A guilty plea keeps costs down at the court end, although not at the subsequent custody phase - should the defendant get a custodial sentence - as this will cost the taxpayer an average per prisoner of around £40,000 per year, not to mention the knock-on consequences if the prisoner has a dependant family. Then there are the longer-term implications of having a criminal record: likely unemployment, problems finding accommodation, sky high insurance and - if the sentence was a custodial one - the risk of recall to prison whilst out on licence.
|Winning... even when he's losing?|
However, if you aren't cash-rich and don't qualify for Legal Aid, then prepare to lose everything you (and your family) have ever worked and saved for. If you own your own home, you'll probably be forced to sell it to fund your defence. If you are without assets, bad luck.
Of course, you could opt to face the court on your own and try to fight your way through the archaic jargon and bizarre rules of evidence, not to mention the requirements to serve complex legal paperwork according to inflexible deadlines. And don't expect that hatchet-faced judge on the bench to give you any leeway or assistance. They hate amateurs. Believe me, I've been there.
|Gambling with your life|
So there you have it... As one lawyer once observed: "English justice: denied to the many, but sold at an unconscionable price to the few".