is there anything about the way courts are conducted that you feel should change?

MichaelWolkind5 karma

here's a random proposal, minor in the scheme of things. defence should automatically be allowed to make opening speeches. it is something i strive to do in every case. most practitioners never do it throughout their career. the law currently only allows it if you are calling evidence as to fact apart fro the defendant. there are ways, there are ways

ep201210 karma

What is your secret to remaining unbiased and not assuming that people accused of such heinous crimes are guilty? (especially if something is all over the news). Thanks for doing the AMA

MichaelWolkind15 karma

it is easy because I dont stop and think about likelihood of real guilt. after all when I have been absolutely convinced of a client's innocence he can't get a free pass based on my opinion.

duttong10 karma

Have you seen the TV series 'silk'? is that similar to real like defence work?

MichaelWolkind15 karma

I haven't but I can tell you already, it's NOTHING like the real thing

ashsimmonds7 karma

More like Boston Legal then, except less tea.

MichaelWolkind13 karma

most people dont like seeing their own profession betrayed. above all, they would never capture the fun in the heart of the worst cases

Givemethesea10 karma

Could you explain that?

MichaelWolkind37 karma

a colleague and friend, sadly now passed on, was co-defending in a cut throat murder. My man accused of paying for a contract killing, the other defendant meant to have carried it out. Smith cross-examined my client about his police interview where he didn't answer questions but muttered just one word at the police, "prick". Smith criticized him heavily for that. My closing speech began something like "let us look at Mr Smith's prick. It's only a small thing. He tries to erect an argument" .... etc etc. Of course when it was his turn he tried to act outraged but in the robing room we collapsed laughing. providing barristers dont tell anecdotes, offer boom boom moments, then there is plenty of room for fun

duttong3 karma

thanks so much for the reply, What was it like getting silk?

MichaelWolkind7 karma

it was absolutely great. what a day

duttong5 karma

sorry to keep asking but i'm really interested, what are your views on the death penalty?

MichaelWolkind14 karma

the only death penalty appeal I appeared in ended with the surreal words "we humbly invite her Majesty to dismiss the petition". that meant someone I never met, far away, went to be executed. not because of that but I am against it and always have been. Fallible humans. Look how many Death Row prisoners have been released on new DNA evidence. Scary

duttong4 karma

Thanks so much, very enlightening. How did that appeal work? Was it someone who was a UK citizen but did a crime in US or something? Do you get massive stacks of paper for every trial? do you read everything?

MichaelWolkind14 karma

there is an art in reading masses of papers. I can imagine anything vital being missed, but you should know how to find the parts that matter. That case was a Privy Council appeal from Jamaica, British Law

nobody-likes-you7 karma

What's your charge out rate?

MichaelWolkind11 karma

somewhere between a lot and an an awful lot per hour.

I don't know if that was a serious question but if it was here's some information. A barrister can, but normally does not, charge on an hourly rate. more often there is an assessment of the work as a whole

discovolunte3 karma

I don't know how criminal barristers compare (I would expect their rate is lower) but commercial QCs in Australia charge up to $12k per day.

MichaelWolkind5 karma

Australia is a wonderful country. I say that as there is a possibility you are an Ozzy friend of mine.

king_walnut2 karma

Okay. So to be more blunt.

HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU EARN?

MichaelWolkind4 karma

to be equally blunt, and also in upper case,

NOT AN APPROPRIATE QUESTION

keyblade11717 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind4 karma

chance, I had no idea what to do and met someone who pressed me to go and sign up for college that very day, the last day for enrollment that year. I had previously been a newspaper reporter for a year and was useless

Not__A_Terrorist3 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind19 karma

Ham and High, the sacking came after I wrote the story of a local couple who won tickets to New York. Few people knew that City was the Capital of the USA. But I did.

torpedomon6 karma

I'm always interested in the world's perception of what the United States did in Guantanamo Bay. How would you have liked to see us adjudicate the 5 prisoners we just released this week?

MichaelWolkind12 karma

representing no view other than my own, based as ever more on liberal instinct than any great political knowledge, I was in favour. Luckily there was a clause in the contract that they promise to come back to prison if Bergdahl turns out to have been a deserter

letmepostjune226 karma

What do you believe have been the effects of the legal funding changes?

