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No legal aid for Hercules families

#1
THE families of British servicemen killed when a Hercules plane was shot down in Iraq will not receive legal aid for a forthcoming inquest.

The relatives of a 10th person - Australian airman Flight Lieutenant Paul Pardoel - who also died will receive financial help from their Government.

Two of the airmen were from Swindon - Flt Sgt Mark Gibson, 34, of Sparcells, and Master Engineer Gary Nicholson, 42, of Stratton. They and four colleagues from RAF Lyneham and two other servicemen died when their plane was shot down over Baghdad in January 2005.

advertisementSarah Chapman, sister of engineer Sgt Robert O'Connor who died in the crash, condemned the decision not to fund legal representatives for the families.

She told BBC Online: "I don't want to stand in a court-room and be barraged with information, I don't know what to do. The Government let those men down and they're still letting them down now and I want the public to know that."

A Board of Inquiry found the crash was caused by hostile ground-to-air fire which caused an explosion in the right-hand wing tank which in turn tore part of the wing away from the plane. But some relatives want answers to reports that the aircraft's fuel tanks could have been filled with a specially-designed explosive suppressant foam but were not on cost grounds.

Defence Secretary Des Browne could be called to give evidence at the inquest, scheduled for March.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Legal aid for representation is not usually available for inquests because an inquest is a fact-finding process to determine who the deceased was and when, where and how he or she came by his or her death. It is not a trial."

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/...2681.0.no_legal_aid_for_hercules_families.php
 
#2
Now,there's a suprise.

Had they been Muslims,ethnic minorities,chavs or especially asylum seekers/illegal immigrants legal aid would have been forthcoming.

And Cherie B*Liar would have been their high-profile cheer-leader.

The Socialist's answer to serviceman's families?,keep quiet,or preferably fcuk off.

Where's our glorious opposition when they're needed?.Off on some junket where the weather is nice and hot per chance?.
 
#3
No worries I am all over this, watch out for updates.

As of 6 Oct 2006, MoD had spent £560,000 on their own representation at military inquests, in the space of 2 years.

Not a penny to the families..
 
#4
Whilst on another thread, posters are avocating that three suspected terrorists (NOT UK citizens and not arrested in this country) being released from Guantanamo be given legal aid to sue the British Government for their incarceration.
 
#5
A widow earning a few grand a year in military pension payments is denied legal aid to assist in a 3 week complex hearing and yet these dangerous fundamentalists are allowed to live in Britain on their return and pocket thousands in legal aid.

What on earth is this country coming to?
 
#6
It was heartrending on BBC News 24 on Sunday watching Sarah Chapman in tears talking about how afraid she was about attending the inquest unrepresented while that poser Brown was swanning about the sandpit trying to make out he's the squaddies new best friend.
 
#7
Your all forgetting a very very important point here.....

These men died Serving their Country and as far as Politicians are concerned they are, alas, expendable and of no use to their Political/Financial careers

We need a new Political Party that puts the needs of Britain first but it wont happen
 
#8
O Christ. Another rant fest by the Mailist Hate mongers.

YOU DONT GET LEGAL AID FOR INQUESTS. IT IS NOT A TRIAL. If you want raise questions about fuel tanks and government negligence take out a private case against them on a conditional fee basis (ie No win, no fee for the real hard of thinking)

A claim for negligence is SEPERATE from an inquest which has strict criteria Who, How etc. Its to determine the circumstances of death. The other stuff comes later.

And I love the added extra of 'a bunch of scrounging foreigners have got their hand in the till'. Oh yeah? On what basis on God's green earth are they going to get it?

Since the beginning of means tested criminal legal aid began some months ago only dirt poor folks wih no spouse/partner are getting it. Its been cut to the bone and there's worse ahead for us Legal Aid grubbers. Representation orders have dropped 60 per cent, an 'accidental' saving of 180 million quid on the 35 they were hoping to save. Great job, Legal Services Commision.

I dont want to cry on parade because I went into the job eyes open. In fact I had the priviledge of meeting Paul at Lynham before he deployed as we sorted out a tricky 'riding a bike without lights' matter for one of his lads. And I have a fantastic Alsatian story the envy of my better paid Corporate colleagues. But it grips my sh*t when this crap is bandied about, when the real Legal Aid crime is that people are being denied access to 'justice' because no one gives a crap about crims/the poor.

Until its them. And pace Loveable Harry Redknapp, they cry like a bitch with a skinned knee.
 
#9
Great post, based on your logic why should tax payers pay for legal representation for the MoD at the self same Inquests?

Surely the very experienced coroner is unbiased and will make sure the truth comes out in the end?

What has the MoD got to worry about?
 
#10
Because those AGC-Legal types are all on salary. Its either complete level 6 on Solitaire at Uxbridge or swan about at an inquest in Oxford.
Its only up the road.....and they might 'miss something'.
 
#11
Actually they are employing city based lawyers, at extraordinary cost.

I am trying to find out what amount the legal aid application was for.

A lot of things are happening in the background, hopefully I will post it here as and when things firm up.

(Oct 06)"...But it can be revealed that they have been refused any financial help from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) towards legal representation at the inquest, despite the fact that over the past two years the MoD has paid lawyers almost £560,000 to represent the Government at 17 inquests into the deaths of servicemen between June 2004 and July 2006.

