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No Smoke [Paperback]

Sandra Lean
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 11.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 Aug 2008
Innocent people are being locked up in our prisons, convicted of the most horrific crimes, on a regular basis. These are not one-off, tragic mistakes, but rather a routine, everyday occurrence. For every high-profile miscarriage of justice that we hear about, there are dozens more that never make the news. No Smoke examines just some of these cases, highlighting the very human tragedy of wrongful conviction, and pointing out the unthinkable: this could happen to any one of us! Sandra Lean's NO SMOKE offers a vitally-important contribution to British social awareness. Already the subject of much debate within the judicial system, this book reviews seven specific real-life cases and in doing so exposes some truly shocking practices within the UK justice system. The cases are exhaustively researched and documented in an easy-to-read contemporary style, and the conclusions presented in an articulate and professional format. Review copies have been highly praised, and the book has already been recommended by sitting judiciary as an insightful (if rather disturbing) guide to the inner workings of British justice. The author is currently a PhD candidate in criminal justice at Edinburgh University.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: CheckPoint Press; 1st ed edition (12 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906628009
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906628000
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 454,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the justice system really works 15 Feb 2010
By Maggie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The jury has reached a guilty verdict, so the defendant is guilty: right?

Sandra Lean's book describes cases in which there was glaringly obvious "reasonable doubt", where the defendant was not formally identified in the vicinity of the crime scene, where there was no DNA and/or forensic evidence. The convictions she describes were founded on crucial, unsubstantiated evidence given by someone with a vested interested in convicting the defendant, and selective interpretation of the facts by pathologists and forensic scientists. In all the seven cases she covers, the convicted person was of good character and had no previous convictions or psychological conditions.

I can't say whether every one of these seven people is innocent, but it's safe to say that none of them had a fair trial. The sad thing is that the author has highlighted seven such cases, but she could easily have picked seventy.

The jury has just reached a guilty verdict, so the defendant is guilty? Not necessarily. If you think the British justice system is the best in the world, read this book. If you are satisfied that the British justice system gets it right most of the time, read this book. If you think you have done nothing wrong so you are not at risk of a miscarriage of justice, read this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It could happen to anyone 11 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Every lawyer, every policeman, and every judge should read Sandra Lean's "No Smoke.". There are too many miscarriages of justice..
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You could be next 28 Oct 2008
Sandra Lean's carefully researched book covers the cases of seven people wrongly convicted of murder - Derek Christian, John Taft, Gordon Park, Simon Hall, Luke Mitchell, Susan May and Sion Jenkins,Power, Resistance, Knowledge: The Epistemology of Policing spanning a period of twelve years. Each case is clearly presented, and each account, indeed the whole book, is driven by outrage against a system which leads so casually to such frightening miscarriages of justice.
The book is worth reading for the accounts of the cases alone. Each account has been checked by the miscarriage of justice victims themselves, and their families and supporters. The book should be bought and read for the accounts of the cases alone. You could then draw your own conclusions about how easily a miscarriage of justice can happen, especially it seems in these very serious cases.
Sandra Lean adds to this a carefully considered analysis of the features of miscarriage of justice cases. The book is an attempt to answer how the prosecutions could succeed despite the presence of them.
The difficulty with accounts like this which are fuelled by outrage is that, however careful and accurate they are, they do not fully answer this question. By the end of each chapter on a case, we know very clearly why the person concerned should not have been convicted, indeed should never have been put on trial. But we do not know why the Crown Prosecution Service decided there was a case to answer, why the trial judge thought the case could be safely left to a jury to decide, and why the jury felt sure that the person was guilty.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sobering look at British justice 1 Dec 2008
Sandra Lean's book about miscarriages of justice delivers a disturbing look at the workings of the British legal system. The seven cases presented are painstakingly researched, and Ms Lean's conclusions are clearly and concisely presented. There are numerous areas in which flawed or dubious investigative and court procedures can contribute to verdicts which simply cannot be logically sustained. The second half of Ms Lean's book provides detailed analysis of these areas, in chapters such as 'The Police', 'Expert Witnesses' and 'The Media'. Hopefully this book will encourage a groundswell of support for review and reform of the failings of the current system.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Detective inspectors Morse, Barnaby and Lewis may make their mistakes, but they delude us all into believing that their real-world counterparts mostly have their hearts in the right place. Sandra Lean's painstaking and meticulously researched book shows how naive we are. The truth is not comfortable.

Like me, the author is astonished at those who treat any effort to investigate and put right a miscarriage of justice as an affront to the memory and the family of a murder victim.

There is something religious about the blind faith in the police and judiciary with which we, the general public, have been indoctrinated. Sandra Lean's clear, rational analysis of the fallacies perpetrated in court by real-world lawyers will cut no ice with those who only believe what they choose to believe. We and she are handicapped by the limits imposed on the truths she is allowed to spell out for us in her otherwise brilliant book by the laws of libel and the laws that protect offcers in the service of the crown.

If I have any quibble with "No Smoke!", it is the scant attention paid by author Sandra Lean to the significance of a motive for a murder. The prosecution may not have a formal obligation to prove motive to secure a conviction, but no jury, however stupid, should show so little commonsense as to convict a defendant of previously very good character for the violent crime of murder unless a crystal-clear motive has been demonstrated. No jury should allow any amount of doubtful DNA nor phoney fibre evidence to sway its verdict if the defendant had no motive to kill.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done Sandra
I know Sandra has been doing this book for a while. Amazing how even years after the British 'Justice' System is still failing people......
Published 12 months ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Blind Injustice
This is a well researched, challenging book for those of us who have little to do with the workings of the law. Assumptions of fairness and trust are rightly put to the test. Read more
Published 13 months ago by William D Bunce
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, worrying, depressing, life-changing and an essential read if...
I can't say that I found this book to be an enjoyable read because with every page I turned, the more alarmed I became. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Karen Elaine Foubister
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
A very disturbing in sight into the faults in the British legal system . Very well researched and informative .
Published 16 months ago by Keithqpr
5.0 out of 5 stars no Smoke
I found this book to be a real eye opener. My opinion of the police and judicial system has changed for ever and I will be wary of any interaction with the police. Read more
Published on 21 July 2011 by michael
5.0 out of 5 stars First class review of recent miscarriages of justice
This book provides invaluable insight into the British justice system in a manner anyone can understand and everyone should be aware of. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2009 by Mr. W. A. Middleton
5.0 out of 5 stars British Law
An excellent book, should be read by anybody interested in 'The Legal Process', particularly with regard to miscarriages of justice.
Published on 4 Feb 2009 by Mr. P. J. Westoby
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