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Leave legal aid alone if you can afford a lawyer — Council

Monday, August 20, 2012 | 12:25 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Executive director of the Legal Aid Council, Hugh Faulkner, is imploring people who can afford to pay lawyer fees to refrain from using the services of the council.

“It does not make sense that you are able to afford an attorney and you deny someone else, even though we grant it, but let the funds be directed to someone who is genuinely in need,” Faulkner declared.

He was speaking at a media forum on Friday. 

Faulkner stressed that the legal aid programme is primarily for those who are detained but do not have financial means to pay for defence attorneys.

At the same time Faulkner, despite agonising over the abuse of the system, urged the police to advise all detainees that that they can access legal aid.

He warned that failure on the part of the police to do so could lead to sanctions:

“We are hoping that with the possibility of sanctions that the officers will take their roles more seriously, but for the most part we receive cooperation but there are always a few who would either disregard it or are indifferent as to whether the person is advised,” said Faulkner.

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