Never an easy way out

On the wall in my office is a photograph of Martin Luther King Junior, over the words of one of his quotations: “Our lives begin to end the moment we remain silent about things that matter.” It is a principle I live by – and one I often have to draw to the attention of clients. The criminal justice system can grind slowly.

When a client is on strict release conditions, or living with the potentially serious consequences of charges, she or he often wants the matter done with quickly. If the Crown presents what the client perceives as a “reasonable offer”, the client frequently wants to plead guilty, even though he or she is innocent. And that is when their lives begin to end, as they realize the consequences of a criminal conviction. Never, ever, plead guilty to something you didn’t do. Always speak up about things that matter. Dealing with things quickly and dealing with them properly are often two different things. And there is no such thing as a “good” offer for resolution for the person who is innocent.