RACIAL INEQUALITY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

Weds 19 August

The death of George Floyd in the United States has sparked protests across the world and, again, reignited discussion of structural racism in society and the criminal justice system in particular. This is not a new issue: 22 years ago, the Macpherson inquiry following the murder of Stephen Lawrence concluded that the Metropolitan Police were institutionally racist. The 2017 David Lammy Review found that BAME defendants had worse outcomes than their white counterparts at every point throughout the criminal justice system.

This panel discussion will focus on the experiences of our clients within the criminal justice system, from the disproportionate use of stop and search against BAME people, to disparity in outcomes and sentencing.

We are fortunate to be joined by inspirational junior lawyers working within both criminal law and police and prison law to discuss their experiences.

 
 

SUMMARY

Here's a summary of the meeting

 

SPEAKERS

CHAIR: KATIE MCFADDEN

Katie is a trainee solicitor at at GT Stewart Solicitors and Advocates. She has recently moved to the civil liberties team, having commenced her training contract in criminal defence. Prior to this, Katie spent two and a half years working as a paralegal in criminal appeals, working on appeals to the Court of Appeal and applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.


Katie has a particular interest in indeterminate sentences of imprisonment or detention for public protection and cases involving joint enterprise. She undertook an internship at the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge tribunals, working in the Supreme Court Chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia on an appeal of a case involving war crimes and crimes against humanity, of which a key feature was the concept of joint criminal enterprise in international law. 

Katie is one of the co-chairs of Young Legal Aid Lawyers, an organisation of junior lawyers in the legal aid sector, which campaigns for a sustainable legal aid system, access to justice and social mobility within the legal profession.

ALEXANDRA WILSON

Alexandra is a barrister at 5 St Andrew's Hill specialising in criminal and family law. She has been praised for her excellent client care, her meticulous preparation and advice. She represents clients with the utmost professionalism and proficiency.


Alexandra’s criminal practice is in the Magistrates’, Youth and Crown Courts. She has recently secured acquittals for clients charged with domestic assaults and public order offences. Alexandra has a busy criminal practice where she has gained familiarity with cell-site and other electronic evidence. She is interested in the legal issues surrounding the use and misuse of data, technology and information. Alexandra has represented a variety of clients in criminal cases charged with serious matters and specialises in young and vulnerable clients.

Alexandra’s first book, 'In Black and White: A Young Barrister's Story of Race and Class in a Broken Justice System’ will be released on 13 August 2020. The Secret Barrister called Alexandra’s book: "an absolute triumph; a compelling and courageous memoir forcing the legal profession to confront uncomfortable truths about race and class in our justice system. Alexandra Wilson is a bold and vital voice."

MICHAEL ETIENNE

Michael is a barrister at No.5 Chambers with a broad practice spanning: public law and human rights, actions against detaining authorities and inquests.


In the criminal justice context, he represents individuals in civil actions against the police, is an active member of the Police Action Lawyers Group and has written on issues affecting police accountability.


He represents prisoners in adjudications and hearings before the parole board. In the last year, he has succeeded in applications for judicial review on behalf of prisoners unlawfully denied oral hearings of their parole applications. He also acted for the family of a man who died at HMP Lewes following an opiate overdose. At the conclusion of the multi-day inquest, the Coroner issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report after it became apparent in evidence that the officers on duty lacked a proper understanding of the importance of Naloxone as an emergency treatment or its availability in the prison.  This was despite NICE guidelines, which made clear that all prison staff should have such knowledge.

In his education practice, he works to help prevent young people, particularly those who are already vulnerable, being drawn into the criminal justice system in the first place. With that in mind, he frequently represents children and their parents before independent panels challenging permanent exclusions decisions. Where those cases involve allegations of disability discrimination, he also acts to challenge exclusions in the First-Tier tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability).


He is a member of the steering committees for the Black Men in Law Network and the Black Barristers Network, as well as the soon-to-be-launched “Bridging the Bar."

ANNA JEMMISON

Anna is a criminal defence solicitor at Hodge Jones and Allen. She qualified as a solicitor in September 2017 after undertaking her training contract at a Legal 500 London firm. Since that time she has exclusively practised in criminal defence law undertaking an array of cases in the Youth, Magistrates’, Crown and High Court.

Anna regularly advises clients at the police station and represents clients in the Magistrates’ Court and Youth Court. Anna is also a member of Hodge Jones & Allen’s specialist Youth Court Team. Known for her empathetic nature and dedicated client care, Anna represents her clients’ tirelessly throughout their case.

Anna is a committee member of Legal Aid Lawyers, and campaigns for sustainable legal aid and to promote new entrants, social mobility and diversity within the legal aid sector.

STEPHANIE LIGHTFOOT-BENNETT

Stephanie has been fighting for justice for her twin brother, Leon Patterson, since he died in police custody in 1992. Stephanie has spent years campaigning with and on behalf of those who have lost friends and family members to police violence and negligence.

 
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