MichaelWolkind11 karma

dreadful awful, and dreadful again.

defendants acting in person, slowing down the proceedings, costing more than any savings. and the little side-effect of injustice

shocking politicking. look at how much I am saving

look at the cost

remechuckie5 karma

Did David Copeland treat you with any animosity given he is an neo-Nazi? Is there any famous case you really wish you'd had the opportunity to act for but didn't get the chance? Any progress on the death of Mark Blanco?

MichaelWolkind10 karma

Copeland was so drugged up by the time I met him, we didnt exactly form a relationship. the only time he ever mentioned Jews was in interview when he replied to police "we all have a bit of mongrel in us"

MichaelWolkind7 karma

Blanco is slow. One day, one day I am going to help Sheila, his mum, get there

neuropathica5 karma

What is the funniest (try not to laugh) moment you've had while court was in session?

MichaelWolkind17 karma

Drug trial, importation of a tonne of cocaine. witness an Italian gentleman, Mr Gini. Very strong accent. He ran a bureau de change where, for obviously innocent reasons, my client dealt with over £1million. He produced some documents

"Do you have any more documents, Mr Gini?"

"I have a daily shiit"

"That's very good, but do you have any more papers to show me?"

"I have a daily shiit"

"That really is excellent, but can we pop back to the case please"

Jury gone, Judge gone, Prosecutor gone, but I am the one on my feet and couldn't recover. Each time I began the next question the Court erupted.

Outside, the poor witness asked the Customs Officers, "why they laugh me?"

why indeed?

Donuil235 karma

As a North American who is exposed mostly to the American and Canadian legal system through popular media, could you provide us with a smattering of differences between the systems on either side of the pond. So far a lot of the things in the AMA have been Greek to me. (ie. what is the silk?)

MichaelWolkind13 karma

im no expert on your system! I have defended abroad but only in jurisdictions that share our system, like Cayman. Silk is the other name for QC, Queen's Counsel. We are selected from the ranks of barristers as a recognition of skill and experience. The Glamour Boys of the Legal Profession as they are called (but only by me)

Donuil233 karma

So is it just an honour? Or is that a duty involved, is it a new job?

MichaelWolkind8 karma

it's not a new job, but you will be offered cases that previously you wouldn't have been

RadioactiveWaste5 karma

Do you know Eric Glisson?

MichaelWolkind10 karma

I didnt but googled just now, sad story. 18 years

Not__A_Terrorist2 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind2 karma

I will, thanks

yeahnahmaybs4 karma

What is something you wish journalists understood when covering courts? /What is something you wish you could say to journos?

MichaelWolkind19 karma

I think journos do understand, especially the regular court reporters. but its so formulaic, they wont go near the best bits. weirdly enough the Telegraph of all papers reported my comments in the Ian Puddick case. he was the plumber whose wife had an affair with a rich City man and Ian set up fake websites to discredit the other. "The problem was that Puddick wouldnt take it lying down, unlike his wife who, sadly, did for several years"

OleaC4 karma

How prevalent is class discrimination in the legal profession now compared to when you began your career?

I ask this in the context that a school friend was hired by Nabarro Nathanson in the early 1980s, after three weeks of interviews in London with no offers (he is not an Oxbridge graduate, and a northerner).

MichaelWolkind9 karma

Hard for me to judge, surely less than it used to be when I started so long ago. even Judges are fairly often human these days (or at least partly human)

Lizm34 karma

I'm guessing you don't like many of your clients and may even find some abhorrent.. does that make it harder to defend them?

MichaelWolkind13 karma

hmm, I quite like a lot of them actually. I love meeting people, ordinary and extreme. I have never found any abhorrent, some of the worst ones I found sad, like David Copeland , the Nailbomber

Lizm33 karma

I hadn't thought of it in that regard - I guess people who do such awful stuff have terrible back stories or are just mentally ill so you can't really hate them for that kind of thing.

