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Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK: The Case for Overturning His Conviction

Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK: The Case for Overturning His Conviction [Kindle Edition]

Geoffrey Robertson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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GR floods a dark corner of legal history with brilliant light, exposing the lengths to which the Establishment would go to protect the old order and to cover for their own. A stunning exposé. --Helena Kennedy QC

Stephen Ward was a scapegoat and a victim both of calumny and a miscarriage of justice, which together drove him to suicide. In this compelling account, beautifully written and argued, Robertson rescues Ward's reputation from the lies and legal distortions that condemned him. --A. C. Grayling

I could not sleep for excitement after reading it at one sitting. Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK is written with punchiness, gusto, incisive forensic analysis, and deadly gallows humour befitting its subject. Anyone who wants a thumping, indignant read as an antidote to Yuletide complacence should be given this polemic in their Christmas stocking. --Richard Davenport-Hines, The Guardian

[This] book makes a passionate case for a posthumous pardon. --Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Culture

Robertson concentrates with clarity and vigour on the legal shortcomings of the case. --The Times

It is essentially a legal opinion and it shows Robertson at his most polished and considered, without exaggeration. --The Sunday Morning Herald

The most elegantly written application ever to have been sent to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) […]The book presents a compelling case for overturning the guilty verdict. --Duncan Campbell, The Guardian

Brick by brick, Robinson builds up an unassailable case. This is no dry as dust legal document: It has dramatic pace, atmosphere and tragedy. --West End Extra

[A] compelling case for appeal. --Sydney Review of Books

Brick by brick, Robinson builds up an unassailable case. This is no dry as dust legal document: It has dramatic pace, atmosphere and tragedy. --West End Extra

Product Description

In the summer of ’61 John Profumo, Minister for War, enjoyed a brief affair with Christine Keeler... Late in the afternoon of Wednesday 31 July 1963, Dr Stephen Ward was convicted at the Old Bailey on two counts alleging that he lived on the earnings of a prostitute. He was not in the dock but comatose in hospital. The previous night he had attempted suicide, because (as he said in a note) ‘after Marshall’s [the judge’s] summing up, I’ve given up all hope’. He died on Saturday 3 August, without regaining consciousness. Many observers of the proceedings thought the convictions did not reflect the evidence and that the trial was unfair, and this book will show that it breached basic standards of justice. Geoffrey Robertson brings his forensic skills and a deeply felt sense of injustice to the case at the heart of the Profumo affair, the notorious scandal that brought down a government.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1720 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Biteback Publishing (2 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H51WQA4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #52,455 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, they would lie, wouldn't they? 11 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Profumo Affair is generally known as a scandal involving sex and spies from the "swinging sixties". But, in this meticulously researched book, human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson shows that it also involved a gross miscarriage of justice.

The "scandal" blew up in 1963 and arose from the fact that the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, had been having an affair with Christine Keeler at the same time as she had been seeing Yevgeny Ivanov, who was a naval attaché at the Russian Embassy in London and probably a spy. This was claimed to pose a security risk.

Profumo ended up having to resign, and the scandal contributed to the fall of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and to the Conservatives losing the election the following year.

A section of the ruling class wanted a scapegoat and they picked on Stephen Ward. Ward was an osteopath to the rich and famous who had introduced the protagonists to each other and who led what was considered an "immoral" life.

Home Secretary Sir Henry Brooke summoned the head of MI5 and the Police Commissioner from Scotland Yard to a meeting and told them to find a way of fixing Ward. The police manufactured evidence, and Ward was charged with living off the immoral earnings of Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies.

It was a fit-up. Robertson shows that there is no evidence that he was guilty of the charges. But Ward's friends in the "Establishment" deserted him, and he committed suicide when he saw how the trial was going to end, following the judge's biased summing up.

Robertson compares the case to other miscarriages of justice such as the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. This seems to be going a bit far.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Establishment at work 8 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is just one of many books appearing 50 years after the trial of Stephen Ward, and the related Profumo affair.

Its main subject is the trial itself, though it does include background information about the main participants.

It sets out in forensic details how the trial developed--although the transcript itself in unavailable, the only such transcript to be withheld.

The origins of the trial, the demand of the Home Secretary to "get Ward", an inexcusable intrusion into the operational affairs of the Police, are clearly set out. As is the inexcusable brevity between committal proceedings and the trial itself, held not at a Quarter Assize (Crown Court) as would be usual for a "pimp", but at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey. The deficiencies of the prosecution, the bullying of witnesses by the police, and Ward's trial in effect for "immorality" are laid clear.

