Defending the Guilty: Truth and Lies in the Criminal Courtroom
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Terrific. McBride details his own cock-ups and disasters with the relish of the born humorous writer. Very funny (Daily Mail)
Expert, authoritative, hilarious - an insider's fearless account of life at the criminal bar (Craig Raine TLS, Books of the Year)
Gripping, engaging, compelling. The real life of criminal barristers is expertly caught (Literary Review)
An excellent blend of anecdote and more serious discussion (Tom Bingham, author of The Rule of Law)
Shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Award for Non-Fiction 2010 (CWA Judges) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction 2010
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
On DNA evidence, there is a good explanation of its limitations: this explanation is clear even to a layman without knowledge of statistics. DNA is a powerful investigative tool, but not however infallible. The discussions of the limitations of CCTV evidence and witness visual identification evidence(backed up in both cases by examples from the courts) also give the reader pause for thought.
All- in-all the book is entertaining, informative and thought-provoking.
Mr. McBride paints a true picture of the criminal justice system with the history of how it evolved. Very easy to eat and very funny. At times I could not stop laughing and as a criminal solicitor myself, I felt empathy for him.
One reviewer pointed out that most laws are made by lawyers but it is one thing to be a lawyer and it is another to be a CRIMINAL lawyer. Usually criminal lawyers do not sit in the parliament and our former prime minster did not practise criminal law. Nor does cherie blair to a certain extent. Therefore they do not understand what it is like to work within the criminal justice system.
Now another reviewer said it is not right that Mr. McBride points out the short comings of the prison and the jury systems but does not recommend any alternative systems. Well, thats because it is difficult to. The jury system is not perfect but it is the best one we have. Mr. McBride certainly points out the positive aspects of the jury system (it is certainly better than what we have at the magistrates' courts). Also the prison system does not reform an offender but that is usually not the public's objective. Prison is seen as a place of punishment and when someone is in prison it protects the public's safety.
I know how frustrating it is to work with the short comings of the government bodies. The worst one by far is the crown prosecution service. They do not look at magistrates court cases until the day before the trial and the crown court cases never gets properly reviewed until the week before.Read more ›
It is at times very funny and to McBride's credit the serious or disturbing crimes he writes about are never explored in a mawkish or salacious way. His comments on the shortfalls of the judicial system are however a little frustrating. OK so prison doesn't work that well and the jury system is flawed but if he is going to be so honest about these areas it seems a little odd that he makes no case for any substitute. It's easy to destroy, much harder to build and it would have been just as interesting to hear an insiders view on how to get better at "justice" as hearing how the system fails.
This is however a fairly minor point and if you want an intelligent and thoroughly fascinating read on the world of law then this is a great book to pick up.
If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
Plenty of eye opening situations and case examples. I particularly enjoyed the story running through the chapters about his daily life as a 'pupil'. If you have an 'interest' in the law or on how 'justice' is delivered on a day to day basis or would like to understand how the whole system is a lot more of a conveyor belt than an art form then this is good place to start.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written and fascinating. The author recalls amusing anecdotes from his time as a training lawyer. He explains how the court system works, and about the history of British law. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. Nelson
A very well written book, from a man who truly seems to believe in the integrity of justice!
An insight into the world of defence counsel, and of the prosecution! Read more
This memoir is written by a barrister during his pupilage for a London chamber. It's based on 2002/03 but appears to have been published in 2010 when the authors career has... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Janie U