What Sir Ivan Rogers did next: he was called to the criminal bar


January 5th 2020

Sir Ivan Rogers left the Foreign Office three years ago. Fortunately, his skills have come in very useful in his new career at the criminal bar. …

*** *** ***

Ah good morning Mr Bruiser, very good to meet you.

Fuck that, name’s Duncan. Are you my brief?

Yes indeed. Let’s see if we can find a free interview room for a chat.

Why do we need to chat? Haven’t you read the papers?

I have, Mr Duncan-Bruiser, sorry, I mean Duncan, but there’s one or two things which it would be very helpful to discuss with you before the trial starts. I see it’s already 10 past 10 and we have to be ready to start at 10.30. The interview rooms are all full up I’m afraid. Never mind, if you squeeze in there and keep your voice down, then I can sit on this little table here. Excellent. Cosy even.

What we really need Mr Bruiser is a plan. I’m afraid there’s no proof of evidence in my papers, and as you didn’t comment in your interview I’m a little in the dark about exactly what your case is. It’s a bit later than I’d normally like but we ought really to serve some sort of defence statement as well before we actually start the trial. Better late than never, eh?

What do you mean? A defence is a defence. Not guilty is not guilty. Crikey, call yourself a barrister? What part of that don’t you understand?

No, no, Mr Bruiser. I understand that of course, please don’t get me wrong; I’m on your side but I do need to know exactly why you’re not guilty before I can see any obvious plan for getting you off. Causing GBH with intent is a serious offence after all, and we do only have 15 minutes to work something out.

I didn’t do it. Got that?

Oh … kay. Would you mind me just asking if you were there?

Fucking hell, call yourself a barrister?

Right. The witness statements both describe someone with a death’s-head tattoo on his face.

Yeah, right. I’ve seen hundreds of blokes like that. Thousands even. You need to get out more Mr Rogers. I can’t believe I’m hearing this. Fuck.

But you do actually have a death’s head tattoo on your face, don’t you Mr Bruiser?

Observant for a fucking barrister aren’t you?. Fuck me.

Well, were you there?

Course I was fucking there. Christ almighty. Have you read the papers or what? How many people with a death’s head tattoo on their faces do you think there are?

No, no, good point.

Anyway, moving on, I need to know whether you in fact kicked this bloke in the head. I’m a bit concerned that blood containing what sounds very much like his DNA was found all over your right boot.

Look mate, you’re meant to be my brief. Whose side are you on?

I’m sorry?

Whose side are you fucking on? All you’re doing is picking holes. Talk about fucking negativity. Fuck me. You actually think I did it don’t you? What a cunt.

Come on now Mr Bruiser, you’ve been around the criminal courts a fair few years haven’t you? Robbery and GBH in 1995 – 6 years, ABH in 2004 – 2 years, another robbery in 2007 – 4 years (that was a result, wasn’t it?): you know that what I think doesn’t matter a hoot. My job is to get you off if I possibly can, and get you the shortest possible sentence if I can’t. But I do need a bit of help from you. Did you kick him in the head?

Course I fucking did. Christ almighty. Are you really a barrister? ‘Cos if you are you’re fucking useless. Course I fucking kicked him, he was fucking asking for it. Jesus. Do I have to explain everything?

Well he wasn’t actually asking for it according to these two independent witnesses. They say he was unconscious on the floor and you kicked his head like a football for about 2 minutes. Obviously it’s hard to judge time but …

No, he was asking for it. He’s a fucking thief.


He’d nicked some of my gear, innit.


So I beat the fucking shit out of him, innit.


And, er, what was your intention in, um, “beating the shit” out of him?

Fuck me. Do I have to explain everything? I wanted to put him in hospital. Or preferably in a fucking coffin.


And your job, Mr Rogers, is to get me off.

Yes, of course. But it’s now 10.20 and we’ll be called on in ten minutes. I’m afraid you do have a few problems.

And it’s your fucking job to solve them. Just get me off, alright.

Quite, quite, but I don’t think having a trial is necessarily your best option.

You just don’t care, do you? You’re trying to get me to plead guilty aren’t you? Fucking barristers, you’re all the same.

Not at all, how you plead is entirely up to you, but there is a bit a of a problem.

Christ almighty, you only look at the negatives don’t you Mr Rogers?

If you give that evidence in court, then the prosecution would probably increase the charge to attempted murder.

Then I won’t give it. I’ll just say I wanted to give him a few bruises.

Well, that’s not quite how it works, I’m afraid.

I want to get off. Get off means get off. That’s your job but I can see your heart’s not in it, is it?

On what you’ve told me so far, Mr Bruiser, I have to advise you that you’re guilty of causing GBH with intent. In fact you’re guilty of attempted murder.

And I want a brief who believes in me, not some arsehole who can only see the prosecution points. What about the defence points? You haven’t even mentioned those. Christ Almighty, and you’re meant to be the barrister. Fuck me.

At this point the Court tannoy sounded again.

Would all parties in the case of the Crown against Duncan Bruiser please go to Court 5.”

Time isn’t really on our side Mr Bruiser.

Tell you what, how about if I have a word with the prosecution about a basis of plea? Their evidence is a bit equivocal on the how many kicks you actually aimed. They might accept that you only actually kicked him twice. There’s quite a difference between two kicks and what the sentencing guidelines call “a sustained attack.” Maybe 3 or 4 years. You might want to think about it.

So you want me to plead guilty?

It’s entirely up to you Mr Bruiser, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you that pleading guilty on the best terms we can get would almost certainly be in your interest.

Well fuck off then. I want another barrister. Someone who actually wants to get me off.

Perhaps that would be sensible Mr Bruiser.

The court tannoy sounded.

All parties in the case of the Crown against Duncan Bruiser to Court 5 immediately.”

Best of luck to you, Mr Bruiser.


Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

13 thoughts on “What Sir Ivan Rogers did next: he was called to the criminal bar”

  1. Matthew, that one is a dud, I’m sorry to say.
    Even Bach and Mozart had the occasional failure.
    I’m sure you will get back to form next time.

  2. The story’s Epilogue is poignant. Mr Bruiser discovers that life in his miserable and overcrowded prison is to be preferred to the chaotic society that is developing outside.

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