Guilty or Not Guilty

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Witwe Bolte (also no lawyer) A sad piece of local news about the murder of 49-year-old taxi driver Michael Okonko-Nwosoa in Abbey Wood, South London, made me think (BBC):

Suppose I had robbed a bank, and initially gotten away with it. I am a master of disguise and was clever enough to hide the monies so that they aren’t found. The police’s got a hunch though, and arrested me for questioning. While they have found the bank robber, they don’t have hard evidence. Of course, I deny all charges.

I call a lawyer. So, now what?

Should I play innocent and pretend being a victim of an unfounded arrest? I’d weave a net of lies for my lawyer to balance on. Given that he or she is busy searching further proof of my innocence, and that I have somewhat limited resources while behind bars, my lawyer is likely to stumble and find out the truth sooner or later.

Or, should I put the cards on the table with my lawyer? Admit guilt under four eyes, so that the lawyer can skilfully try to prevent any proof of guilt by the prosecutor? Would that not put the lawyer into a dilemma, from where is only one morally sound solution: unveil my secret (against my will), and work towards a mild sentence.

I am no lawyer and know little about the legal profession. Maybe one of you knows this: does the system require that a defence lawyer claims innocence even when knowing the opposite is true? How far is a defence lawyer legally allowed to deflect and prevent the prosecution from discovering the truth?


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