In the Media

Partner acting for Moors murderer Ian Brady

PUBLISHED July 11, 2012

Thursday 12 July 2012 by Catherine Baksi

Who? Richard Nicholas 57, mental health and human rights partner at Wirral firm RMNJ.

Why is he in the news: Acting for Moors murderer Ian Brady in his application to be discharged from compulsory treatment under the Mental Health Act. Nicholas has represented Brady since 2006.

Thoughts on the case: 'Mr Brady does not seek release or, as has wrongly been stated in some reports, to return to Scotland, but to be transferred back to the prison system and away from what he sees as an artificial treatment regime at Ashworth Hospital.'

Dealing with the media: 'The media interest in Mr Brady is phenomenal and there is a history of inaccurate reporting. I have tried to keep a low profile and generally tried to do pre-agreed statements with my client. Otherwise the media just focus on questions about what he looks like and whether he's apologised.

'To be too upfront with the media in a case like this would be difficult. My job is to explain what we are doing from a legal position, presenting his position fairly and as best as I can, but without appearing to be an apologist for him.
'When you represent someone unpopular it makes dealing with the media harder than if you represent someone they are sympathetic to.

'But whatever one's view on Mr Brady he is entitled to have his case heard in a civilised society.'

Why become a lawyer: 'In the hope of achieving fairness and justice. Legal aid work presents an opportunity, for as long as it may be properly funded, to help the vulnerable and disadvantaged. I thought mentally disabled people would be ringfenced from the legal aid cuts, but it seems the government has targeted them and savaged this area
of law.'

Career high: 'It hasn't happened yet.'

Career low: 'When I heard that the father of a client for whom I'd successfully obtained discharge had died following a suicide pact with his wife, because of the discharge - they felt they couldn't cope with their daughter.

'The story was made into a television drama called ­Mysterious Creatures.'