- April 1, 2016
- Posted by: AtmLogin
- Category: Informational Blog
This is something that I intimately understand.
I was given the idea for this blog posting by the interview given by Marie Henein (the now infamous lawyer for Jian Ghomeshi) with Peter Mansbridge.
It is also something that no one talks about because people charged with crimes, especially in this day in age where you can give your opinion to half the world over social media, are immediately stigmatized.
Being charged with a crime is an incredibly stressful experience. The court process is almost impossible to navigate by yourself and people within the system (police officers, lawyers, judges, courtroom staff) can be curt and dispassionate.
Also- consider- you have all the weapons in the arsenal of the state being used against you:
- Police officers- who are often given a level of credibility because of their position,
- Crown Attorneys- who are paid (handsomely) to bring people to justice
- Media personnel- who will publish what is happening in the courtroom whether you like it or not.
That is why I believe that defence lawyers have a duty to treat their clients with compassion. Many clients are suffering from mental health and addiction issues. They have deep seeded mental or physical pain that they are treating with substances instead of seeking out psychological care. They have come from backgrounds where they didn’t really have a chance in the first place- being neglected and abused from a young age.
Accused persons need to be treated just as that- persons.
The court process is a traumatic process- I believe that psychological professionals should be available for ALL persons (victims and witnesses included) who go through a court case. Wouldn’t this assist in overall harm reduction?
Courtrooms can be considered valleys of tears. Witnesses cry, accused persons cry, and spectators cry. It would be helpful if people could speak to mental health professionals after experiencing our judicial system.