MichaelWolkind23 karma

and somehow, magically, from the start of the career there is a distance . I remember coming back from the Bailey one day, watching a news report thinking how awful a case was before I clicked that it was my current trial. not senility but a very useful detachment

ArissP4 karma

Seeing as you only defend and don't take any prosecution from the CPS, can I ask, what is your view on British policing? Whilst I know TV isn't accurate, most TV shows about the British legal system show defence council having a complete mistrust in the police and an almost hatred.

MichaelWolkind5 karma

no hatred, little trust!

ArissP4 karma

As a police officer I'm glad there is no hatred, but saddens me there is little trust. Could you expand on why you have little trust?

MichaelWolkind4 karma

hatred would be absurd! there would be no more untrustworthy police officers than barristers. police witnesses often have a starting point of defensiveness in evidence. Of course you may have meant not just as witnesses. I start with a presumption of innocence with all police officers but they are fallible and fall short

papa823 karma

Has there been times where you have questioned how some people can be so heartless, cruel and monstrous? Does this bring you down?

MichaelWolkind8 karma

quiet occasional moments, certainly. I like to think how I could have lived another life myself, untouched by the shit

Nanowith3 karma

Have you ever played the Ace Attorney series? Are they a good or bad thing in getting people interested in criminal defence?

MichaelWolkind6 karma

oh you mean 逆転裁 ? no, I have never heard of it before now

Nanowith3 karma

Yes, they've been released in Europe and the US many times. And they made me personally more interested in law (though they're HIGHLY inaccurate and over the top).

I just wondered what your thoughts on an exaggerated insight such at this are, is it making criminal law too small a deal, normalising it too much? Or is it something positive that could bring people into a career in law or just get people generally interested?

MichaelWolkind6 karma

anything that stimulates interest is good, later on and Reality will bite one way or another

Shaolin763 karma

What is your professional opinion on this case?

http://youtu.be/WgY4-qzCO5o

MichaelWolkind3 karma

ha!

dirralian3 karma

Many thanks for doing this AMA, it's very interesting to hear what you have to say. My question is; at the bar, what is the general attitude towards yourself and other barristers who only or predominately defend? Is there any animosity between yourselves and others who only prosecute?

MichaelWolkind5 karma

no. the tradition is that all barristers should do both. Only a few of us only defend. If i prosecuted I could hear myself cross-examining a defendant "would you like apologize to the Sate". wrong tone. defence counsel are often snipers.

dirralian3 karma

A follow up; in the light of the recent cuts to legal aid, and other factors which make entry to the bar seemingly much more difficult than life as a trainee solicitor, would you still recommend a career as a barrister to a new law graduate?

MichaelWolkind5 karma

if you absolutely feel it then you must. damn hard work but if you are a natural advocate what greater career

mod3ration3 karma

Have you ever felt guilty or ashamed after defending someone? Why?

MichaelWolkind8 karma

not at all. I just can't imagine the circumstances in which I could be. what do you have in mind?

LizzieRH3 karma

Do you have any rivalries with any particular prosecutors?

MichaelWolkind13 karma

I have to scrape hard to find a success against a particular friend and colleague of mine. I keep blaming the evidence. But for the confession, DNA, cell site, and 6 witnesses I would have won that- possibly, maybe. By contrast, another prosecutor, now a Judge at the Bailey, could never win a case against me. Never mind if the entire incident was on CCTV and his plans to kill already published in hardback, he could NEVER win against me. Now, that's my sort of rival

Boathead963 karma

What popular media (film, TV programme etc.) would you say most accurately portrays the system of what you do?

MichaelWolkind6 karma

I was really happy to have been involved with a play called Murder Joint Enterprise lat year. it won a BAFTA, beautifully directed by the Director of The Killing, Berger Larsen, the famous Danish series

MiG_Eater2 karma

Am I the only one whose BS detector is reading off the chart here?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

Yes

llosa2 karma

Do you think the law industry is oversaturated these days?

MichaelWolkind3 karma

nope. I have never thought of it as an industry

charliesaysno2 karma

I think your real calling is politics. Given it any thoughts?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

not for me at all, I don't do slogans. thanks for the thought though!

darkerswork2 karma

What is your opinion on the way the legal system treats the wrongly charged? Especially in cases that take a long time to get to court before being found innocent?

