A barrister has both a duty to their client and a corresponding duty to the court
A barrister has both a duty to their client and a corresponding duty to the court. Although I am bound to represent my client to the best of my abilities, I am also bound not to mislead the court. If my client tells me he is guilty, I cannot tell the court he is innocent. All I can do is test the prosecution’s case by asking their witnesses questions and then rely on the legal burden of proof, which requires the jury to declare that my client is innocent until proven guilty. However, if I think my client is guilty – because all the evidence I have seen suggests this – then I must be realistic about his chances at trial. More often than not he will accept this and plead guilty, which means that his sentence will be discounted by approximately one-third for his acceptance of responsibility.