The MoD paid a team of lawyers £152,343 at the inquest into Pte James Collinson, the last recruit to die at Deepcut Army Barracks. MoD figures also show it paid another team of lawyers £72,815 during the inquest into the deaths of six members of the Royal Military Police, who were murdered by terrorists in Iraq in June 2003.

The MoD claims that because an inquest is a "non-adversarial fact-finding process of limited scope" there is no need for the families to have lawyers present – even though the ministry insists it will send a legal team to the inquest into the C-130 crash.


News that the MoD had refused to pay the families' inquest legal expenses was greeted with dismay and fury by MPs and relatives of the dead.

Gerald Howath, the Tory shadow defence secretary, described the MoD's ruling as "monstrous" and added: "It is unbelievable that the MoD is paying City lawyers vast amounts of money to represent its own interests but not giving the same access to families of dead servicemen.".....

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "This is not a complicated case. The C-130 was struck by a missile and it crashed. Legal representation is not necessary and it is quite appropriate for those deemed interested persons by the coroner to ask questions of witnesses at an inquest without legal assistance."
 
#12
Sadly, I'm not convinced. Those figures surely represent the salaries of the AGC or MOD lawyers. Why on earth would the MOD effectively pay twice for something they're getting for fr.....oh.



Harrumph. Still does'nt detract from my original point....
Mumble, mumble...REAL legal Aid injustice....Alsatian...
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#13
nigegilb said:
Great post, based on your logic why should tax payers pay for legal representation for the MoD at the self same Inquests?

Surely the very experienced coroner is unbiased and will make sure the truth comes out in the end?

What has the MoD got to worry about?
The Australian government will pay for a lawyer for relatives of Flt Lt Paul Pardoel at the inquest in March.
Hopefully the Ozzie will ask some loaded questions:

The Legal Services Commission, which runs the legal aid scheme, says the questions which will be asked by the Australian lawyer, combined with the experience of the coroner, should serve the interests of the British relatives.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/7134919.stm
 
#14
I'm sure there has to be expert help out there who would give freely of their time, if only to show this bunch of Muppets in the HoC for who they are!

How many more insults do they have to throw at the Servicemen and women before the rest of the UK population sees them for who and what they are!

Free the UK from this bunch of Republicans!
 
#15
Nige, Not sure if it will do any good, but I'm a lawyer in Canada. I'd be more than happy to help out the families with some of the legal work. While I can not practice law in the UK, I certainly can do any amount of legal research that they need.

If any of my learned friends from the UK are reading this, time to do that pro bono work we all intend to do at some point.
 
#16
nigegilb said:
Great post, based on your logic why should tax payers pay for legal representation for the MoD at the self same Inquests?

Surely the very experienced coroner is unbiased and will make sure the truth comes out in the end?

What has the MoD got to worry about?
Quite.

What IS the point?
 
#17
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "This is not a complicated case. The C-130 was struck by a missile and it crashed. Legal representation is not necessary and it is quite appropriate for those deemed interested persons by the coroner to ask questions of witnesses at an inquest without legal assistance."
........................
I'd love to shove my fist down this c.nt's throat. "Those deemed interested persons" is presumably MOD-speak for bereaved relatives. The lack of respect is staggering.
 
#18
niner_domestic said:
Nige, Not sure if it will do any good, but I'm a lawyer in Canada. I'd be more than happy to help out the families with some of the legal work. While I can not practice law in the UK, I certainly can do any amount of legal research that they need.

If any of my learned friends from the UK are reading this, time to do that pro bono work we all intend to do at some point.
ND, that is extremely kind of you. The response to Sarah's interview over the weekend has been astonishing. Plenty of QC's no less have offered their services, biggest problem at the moment is the lack of funds for the solicitor. I suspect the next thing that will happen is an appeal. I will let you know what happens after that.

I have written to the Defence Committee to find out how much the MoD has spent so far on lawyers.

Sadly, the Australian Govt are not paying for the Australian lawyer, another error by the legal aid technocrats.

I will post any developments on this thread, but thank you again for your kind offer.
 
#19
donmac said:
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "This is not a complicated case. The C-130 was struck by a missile and it crashed. Legal representation is not necessary and it is quite appropriate for those deemed interested persons by the coroner to ask questions of witnesses at an inquest without legal assistance."
........................
I'd love to shove my fist down this c.nt's throat. "Those deemed interested persons" is presumably MOD-speak for bereaved relatives. The lack of respect is staggering.
I know who was responsible for that statement, probably best if I don't tell you. All I can say is, nothing quite like looking after your own is there?
 
#20
ukdaytona said:
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Legal aid for representation is not usually available for inquests because an inquest is a fact-finding process to determine who the deceased was and when, where and how he or she came by his or her death. It is not a trial."

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/...2681.0.no_legal_aid_for_hercules_families.php
But funding can be made available on the following grounds:

Legal aid is not available to cover representation at an inquest under the mainstream legal aid scheme, although 'Legal Help' is available to those who who qualify financially, to provide legal advice and assistance before the inquest. However, in very rare circumstances, DCA Ministers may authorise legal aid for full representation at an inquest by way of an individual grant of 'exceptional funding'. This would normally be when Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights ('the right to life') is engaged so that a death is fully investigated. The most common category for this type of death is prison suicide, but could also include State killings, or severe failings by the State to protect life.
 

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