You may well think that "immorality" is inexcusable, but it wasn't then, nor is it now, a criminal offence; but prosecuting counsel and the trial judge were determined that it should be.

I generally treat conspiracy theories with a very generous helping of salt. But here, the stench of the establishment (private school/Oxbridge) closing ranks to protect one of their own (Profumo) is overwhelming. They needed a scapegoat, and who better than Ward with his unconventional, Bohemian lifestyle? And where were Profumo et al during the trial? Nowhere to be seen or heard; Ward covered for them and protected them as far as he could, but the fair-weather friends deserted him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Picks out the bones of an osteopath's trial. 31 Dec 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very thorough trawl through the Stephen Ward trial which gives a glimpse of the tensions as the establishment was faced with the bewildering new world of the nascent Sixties and liberal attitudes,and tried to shore up crumbling moral values by less than moral means, resulting in a major miscarriage of justice. The characters themselves remain rather flat and unrealised, but as the author concentrates on making a legal case for the judgement on Stephen Ward to be unfair, that is perhaps to be expected and for other books to provide. In the book's thoroughness, though, lies its weakness; it is repetitive as he stresses legal points - Ward's earnings are repeated several times, for instance, and the legal points are made to the point of pedantry. Don't look for any narrative drive, but for forensic dissection of a case, which doesn't always make it an easy read. A minor point, but you would think a QC and Head of Chambers would know who wrote "The Wind in the Willows." (p. 18.) Obviously not a book that lawyers study: Toad had no chance in his trial. A rather odd title, too: wasn't the "OK" appendage to statements a later fashion? Anyway, an unusual look at a well-known and well-documented case, just a little dull.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone and everyone who cares when justice miscarries should read this.

Stephen Ward was universally vilified by press, priests and politicians as a Soviet spy and "procurer of popsies for the upper classes" (think the likes of Abu Hamza today, albeit for different reasons). Already that makes a fair trial difficult if not impossible. At highest his only 'crime' was promiscuity, but that was too much for the so-called moral majority (page 151). Sadly this included the Home Secretary who instigated the police operation; the trial judge who committed several wrongs even by the standards of his day; and worse still the Court of Criminal Appeal (as it then was) that stands accused of being in the conspiracy. Stephen Ward wasn't executed, but his suicide was a close-second.

Geoffrey Roberston QC brilliantly argues a referral to the Court of Appeal is not only necessary it could be done swiftly and cheaply. All the lord justices would need is the trial transcript. But the government keeps it under lock and key. Now why might that be, we ask ourselves? I venture to suggest the answer is why Lord Denning's papers are similarly kept secret - "there are still some sensational personal items in here" (page 159). You read it here - one of the most powerful and well-known men in British society took part in the orgies that Christine Keeler participated in, and the powers that be don't want you to know.

Sadly, this case shows we still don't have freedom of speech and open government here - especially when it comes to the powerful's own transgressions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the period when this trial took...
Maybe Stephen was a spy, certainly he was a clever manipulator. What is much more scandalous than anything he was responsible for was the abuse of the justice system by those who... Read more
Published 3 days ago by David Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid as your would expect
As you would expect from a QC this is well presented and lucid. Legalities are clear and deductions profound. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael Pook
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book well written
I like the forensic analysis of the evidence and would recommend the book to anyone interested in how politics can intrude into justice even in the UK
Published 3 months ago by Alan Sykes
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading to shew how rotten political life was in the mid...
This detailing of the outrageous behaviour of the political inner circle with corruption of the police and courts by the system to destroy Stephen Ward is horrific. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mark Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent summary of the many errors of politicians and judges that...
Geoffrey Robertson puts the case for a review of the trial of Stephen Ward with clarity and force. His summary of the political and legal history demonstrates a very serious... Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Previte
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Legal Argument!
When I moved to London from Wolverhampton in 1961, I rented a small service apartment in Orme Court , Bayswater,. Read more
Published 5 months ago by John Roe
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue.
And when his conviction is overturned, will every single one of the shamelessly biased 'grandees' (I censored myself here) be named and vilified?
Published 5 months ago by Shirley Hands
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring up the bodies !!!
The author pulls no punches on the dead or the living in this searching professional analysis of an astounding misuse of legal process by the government of the day, and miscarriage... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dick_Wynne
3.0 out of 5 stars Clearly states the case for overturning conviction
Written very much in legal format and language and makes a convincing case for legal review. Inevitably there is less concentration on the historical context and why the appeal... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Helen Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
The cliche 'couldn't put it down' is generally applied to thrillers with a twist in the tail that offer surprises along the way. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Chrisc
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