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

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 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

About the Author

Geoffrey Robertson QC has had a distinguished career as a trial counsel, human rights advocate and United Nations judge. He appeared in many celebrated Old Bailey trials, defending the editors of Oz magazine and Gay News, as well as the National Theatre over its staging of The Romans in Britain, and Matrix Churchill in the case that exposed the 'Iraqgate' scandal and helped to bring down John Major's government. He served as first president of the UN war crimes court in Sierra Leone and on the UN Justice Council (2008 12). Mr Robertson is founder and co-head of Doughty Street Chambers. He held the office of Recorder (part-time judge) for many years and is a Master of the Middle Temple. His books include The Tyrannicide Brief (the story of how Cromwell's lawyers mounted the trial of Charles I), and an acclaimed memoir, The Justice Game. In 2011 he received the Award for Distinction in International Law and Affairs from the New York State Bar Association.

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
  • ISBN-10: 1849547025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849547024
  • ASIN: B00H51WQA4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #286,686 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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