MichaelWolkind9 karma

awful on compensation. unbelievable society that deducts for bed and board when an innocent person is finally released

trollsting2 karma

Do you believe that graduating from a prestigious university i.e. Oxbridge makes any difference in your post-graduation opportunities as a lawyer? Does it, say, make you more "popular" with law firms?

MichaelWolkind18 karma

I get the impression it still matters with top Solicitor firms, and no doubt it does with certain top Chambers. I have managed to survive without any degree, although I am thinking of buying one from the Internet as soon as I have saved up enough.

Bearmodule9 karma

You're a very funny man.

MichaelWolkind8 karma

8 upvotes to you for perception and taste

ps I dont know what upvotes are. I am a Reddit virgin

coffeesalad4 karma

Upvotes are the only form of currency which is both sought after and inherently worthless

MichaelWolkind8 karma

I checked the markets and 5 upvotes = 1 stroke or 2.3648% Adult Ego

Jokon412 karma

From the states but studying law abroad right now now in Dublin and heading to Bangor, Wales this Sunday for our last week. Would be great if you could somehow talk with us!

MichaelWolkind11 karma

a relative once remarked to me that a friend had been in Scotland only the other week, and I thought hmm Scotland, London, not technically the same area. So I hope your Wales and Ireland trips are both great but not quite London. Also I am "somehow" talking to you at the moment.

OK, do I guess you mean you are part of a group of Law Students?

PianoVampire2 karma

What do you do if you have a client that yu are absolutely sure is guilty?

MichaelWolkind3 karma

try harder. nope, it's all the same. I don't stop and think about it. my personal view is unbankable. I have a job to do and the strength of the evidence may make it harder but raises no other issue.

domjeff3 karma

I defend those accused of murder, terrorism

How do you deal with that morally if you know they're guilty?

MichaelWolkind4 karma

I can never know. I'm not a witness to the event, and clients don't confess to me. There is no shortcut to an acquittal when I believe a client is innocent. No shortcut, and not even relevant, if I think someone is guilty.

gkidd2 karma

If a client confesses to you of a crime, but only to you. What do you do? Do you defend him or go to the police, or just don't defend him? If there's difference depending of the crime, please explain. Thanks

MichaelWolkind5 karma

the barrister is normally one stage removed from that. I wouldnt be with him at the earliest part of the investigation normally. Clients simply don't confess to me. The approach is the same regardless of the crime. If he was to tell me he is guilty I could no longer put forward a positive case. OT I could test the prosecution

gkidd2 karma

Oh, I'm not quite familiar with the roles of barristers. But since you're so long in the field, do you happen to know if that's the case with lawyers? That's for my previous question. Thanks for your response and this AMA!

MichaelWolkind3 karma

lawyers here is the generic term covering barristers and solicitors. I am sure that solicitors have the same rules

you are very welcome for this AMA

Homestaff172 karma

Does the current climate provide easier success within the bar for those starting off, than it did when you were granted entry in 1976? Or vice versa?

MichaelWolkind3 karma

you must know what a tough time it is these days for Legal Aid barristers, at least in crime. colleagues who do Legal Aid work are seriously struggling

Homestaff172 karma

Indeed. I completed my law degree and was almost instantaneously 'aware' that entering the bar would be incredibly difficult. Just from the negative media I had subliminally processed throughout the 3 years studying, I knew it wasn't a viable path and was never even encouraged by faculty. Poor show, but it has seemed to have saved me some trouble!

MichaelWolkind2 karma

good luck in all else

shannenchelsea2 karma

Hi there, thanks for the AMA! I was just wondering what your opinion on the death penalty was - especially as you defend people who in America would probably be eligible for that form of punishment. This AMA is great for me as this is the sort of career I'd love in the future!

MichaelWolkind4 karma

anti anti anti. btw I am anti!

MovieMarker2 karma

What is your proudest defence that has seen a client found not guilty?

