The Daily Telegraph reports that a £5 million fraud case has collapsed at Southwark Crown Court “after David Cameron’s brother [Alex Cameron QC] successfully argued before Judge Anthony Leonard QC that legal aid cuts brought in by his sibling’s government has led to a lack of competent defence barristers.” Romperredes has just received a full transcript of the proceedings:
SOUTHWARK CROWN COURT: 10.30am
Alex Cameron QC: It is my primary submission, Your Honour, that a fair trial cannot be achieved in this case.
HHJ Leonard QC: A fair trial for the defendants?
Cameron: The defendants? Good lord, no, Your Honour. Who cares about them?
Leonard [nodding]: A good point, well made, Mr Cameron. Help me, then. Who can’t get a fair trial?
Cameron: Isn’t it obvious, Your Honour? The barristers, of course!
Leonard [looking a little confused] Erm…..go on, Mr Cameron.
Cameron [raises eyes to ceiling]: Your Honour, no barrister can be found to defend this case………
Leonard: Well, we could adjourn the trial for a month or…..
Cameron: Your Honour, please allow me to finish. No barrister can be found to defend this case who is prepared to do it for less than £150,000.
Leonard [looking horrified]: What? I hope you are not serious, Mr Cameron. The submission you are asking me to accept is nothing short of disgraceful! Who on earth would expect a barrister to get out of bed for less than that?
Cameron: Precisely my point, Your Honour. It’s perfectly clear that those whose hands are on the purse strings haven’t the faintest idea about the price of good caviar these days.
Leonard: A good point, well made, Mr Cameron. My only problem here is that this is a serious matter. The public won’t like the fact that trials are collapsing because barristers won’t work for less than the price of a new Ferrari!
Cameron: The public? Who cares about them?
Leonard: A powerful submission again, Mr Cameron. But what about the Financial Conduct Authority?
Cameron [raises eyebrows}
Leonard: Quite, Mr Cameron. Who cares about them, either? [Muted sniggering on Counsel’s bench]. Well, Mr Cameron, I’m going to allow your submission and……..
[Prosecuting Counsel Mr Phineas Coalbucket rises to his feet to protest]
Leonard: I’m sorry? Who are you?
PC: Your Honour, I am prosecuting this case.
Leonard: Not any more, you’re not. Now sit down. [Proceeds to give court his ruling]. Having listened to the able and compelling submissions made by Mr Cameron, I agree with them. Now, it’s 10.33 and if I am very quick, I can just fit a round of golf in before lunch at the club. Meet you there, Mr Cameron?