Tuesday, 5 April 2011

FACTUAL REVIEW: Defending the Guilty - Alex McBride

Release Date: 24/03/11


Every day, criminal barrister Alex McBride stands up in court and attempts to save people from conviction, prison, even a lifetime behind bars. Sometimes it's a hopeless case. Sometimes he has the chance to right a wrong. But mostly his clients are just plain guilty. In Defending the Guilty , McBride takes us behind the scenes of Britain's criminal justice system. He introduces us to its extraordinary characters and arcane eccentricities, and tells astonishing stories of courtroom triumph and defeat. Whether he's defending hapless teenagers at Harlow Youth Court or prosecuting gold bullion robbers at the Old Bailey, these hair-raising tales reveal that justice rarely operates in quite the way we expect. Throughout, McBride grapples with that most important of questions: how do we ensure that the guilty are convicted and the innocent walk free?


To be honest I had a hard time with this title as I really didn’t like the author. He felt condescending, arrogant and basically said that any Barrister that you may request will drop you if they can get a more high profile case. It made me feel that they felt that the law was their play thing and at the end of the day, it only mattered that they won and beat the tar out of the other side, almost as if there were no consequences for these highly paid individuals.

That said, there are quite a few well written points about changes in the law that are worth knowing about and whilst I can dislike an author I’m more bothered about their writing style and the flow of the title. In that respect it is well written, the prose snappy and at the end of it, he backs up his points with examples from his own legal history. Definitely a title that makes interesting reading but be aware that you may very well dislike the author which could make it a struggle to finish.

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