A piece by Frances Gibb, Legal Editor, in today’s Times, emphases ours:
The next director of public prosecutions needs to restore badly dented confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service after a series of collapsed trials, lawyers said yesterday.
Max Hill, 54, whose appointment to the £204,000-a-year job was announced on Tuesday, must also prove to right-wing critics that his liberal credentials do not undermine the reputation of the country’s top prosecutor.
The QC has come under fire in his role as the independent reviewer of terrorism laws for meeting an Islamist group that praised the terrorist known as Jihadi John as a “beautiful man.”
The Conservative MP Philip Davies has called Mr Hill a “politically correct snowflake” and among some lawyers he is referred to as “TV’s own Max Hill”, a jibe at his high media profile.
He has also suggested that some terrorism laws should be scrapped because they are seen as targeting Muslim communities and that British jihadists returning from Syria should not automatically be prosecuted.
One lawyer said: “He will need to hone his political antennae.”
However, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, a former director of public prosecutions, said: “Unlike these deckchair generals, Max Hill has put terrorists in jail. And he’s done it fairly and squarely. Anyone who thinks he’s soft is in for a shock. Max Hill is independent, robust and a first-class lawyer with a track record in the big cases.”
He replaces Alison Saunders from November after months in which the CPS has been criticised for disclosure failings amid warnings about miscarriages of justice. A scathing report from MPs last week said action was needed after a series of collapsed trials.
Mr Hill will need to restore public confidence that the right prosecutions are being brought after concerns that there has been great emphasis on historical child sex abuse and sexual assault but in the case of other offences, such as female genital mutilation, there has not been a successful prosecution. [J4MB: Likewise male genital mutilation]
He will also need to restore internal morale at a time when the CPS is struggling with a constrained budget. Lord Macdonald said: “The cuts over the last few years have pushed the CPS to the edge and damaged justice. It’s not all about money, but finally you get what you pay for.” [J4MB: Even Alison Saunders didn’t resort to claiming the failings of the police and CPS were attributable to lack of funding.]
Chris Henley, QC, vice-chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “In Max Hill, QC, the CPS will have at its helm at a time of critical change a first-class legal brain.”
The new DPP said that he was honoured to be taking over from Ms Saunders, rejecting criticisms of her five-year stint and describing claims that standards had slipped as “hugely insulting” to prosecutors. [J4MB: In plain English, the relentless anti-male bias of the CPS is going to continue.]
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