Role of a Criminal Defence Lawyer

The Criminal Defence Lawyer

“He is the front line fighter for the rights of the citizen he represents.” The criminal defence lawyer

is the fighter for the accused when society, the media, and even the families are convinced of their

guilt. By taking this role, the defence lawyer is often judged along with whom they are defending,

creating misconceptions on the role of a defence lawyer one that is “little understood and often

unpopular!”, but still one worth to be defended.

The New Zealand law society regulates lawyer’s actions by the “Rules of Professional Conduct for

Barristers and Solicitors.” These rules dictate a lawyer’s behaviour, upholding integrity for their

profession and reflect the rights of advocacy as a defence lawyer. These rules prohibit for instance

a lawyer refusing to represent someone on the basis of their personal objections to their client’s

alleged actions. Lawyers have the duty to be available to the public and failing to do this is a breach

of the rule 13.13(a) which states a lawyer “must put the prosecution to proof on obtaining a

conviction regardless of personal views on his or her client’s guilt or innocence.”

Criminal defence lawyers are judged along with those they convict when guilt is known or presumed

by the public- “yet suspicion is not sufficient to convict.” Mike Bungay puts it like this, “My concern

isn’t with guilt or innocence. My concern is that a client has a proper defence, properly put to

the jury!” Criminal defence lawyers have the ability to look at the law like Oliver Wendall Holmes

Jr suggests a s the “bad man”. These lawyers are able to divorce themselves and their personal

objectives from the case only to deal with the facts and the law of the case. This is a skill which the

majority of the population does not possess. Criminal defence lawyers have a duty to stand up in

front of the judge and court room and confidently defend their client,...