The legal profession has condemned an ‘unwarranted attack’ on a criminal defence barrister via social media after his client was cleared of murder in a high profile trial.
The barrister who defended Eltiona Skana, the woman who killed seven-year-old Emily Jones in a park in Bolton, was subject to threats after a social media post by a follower of ‘Reclaim', a new 'political party' led by actor Laurence Fox. Skana was cleared of murder last week after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The offending post - which has now been removed - pictured, named and gave the telephone number of the barrister.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC said it was ‘appalling and unacceptable’ to target individual lawyers on social media. ‘The cab-rank rule means that advocates do not choose their clients. It is the advocate’s duty to represent their client’s best interests fearlessly by all proper and lawful means,’ Buckland said on Twitter. ‘It will no doubt be a lawyer who will represent such trolls if criminal proceedings were brought. In such irony a greater truth is revealed.’
The Criminal Bar Association also condemned the posts, stating: ‘Recently, there has been a marked increase in both the number and severity of verbal assaults on lawyers from various sections of the public, shared and amplified on social media sites...Silence is not an option in a situation such as this as it only leaves us vulnerable to the continued anarchic shouts of the mob in the future.’