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5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE THE BLAME: AS LONG AS THEY ARE IRISH
This is a well written book by a respected and influential historian and commentator on Irish affairs. Notwithstanding it shows its vintage. It urgent requires and epilogue and that will bring a new freshness to a very good piece of writing
Published on 8 Oct 2011 by Dominic P. Rigg

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3.0 out of 5 stars dry presentation of a shocking miscarriage of justice
This account of the arrest and conviction of the Guildford 4 and Maguire 7 deserves praise as it probably helped contribute to the release of several innocent people. However, the book does not read easily and the data is presented in a dry and sometimes illogical way. For example, it isn't until near the end of the book that it is spelt out that the 11 who were...
Published 13 months ago by A. C. Dickens


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE THE BLAME: AS LONG AS THEY ARE IRISH, 8 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Trial and Error: The Maguires, the Guildford Pub Bombings and British Justice (Paperback)
This is a well written book by a respected and influential historian and commentator on Irish affairs. Notwithstanding it shows its vintage. It urgent requires and epilogue and that will bring a new freshness to a very good piece of writing
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3.0 out of 5 stars dry presentation of a shocking miscarriage of justice, 26 Jun 2013
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A. C. Dickens (Bexhill-on-Sea England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Trial and Error: The Maguires, the Guildford Pub Bombings and British Justice (Paperback)
This account of the arrest and conviction of the Guildford 4 and Maguire 7 deserves praise as it probably helped contribute to the release of several innocent people. However, the book does not read easily and the data is presented in a dry and sometimes illogical way. For example, it isn't until near the end of the book that it is spelt out that the 11 who were wrongfully imprisoned were utterly ill-matched to the crimes they were accused of. And the author should have pointed out that if the British police really believed that Conlon et al were the bombers, then it reflected very badly on the whole anti-IRA intelligence operation. I hope that, now the terrorists we fear are of a different kind, that our Intelligence men have upped their game.

When Kee describes the afternoon at the Maguire household when the house was under surveillance and the Maguires were supposed to have disposed of nitro-glycerine right under the noses of the police, he should have made clear at the start the point he was making - ie that it is impossible to believe that these people were engaged in a desperate concealment job when the scene in the house was one of daily domestic trivia.

There were curious omissions. No mention is made of Gerry Conlon's alibi (the conversation with Charlie Burke on the evening of the Guildford bombing), yet in the film In the Name of the Father, this is an absolutely crucial incident (as is the police concealment of the fact that they had found Burke and interviewed him). I know the police suppression of the alibi did not come to light until after Kee's book was published, but some mention of the alibi should have been made. And I still know little or nothing about Paul Hill and his motivation. He is the most enigmatic of the victims. It is implied that he confessed to bombing Guildford because he didn't like the idea of serving time in an Irish jail for a different offence (shooting a man called Shaw). Could that be true? And was Hill in Southampton that night or not? In the film he's with Conlon in London, isn't he? Or did I remember that wrong?

I would like to see a full account of the whole Guildford 4/Maguire 7 story. In the Name of the Father leaves a lot of ground uncovered and this book is also frustratingly incomplete.

What is certain is that several police beat up prisoners to make them confess (WPCs in the case of 17 year old Carol Richardson), and probably planted false evidence (nitroglycerine) suppressed evidence which would have cleared the suspects, and in pursuing the wrong people made the country less safe for us, the people they were supposed to protect. And the politicians and judges backed up the police in every possible way, even after they must have known that the convictions were wrong. What a shower. And they all got away with it.

Having said that, I believe that the police and prosecution system have learned from this experience, and that a repetition of this kind of miscarriage of justice is unlikely. Take for example the recent murder of Joanna Yeates. Her landlord was arrested as a suspect and soon his face was all over the papers - the usual trial by media followed. Yet a week later the police let him go, saying he didn't do it. And shortly afterwards the real murderer was arrested. In the 1970s the landlord would have been fitted up and would be spending the rest of his life in HM custody.

I was reminded frequently of the murder of Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007, and the subsequent framing of Amanda Knox and Raffaella Sollecito by the Italian police. There are many points of comparison - the identification as suspects of the most unlikely people, the confession extracted under duress, the refusal to admit error even when the true culprit had been revealed, the cooking of evidence (for nitroglycerine in the Maguire case read "double-DNA knife" in the case of Knox); and the mulish insistence by the prosecution that their version of events, however crazy, was correct. Perhaps this case will help to shake up the Italian justice system, as Guildford and Maguire did the British system.
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