This book has had many reviews and in this most recent one Nigel Hampton QC eloquently described it as “a genuine 21-faceted diamond” (it has 21 chapters). He also stated that it was a mine of information for the criminal lawyer saying “this book is a virtual directory containing a gallery of experts, their expertise and their experience, with excerpts of their work”.
Nigel Hampton QC is a Christchurch barrister with more than 50 years’ experience as a trial lawyer, primarily in criminal law.
In his review he made some very pertinent remarks about the current obligation to “believe the victim”, which can in turn bias investigators and possibly juries.
To me, the most worrying aspect to emerge from these essays, and the studies and the thought which lie behind them, is the proposition that the rise and spread of moral panics has led to the “duty” that all must adhere to, the obligation, that we all must believe the complainant as a “victim”.
However this book is not only for criminal lawyers. I read it in a weekend. I found it surprisingly engrossing and as a layperson I was able to understand almost all of it. The essays left me more hopeful for the wrongfully accused. Here were some experts from all over the world who were taking seriously the fact that people have and are being wrongfully accused and they dissected the problem thoroughly.
Moreover, not only was the disorder diagnosed, but a treatment was recommended. At the end of the book Ros Burnett carefully listed and discussed the various remedies that are needed to rebalance the Scales of Justice and build a system that is better for genuine victims and the wrongfully accused alike.
I for one cannot recommend this book strongly enough. I’ll finish with another quote from Nigel Hampton QC.
“an essential read for any and all involved in the criminal justice system – which means everyone: investigators, interviewers, social workers, police, prosecutors, defenders, judges and the public (as potential jurors)”
More about the book here