Reasonable Doubt by Xanthe Mallett

‘The good, bad and downright rotten parts of Australia’s criminal justice system are put on trial by Dr Xanthé Mallett. With her clear-eyed logic and objectivity, this compelling book identifies reasonable doubts which must keep prosecutors and defence lawyers awake at night.’ Hedley Thomas, host of the Teacher’s Pet podcast 

We all put our faith in the criminal justice system. We trust the professionals: the police, the lawyers, the judges, the expert witnesses. But what happens when the process lets us down and the wrong person ends up in jail?

Henry Keogh spent almost twenty years locked away for a murder that never even happened. Khalid Baker was imprisoned for the death of a man his best friend has openly admitted to causing. And the exposure of ‘Lawyer X’ Nicola Gobbo’s double-dealing could lead to some of Australia’s most notorious convictions being overturned.

Forensic scientist Xanthé Mallett is used to dealing with the darker side of humanity. Now she’s turning her skills and insight to miscarriages of justice and cases of Australians who have been wrongfully convicted. 

Exposing false confessions, polices biases, misplaced evidence and dodgy science, Reasonable Doubt is an expert’s account of the murky underbelly of our justice system – and the way it affects us all

Available at Booktopia and all good bookshops.
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Duffy’s thoughts on Reasonable Doubt

True crime is my jam. It’s fascinating to me how the dark side of psychology shows itself and what drives people to do such despicable things and how dedicated detectives, writers and scientists spend their lives tracking down intelligent and dangerous criminals.

We all want the bad guy put away, but what happens when the wrong guy gets put away? The negative ripple effect of a wrongful conviction reaches far and wide, with the injustice cutting deep. Victims families are left without closure and justice. Decades of time are chewed up staring at the four walls of dank prison cells. Millions of dollars are spent on overturning convictions and trust in our police and justice systems are eroded.

Author Xanthé Mallett examines some of Australia’s more famous and notable wrongful convictions with an unbiased and ‘rule of the law’ lens. This means that even though we may not be sure of someone’s guilt or innocence, is there enough evidence in the eyes of the law to convict? If not, then should someone be sent to prison for the rest of their lives based solely on circumstantial or ‘gut feel’ from the detectives assigned to the case?

Wrongful Convictions explored in Reasonable Doubt

  • Wayne Butler – Did he murder Celia Douty?
  • Kelvin Condren – The coerced confession
  • Andrew Mallard – When prosecution turns to persecution
  • Henry Keogh – The murder that never happened
  • Khalid Baker – Fighting to clear his name
  • Lawyer X – The rise and fall of Nicola Gobbo

Each case touches on racism, corruption, and the intricate workings of the murky underbelly of the Australian justice system. I found the case of Khalid Baker particularly jarring to read. It left me wondering how many wrongful cases happen that don’t reach the headlines. Lenient sentences for domestic abusers, harsher sentences based on race or sexuality in small towns, or pressure to convict a high profile case. Corruption, bribery and envelopes of cash are being slid across desks with a blind eye being turned, so long as someone pays for the crime.

If you are a murderino, work in legal, or a true crime fan, this is a must-read.

Read Duffy’s other crime and punishment reads here and follow me @duffythewriter across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!