MichaelWolkind4 karma

gosh, "proudest", never really thought of that. it all moves on so fast to the next case. My very first murder as a leader was in the mid 80's and Nicholas Boyce killed his wife, chopped her up, baked and boiled the parts. dropped her head off Hungerford Bridge whilst wheeling his baby in a push chair and holding his toddler's hand. i guess the 45 minute acquittal of murder was ok. He was a Law Student so beware of law students. I also really enjoyed the successful defence of the Greenpeace protesters the Kingsnorth6 , as it was so far away from my usual work. Innovative defence and great clients

Malbopi2 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind10 karma

here's a copy of my about me page on my own website and tell me if it fits with your previous experience

Michael occasionally enjoys a life out of court. His interests include a strange but devoted support of Barnet FC, an alleged soccer team. The Mighty Bees, having been accidentally relegated to the Conference a few seasons ago, repeated the trick again last year. Michael will do anything to see them promoted once more and has volunteered to play in any position the Manager chooses. Strangely this is one case where his services have not been urgently sought.

STOP PRESS- LAST DAY OF 2012 SEASON ESCAPE MICHAEL SAVES BARNET FROM RELEGATION After 45 mins the Bees were heading down to the Conference again. Michael's half-time submission rescues them as they storm back to win at Burton. We can now look forward to another year of wonderful mediocrity in League 2.

Michael is a practising Bereavement Counsellor, regularly working in the evenings for the Marie Curie Hospice Charity.

Michael lives in London with his partner, Justyna, who has several University degrees but refuses to share any of them with him. He has one son, two daughters, three dogs, and four friends (please note that three of the friends are his dogs).

Many years ago he had a goldfish, they still keep in touch by email.

Michael can speak several different words of Danish, and only sometimes confuses them with the several other words he knows in Polish.

Michael is also a qualified practitioner of both Reiki and Indian Head Massage (these services are not available to Legal Aid clients).

MichaelWolkind4 karma

a Facebook friend asked and I was happy to agree. it is a nice distraction from today's murders

Malbopi2 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind2 karma

I am sure there is still a strong pull towards being conventional. I think my own breeding days are over, so don't treat my profile as typical or encouraging others.

ICannotHelpYou2 karma

Something a little off topic, and much lighter than some of these heavy hitting questions, what car do you drive? What car would you like to own? (If you don't mind my asking)

MichaelWolkind2 karma

I am old and never been much into cars! I took a typical barrister route through BMW's and then Mercedes. One day I realized that I don't care about cars and I am a pretty useless driver. Currently- a Volvo mid-range. I rather liked the original Batmobile I saw in a Motor Museum on Cayman where I was recently working

Shrektony2 karma

Have you ever talk to the family of a murder victim whose murdere you were defending? (sorry for my english... its not my mother tongue)

MichaelWolkind3 karma

I always spoke to the family of the victims. that was way before they had family liaison officers and before the prosecution barristers were taught to do so. it's an instinct I had. almost always welcomed by the family. they know the difference between the toughest defender and one who is gratuitously hard. I have also been a bereavement counselor in recent years so have that interest

Shrektony2 karma

Thanks for the answer! Follow up: Have you ever had bad accounters with the families?

MichaelWolkind3 karma

When the jury were out in a murder trial, I was talking to the mum and sister of the boy who died, it was a very friendly conversation. The father came rushing over saying "leave him alone, he is only doing his job". Not quite a bad encounter but you reminded me of the dynamics of the situation.

I also recall at the Bailey that the sister of the victim did not ant to talk to me but after the conviction approached and said "I prefer you with your dark hair". My birthday celebration blond had grown out during the week of the case

Shrektony3 karma

Thanks! Very interesting. I always thought that the family would think that you're kind of an enemy since you try to defend the murdere of a loved one.

MichaelWolkind7 karma

they don't. fascinating, isn't it. people can interpret body language. I am not their enemy

MichaelWolkind3 karma

I am not a fan of lightweight magazines. A good idea to make fun of me but I deserved more style!

Gamerdomme2 karma

If you hadn't chosen this particular profession - what else would you be doing right now?

MichaelWolkind10 karma

stand-up comedian, particularly in the days before the job was invented. professional beleedin' heart Liberal, some sort of therapist. I have to say that I got tremendous satisfaction from my time as a bereavement counsellor

Daedaless2 karma

Is there any particular trial, during your own time as a barrister or a more historical one, in which you wish you could have taken part?

