Voices

Need for more lawyers to assist foreign workers in court cases

From

Louis Lau Yi Hang

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Published: 4:00 AM, March 14, 2017

I refer to the report, “Disagreeing with excessive penalty submission, judge puts off sentencing of maid” (March 7).

This case brings up a salient point about foreign workers, who come from faraway lands hoping to earn a living for their families back home. With their salaries, it is immensely difficult for them to afford services such as legal representation.

There is a need for more lawyers who are willing to take on cases on a pro-bono basis. After all, the legal service is first and foremost a public service in upholding a just and equitable society.

In this case, where the defendant was unrepresented, it was right that sentencing be held off.

Working in a foreign land, the domestic helper may have minimal knowledge of the legal system. It is not reasonable to expect her to defend herself fairly and bring out mitigating factors that may explain her actions. This can be properly done with professional legal assistance.