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Offenders to Pay the Courts

In a press release last week, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has announced that from 13 April, people convicted of an offence may have to pay up to £1,200 towards the cost of their court case.

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Those who plead guilty at the earliest opportunity will pay less than those convicted after a trial, which, may encourage people to admit to things they have not done to avoid financial implications at a later date.

This is a ‘double whammy’ to many who, having paid a solicitor privately to secure an acquittal, can then only recover what they have paid out at ‘legal aid rates’ roughly equating to a ‘tax’ of two thirds.

The courts already have the power to award prosecution costs, fines (which have recently increased) and compensation orders in addition to the statutory victim surcharge. Personally, I see daily that this goes unpaid resulting ultimately in custodial sentences for ‘wilful neglect’ which ultimately costs more in the long run to imprison people.