MichaelWolkind5 karma

sometimes I have read about cases where i think the primary injustice is that I am not involved. horse-racing corruption and I wasn't at the starting gate- ridiculous.

I don't think there were real trials just pre-determined summary hearings followed by execution, but how I would have loved to have represented army deserters. There was no understanding of the effect on soldier's minds to have served in the worst battles. The establishment could never have allowed acquittals.

Also the trail of the Chicago 7, now that was a hoot.

remechuckie2 karma

How would you feel if video cameras were allowed in British court like they are in the US? Do you think it would ever happen?

MichaelWolkind8 karma

yes, we are on the way. Supreme Court proceedings and some Court of Appeal cases are already filmed. I'm fine about it, drama queens will be quickly exposed. More importantly, for the Public, this would be a real service

trollsting2 karma

What do you think of jury nullification?

MichaelWolkind3 karma

you mean the jury taking a stance "against" the Law?

trollsting2 karma

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqH_Y1TupoQ


I guess so. What do you think of it as a defence attorney?

MichaelWolkind9 karma

I represented the only person in my jurisdiction to have ever pleaded guilty and been found Not Guilty. So, guess which way my vote goes

El_Gringo_Libre3 karma

Details on that case? I'm quite curious

MichaelWolkind18 karma

his name was Jennings. he was in fear of a guy who had attacked him earlier that week. he carried a knife. his brother told him Dixon was downstairs looking for him again. he drew his knife. his brother went to stop him. the knife went into his briother's heart. he pleaded nt guilty to murder of course. the JUdge ruled I had no defence to manslaughter. I disagreed but said he could plead to manslaughter and the pros would drop the murder. the formal procedure is then for the jury to convict him of manslaughter. he had pleaded guilt in front of the. they repeatedly said Not Guilty until the Judge discharged them from that case,and indeed from ever sitting on a jury again. I the had to go to the Court of Appeal, so finally got his acquittal of all. It was the most tense, dramatic, and emotional case I remember being in. The wife of the brother shouted from the Public Gallery that she had lost one and now didn't want to lose the other. Jury members openly argued with the Judge "no point in us being here if you keep telling us what to do". The Prosecutor was Barbara Mills QC, who later became DPP, and her junior was Ann Rafferty, now Lady Justice.

Spanghewer3 karma

If you don't mind my asking, would you happen to have a citation for this case? It sounds like it would be an interesting one to read. Thanks!

MichaelWolkind10 karma

i don't. I have a transcript which I copy every now and then to give to people I meet and like. it reads wonderfully, parts like FOREMAN OF THE JURY "IF YOU SEND THIS BOY TO PRISON IT WILL RUIN THE FAMILY" ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE JURY "HEAR HEAR"

Digitaldude5552 karma

What do you consider an interesting crime?

MichaelWolkind5 karma

although I have acted in many professional crimes, I have a particular liking for tragedies, cases with strong psychiatric issues, novel areas of law. and although I rarely think about the truth of the allegations sometimes I catch myself wondering.

I also love cases where I can see my way to an apparently perverse acquittal

comeonmebrah2 karma

In your opinion, is the billable hour killing the chance for ordinary people to access legal representation?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

Hello, I dont quite understand your question. Tell me more of your thinking

Not__A_Terrorist2 karma

[deleted]

MichaelWolkind3 karma

how can I help?

Shaolin762 karma

  • Who presented you with your red bag?
  • What's the most amusing and/or shocking anecdote you are allowed to share when the judge has cleared the court?
  • Have you ever caught a policeman in a brazen lie on the stand?

MichaelWolkind6 karma

no red bag. I jumped rather quickly into leading so I didn't have the opportunities to impress a leader.

hmmm, you can't have one of those but you might like the time when the High Court Judge invited a drunk/drugged prostitute witness to sit up with him as she couldn't be heard properly. slurring, mumbling. she sat up on high next to him, collapsed on the bench, head buried in arms and said "can I 'ave a drink". The moment he was pouring her a glass of water was classic. He denied my claim, when I next saw him out of court, that she actually whispered "you want the usual, Sir Geoffrey?"

