Rights threatened, says crime ace

Civil rights are being sacrificed for crime control, a leading UK white collar crime lawyer has claimed.

Peters & Peters senior partner Monty Raphael, chairing an IBA session on commercial fraud, said there was “more and more emphasis on repression,” in efforts to control crime.

Acknowledging that “a price must be paid to confront lawlessness,” he asked “how will we judge the price is too high?”

Raphael said that the UK has witnessed “a massive erosion in the right to silence,” which was not directed at organised crime but at business crime.

On a similar theme, Albert J Krieger, lawyer of mafia boss John Gotti, warned of the danger of undermining the defence. He said while he understood it was difficult for some people to differentiate between the legitimate duties of a lawyer and the furthering of interests of criminal organisations, everyone had a right to counsel.

Of his representation of Gotti, he said: “I knew I would be furthering the interests of criminal enterprises by affording him a vigorous defence.”

He said that there was a thin line and that in some US states, defence lawyers were becoming increasingly unwilling to undertake such cases.

Kreiger said he had been in the business for 47 years but if he was at the start of his career again, he would not want to do the same work. But he implored the audience on returning to their countries to speak about limiting individual liberties and rights. They should “rise in great voice and great measures” and “seek to preserve individual rights,” he said.

Also speaking, Bruce Zagaris of Washington firm Cameron & Hornbostel said that the globalisation of technology and the entry of countries onto the international financial arena created opportunities for crime.

Zagaris quoted a list from credit card fraud to telemarketing fraud and added that there were also allegations that some states are participating in types of commercial fraud.