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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, they would lie, wouldn't they?
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...
Published 8 months ago by P. Webster

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At the dull and boring end of the spectrum
Robertson certainly isn't writing a book for readers of the former News of the World but it really is rather dull and repetitious. Facts and arguments re-emerge repeatedly and the book has the sense of needing a good editor. Robertson presumably believes that his readers are not blessed with much of a memory in what is not a very long book. The case IS very odd and seems...
Published 7 months ago by enthusiast


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, they would lie, wouldn't they?, 11 Dec 2013
By 
P. Webster "Phil W." (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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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. Even if Ward had lived to be sentenced, he wouldn't have spent anywhere near as long in prison as the innocent people imprisoned in those two cases.

Also, Ward is not a sympathetic figure. Not because of his morals, but because he happily rubbed shoulders with hypocritical members of the ruling class and Tory government and with obnoxious characters such as the notorious slum landlord Peter Rachman and the crooked businessman Emil Savundra.

Nevertheless, Robertson is right to draw attention to this injustice. The way that Ward was victimised shows how far the "powers that be" are prepared to go in fitting up somebody who was not guilty of any actual crimes.

When Mandy Rice-Davies was in the witness box at the trial, and she was told that Lord Astor had denied having an affair with her, she famously replied, "He would, wouldn't he?" This cynical attitude could equally be applied to all the rich and powerful liars involved.

Phil Webster.
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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
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This review is from: Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK (Hardcover)
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.

It's clear from this, and other sources, that Ward should not have been prosecuted, that he was set up, with the expectation that he would be sent down, and thus unavailable for comment on the wider implications of the Profumo affair, so that what really happened would remain a mystery.

The trial must be one of the most shameful attempts at manipulation of the judicial process, one that seems to have been successful only in the short term; many commentators at the time, and later, recognised the sham for what it was.

One aspect not covered is Ward's "suicide". There have been suggestions that he was helped by shadowy figures from the intelligence services. Just how true this might be is conjecture. It just adds another layer of uncertainty to the whole case.

Anyone who is interested in how the judiciary can be manipulated to provide a result beneficial to the establishment should read this book: and if you still believe that British Justice is the best in the world, read it, and open your eyes and your minds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make the trial transcript and Denning's papers public, 29 Dec 2013
By 
Peter Ward (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Legal Argument!, 18 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK (Hardcover)
When I moved to London from Wolverhampton in 1961, I rented a small service apartment in Orme Court , Bayswater,. My next door neighbours were a couple of sexy chicks (with whom I squashed into our tiny lift to the top floor on one occasion). I thought my luck was in...but they moved out the next day! Thanks to the cleaning lady, I learned subsequently learned they were Christine Keeler and Mandy R-D. The cleaning lady didn't think much of them ("left their dirty kniockers on the floor for me to pick up!!!"), but she thought Dr. Ward , who apparently paid the rent , was a lovely man: "he gave me one of his paintings!" Still, this was my brush with the great scandal...and reading this book convinces me that "SW was Innocent,OK".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long Overdue., 10 Feb 2014
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And when his conviction is overturned, will every single one of the shamelessly biased 'grandees' (I censored myself here) be named and vilified?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Complement to "How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward", 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK (Hardcover)
With much of the author's evidence provided by two excellently researched books by Knightley & Kennedy, this book gives an indepth account of the legal ramifications of Stephen Ward's trial and its aftermath. Very clearly laid out Robertson demonstrates how and why the judiciary at the time behaved in such an abominable fashion. The abuse of power is very concerning even to this day. Robertson is currently having Ward's case referred to the Court of Criminal Appeal to have the conviction overturned. He makes a very strong case for this to happen. And it is probably only someone with the calibre of Geoffrey Robertson that can convince the Court to provide the trial transcript and all the relevant documents that have been secreted and locked away in the Cabinet Office since 1963. If you want simply to learn about the legal case for having Ward's conviction overturned, this is the book for you. If you want the fuller story of who Ward was, why he acted the way he did and what the full circumstances were surrounding him, his friends and enemies and the whole scope of the Profumo Affair, then I would suggest the books of Knightley & Kennedy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At the dull and boring end of the spectrum, 6 Jan 2014
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Robertson certainly isn't writing a book for readers of the former News of the World but it really is rather dull and repetitious. Facts and arguments re-emerge repeatedly and the book has the sense of needing a good editor. Robertson presumably believes that his readers are not blessed with much of a memory in what is not a very long book. The case IS very odd and seems to have failed many of the tests of proper justice but I was close to yawning at times. Really can't give it more than OK I'm afraid.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Picks out the bones of an osteopath's trial., 31 Dec 2013
By 
John Grimbaldeston (Preston, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the period when this trial took place., 27 July 2014
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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 ran it, in their campaign to ruin a man who was not and could not have been guilty of the crime for which he was convicted. Mr Robinson exposes the abuse of the law in forensic detail and prepares the ground for a much needed and very belated pardon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lucid as your would expect, 4 Jun 2014
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Michael Pook - See all my reviews
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As you would expect from a QC this is well presented and lucid. Legalities are clear and deductions profound. Its a well known story but Geoffrey Robertson has concentrated on the misuse of the law and downright wickedness of the authorities and that makes it a riveting read
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Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK
Stephen Ward Was Innocent, OK by Geoffrey Robertson Q.C. (Hardcover - 2 Dec 2013)
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