Brazen Lies- oh, yes

redroverster2 karma

This is so British:

"Brief-bags are now either blue or red. Blue bags are those with which barristers provide themselves when first called, and, in some jurisdictions, it is a breach of etiquette to let this bag be visible in court. The only brief-bag allowed to be placed on the desks is the red bag, which by English legal etiquette is given by a leading counsel to a junior as a reward for excellence in some important case. This is still viewed as one of the great traditions of the bar. The red bag is embroidered with the junior barrister’s initials and a handwritten note of thanks is usually placed inside the bag. In many jurisdictions, the receipt of a red bag from a silk is seen as a right of passage for a junior barrister."

MichaelWolkind2 karma

A better answer than we would have got from blueroverster

jimicus2 karma

Hi Michael,

I imagine with some of your clients, the evidence against them is so strong about all you can do is damage limitation.

With that in mind, do you think I should change my car now or leave it until next year? My car is a 2008 Hyundai i30 with 67,000 miles on the clock and I've recently changed jobs so I'm driving a lot more.

(Yes I know you're a barrister. But I trust a barrister I've never met more than a car salesman.)

MichaelWolkind3 karma

i think you should swap your Hyundai for a young barrister with no more than 30 years on her clock. If you subsequently, and tragically, have a domestic dispute with her, please consult your nearest second-hand car salesperson

redroverster2 karma

What did you think of the RC v Gul case? What did you think of Tim Moloney QC? Is he one of your competitors?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

I googled Tim and recognise him. I have never been in a case with him and he is a lot younger than me. Even if he had the same experience I have never seen others as competitors. Plenty of great work to go round.

Gul decision was hardly a surprise. There was no real basis for arguing that Section 1 of the 2000 Act should be read restrictively.

lambinthesun2 karma

What has been your most challenging case thus far?

MichaelWolkind9 karma

why don't I know the answer to this! I find any case where the files are out of order challenging. If anyone had used a highlighter on my papers- disaster. Now, any case with pristine bundles- no problem. Not what you were thinking of, I expect!

when I have represented a person I am convinced is innocent, but really innocent, there is a special weight. Those are MUST WIN cases.

Chickendipper691 karma

What advice would you give to a prospective BPTC candidate starting this year?

MichaelWolkind1 karma

Listen carefully to everything you are taught and remember you will later learn how it really is in practice

SerieFan1 karma

I want to be a lawyer, maybe in England. What was one of the most interesting cases you had to do? And which movie/tv serie/documentary is the most accurate of your job?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

I don't watch Legal dramas, at least not English ones. I don't think I would have the energy to shout non-stop at the screen each time they softened the reality.

The appeal for the Norfolk Farmer Tony Martin was good. Years ago at the height of anti-Libyan feeling here (something to do with the bombs being planted in the Capital, maybe)I enjoyed the acquittal of a pro-Gadaffi student. The Greenpeace Kingsnorth 6 protestors was so interesting. Climate Change as a defence to causing Criminal Damage. Representing a rabid anti-semite politician

FootyTipster1 karma

Is it true that you ( as a QC) can't sue people for not paying their bill?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

certainly changed with Direct Public Access where we have contracts

PComotose1 karma

Law & Order:UK or Scott and Bailey?

MichaelWolkind2 karma

I promise if I understood your comment, I would reply

Made_Of_Outer_Space1 karma

You say you never prosecute, but have you ever been tempted or come close to prosecuting any time in your career?

A chance to be part of a high-profile case (I'm thinking early on in your career)? Or a situation where you didn't have a better pick of cases you can do? Or are you part of chambers that never prosecute?

MichaelWolkind3 karma

I have only been in chambers that both prosecute and defend. I wasn't tempted. Of course I understand the thinking that you learn from prosecuting, and in a way that will help your defence practice. Just not for me

davidedangelo1 karma

Hi, what are in your opinion the pro and cons of common law in respect of civil law?

MichaelWolkind5 karma

hi, the little law I know is limited to crime. I have trespassed very rarely into civil