Gareth Peirce to appear at Aye Write! book fest
- Brian Donaldson
- 7 March 2011
The civil rights lawyer and author will discuss new book, Dispatches from the Dark Side: On Torture and the Death of Justice
When it comes to lawyers who have fought tooth and nail for the underdog, they don’t come much more tenacious than Gareth Peirce. Immortalised on film through Emma Thompson’s performance in Jim Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father, which portrayed her efforts on behalf of the Guildford Four’s Gerry Conlon, Peirce counts the Birmingham Six, David Shayler, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes and Moazzam Begg among her clients.
In her book, Dispatches from the Dark Side: On Torture and the Death of Justice, she argues that the use of torture and the miscarriages of justice that are more often than not the natural consequence of such brutal and futile methods are merely catalysts for further conflict. In recent times, her focus has switched from the innocent Irish men and women who suffered in the 70s and 80s under the cruel hands of a legal system that appeared to be operating in the interests of political expediency rather than truth and justice, to foreign nationals and UK Muslims, many of whom have been locked up here indefinitely and without trial.
Now in her early 60s and with grown-up children, Peirce has lived an extraordinary life. She’s come a long way from being educated in an exclusive school for girls and studying at the London School of Economics to representing the downtrodden and disenfranchised. There are plenty who see her as the devil incarnate, but without her, British democracy would be in a much more fragile state.
Mitchell Library, Glasgow, Sat 12 Mar.