It's a fair crop

Now, in Tulkinghorn's day, the job of a criminal defence lawyer was to try to get your client off, or at the very least reduce the charges to the barest minimum. But this, it seems, is no longer the case.
The Guardian reported recently on the case of its columnist George Monbiot, whose legal team has just secured a rather unusual victory. Monbiot stands charged, along with four other GM crop protesters, with criminal damage over the trampling of GM maize crops at a Flintshire farm last July. Monbiot had only been able to get the charges brought after taking himself down to the police station. Then the case had to be adjourned and sent to another court after it was discovered that one of the magistrates owned the field in question.
Now the defence has had an even more significant – albeit bizarre – victory. It has overturned one of the central planks of the prosecution's case – that £1,000 damage was caused. Monbiot's clever legal adviser – Michael Schwarz at Bindman & Partners – has been able to persuade the court that the damage was actually at least £5,000. Well done, chaps. Because of the value of the damages, this has now taken the case out of the hands of the Magistrates Court and into the threshold for a Crown Court jury trial.
Matthew Norman, writing in The Guardian, commented: “What a shame for George that we don't have the death penalty, just to give him a real target to aim at.” Indeed.
Advice to all those law firms providing advice to the Ministry of Defence: make sure it is accurate and don't overcharge. Roaming across the MoD's website, Tulkinghorn discovered the above picture of the legal adviser on procurement issues. He might be smiling, but there does seem to be a certain menace in his appearance, not least because of the gun he's holding so expertly and supported by a bloody great tank.