The Notion Of Pure Law
Griffiths believes the notion of pure law is “complete nonsense”: “[Judges] are involved in making political decisions in many instances and I think as a lawyer you have to recognise that reality otherwise you are not doing your job.”
The Jamaican-born, British-raised Queen’s Counsel several times sketches out a world where the national interests of traditional powers such as the United States and France conflate with the economic interests of multi-nationals to influence the international criminal justice system. His is a world where the pursuit of oil supplies by first-world economies clouds international political morality and the self-styled global policemen from the North preach democratic virtue but act contra to this virtue in countries such as Afghanistan, Iran and Nicaragua.
“Always ask yourself, ‘Who stands to benefit?’ every time a decision [by the International Criminal Court (ICC)] is taken to prosecute a particular leader or not prosecute someone else,” he says.
I’m certainly not going to be making moral judgements about any of my clients. I’ve defended, for example, terrorists – but to make a moral judgement about such defendants is to forget that, you know, one man’s terrorist is another man’s war hero.
“Our system of justice cannot operate unless there is a semblance of equality between prosecution and defence. Otherwise it becomes an inquisition and that would soon lose the confidence of the public.”
“I personally remember one afternoon being in the Precinct – that ugly concrete structure in the middle of Coventry – and must have been about 14 or 15 at the time.
“Something happened, and I was taken by a police officer, a very large chap I remember, to the police box in the centre of town.
“Me with my public education was trying to argue the toss with him. He was having none of it. He grabbed me round the collar, pushed me up the face: ‘Listen blackie, you’re in police custody now, don’t mess around’.
“Whenever there was an incident in Coventry involving black youths, the first port of call would be our house because there was eight boys living in that house.” bbc.co.uk
“It is right and proper that a defendant, however heinous the crime committed, has the right to the best representation.”