In this episode, Dr Sally Penni MBE is Talking Law with Jo Sidhu, a criminal barrister who is widely regarded as one of the leading criminal trial lawyers in the UK and has appeared in some of England’s most serious prosecutions. Jo served as the Chair of the Criminal Bar Association in 2021-22.
Jo explains what motivated him to become a criminal barrister, and tries to explain why many in the profession are protesting; a response to what he describes as a ‘process of attrition and by neglect from successive governments’ leading to insufficient funding for the criminal justice system. Jo explains that criminal barristers have received a 28% reduction in real earnings over the last two decades, further compounded by the effects of the pandemic.
As the leader of the criminal bar association, Jo has made it his mission to bring the plight of barristers into the public domain so the wider public can understand the severity and complexity of the challenges facing the criminal legal system. Jo highlights the root cause of the backlog in cases being heard; a problem which was substantial and growing even before the arrival of the pandemic.
Jo also reflects upon one of his most memorable and traumatic cases, the murder of mother-of-four Saima Khan by her own sister. He reveals the story behind the case, and why it left its mark him. The case is explored in a TV documentary called ‘The Lady Killers’ .
This episode is supported by Salford Business School.
Presented by Dr Sally Penni MBE, barrister at law at Kenworthy’s Chambers Manchester and founder and chair of Women in the Law UK.