Alex McBride - Defending the Guilty (2 stars)

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Alex McBride - Defending the Guilty

(Viking)

They might have a public image problem, but when a lawyer is the difference to you between freedom and incarceration, they can suddenly become closer than any family member or friend. In Defending the Guilty, criminal barrister Alex McBride charts his year-long pupilage at a major legal firm, and attempts to illustrate this curious, stressful and compromising experience of life. There are some incredible characters – rabbi-murdering psychopaths and gold bullion robbers included – but many more mundane ones: petty thieves, persecuted buskers and a whole host of desperate smackheads.

McBride’s commentary on what he sees to be a flawed system that requires lawyers to trick juries into acquitting plainly guilty people feels somewhat shoe-horned in as an afterthought. A more gifted and imaginative author might have used these experiences as the basis for a novel, rather than a linear true crime confidential. As it stands, for the offence of being pretty boring, this book is found guilty as charged.

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