A bit of Garrow’s Law on BBC Radio4

December 28, 2012

Hello everyone,

First, let me that you for your kind words about the show. It’s appreciated. I’m only sorry that we’re not able to bring you more of Mr Garrow’s exploits!

For those of you in the UK, you might find it interesting to listen to the following episode of the Radio 4 show “Unreliable Evidence”  which was broadcast on BBC Radio4 on Boxing Day. Here is the link.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01pg54x

I took part in the show, hosted by former lawyer Clive Anderson along with Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, appeal court judge Sir Alan Moses, and German judge Ruth Herz.  We had a great chat about the drama of the court, and courtroom drama – I talked about Garrow’s Law, and they played a clip too! We also had a broader discussion about the theatricality of the law.

I hope you find it interesting. Sorry for those of you who are not in the UK.

“With its sets and costumes, soliloquies, suspense and dramatic revelations – the courtroom is pure theatre.

Following the return of Rumpole to Radio 4, Clive Anderson and his guests discuss how accurately the legal world is depicted in stage and screen dramas. And they discuss the issues which arise when the distinctions between fiction and fact – between Rumpole and reality – become blurred in the public’s mind.

Does the way courtroom dramas introduce dramatic last minute evidence, show defendants crumbling under cross-examination and defence barristers reducing juries to tears, even remotely reflect the real world? Are judges really as out of touch, and lawyers as pompous and greedy as their screen counterparts? And does it really matter if screenwriters fail to stick to the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”

 

best wishes

Mark Pallis

 

 


Harry Potter on the Garrow’s Law set!

July 4, 2012

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Just wanted to let you know that the documentary ‘The Strange Case of the Law’ written and presented by the Barrister Harry Potter features Garrow this evening. They came up and spent the day on set, chatted to the actors and crew. So for those of you keen on history, and Andy Buchan, you should enjoy it! BBC4, 9pm tonight.

For Garrow fans in America, I’m afraid that it’s not available unless iplayer works in your region.

best wishes to all Mark


Episode 4 inspirations now online

December 2, 2011

Good afternoon,

The inspirations for Episode 4, Series III of Garrow’s Law are now online.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0186hgv

Enjoy, but if you don’t want to spoil the surprise, I suggest you wait until after the Episode before reading them!

with best wishes

Mark


Fascinating facts from the Garrow’s Law blog archive

November 15, 2011

Hi everyone,

Here is a re-post of something I put up for the first series, Garrow’s London and how it worked from Crime to Punishment.

Enjoy!

 

Garrow’s law is set in London at the end of the 1700s.  It was quite a time to be alive:  the American Revolutionary War had just ended, leaving thousands of disgruntled British soldiers looking for work; there was revolution in France, and back in England there winds of change were starting to blow.  People were starting to talk about rights, and about democracy. The movement to end slavery was getting going, women, like Mary Wollstonecraft, were asserting themselves and talking about the rights of women.  And reform was in the air, people were getting frustrated with the corruption in parliament and were hungry for change.

And all this was being played out in a new public arena.  There had been an explosion of newspapers and journals:

  • In 1770, London has 5 daily papers;
  • In the 1780s, it had 9 dailies, 8 tri-weeklys and 9 weeklys;
  • In the 1790s, it had 14 dailies, 7 tri-weeklys and 2 weeklys.

But whilst there was change on one side, on the other the ruling classes were battening down the hatches and steeling themselves.  They were quite happy with things as they were thank you very much!

From Crime to Punishment

A common way for crimes to be detected is that a Night Watchman would hear or see something.  Have a look at the case of Henry Morgan 15 September 1784, we hear from a Watchman examined by Garrow in the Old Bailey.

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17840915-1&div=t17840915-1&terms=stop|theif|garrow#highlight

If there were no watchmen around, there was no choice other than to run after the criminal yourself.  If you discovered a felony, you were legally obliged to apprehend those responsible and notify the constable.  Also, if a constable was trying to catch a felon, he could require people to join the ‘hue and cry’.

In this case, a man explains the steps he took to catch the highwayman:

This isn’t a Garrow case, but it shows you just how swift and harsh the justice was.  No defence counsel, not even a prosecution.  Basically, the judge was in charge and played all the parts …

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17830115-6&div=t17830115-6&terms=stop|theif|garrow#highlight

Next step

OK, so the crime has happened. How else would the suspect be brought to court?  A common option was to use a Thieftaker.  As you’ll know if you’re read the outline for this Sunday’s episode, Garrow defends Peter Pace, who is accused by renowned thief-taker Edward Forrester of robbing a man at gunpoint.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nsp4s Thieftaking was most notorious in the 1720s – 50s, but carried on as long as there were rewards paid.  The Times newspaper was writing against the corrupting effects of the reward system well into the 1780s.  Thieftaking didn’t stop finally until 1818 when the reward system was abolished by Parliament.

The core idea is that Thieftakers are driven by the reward money.  They will do anything to get it.  However, they were not all bad, and many performed useful functions.   These included,

1) Recovering stolen property and claiming any private reward that was offered from the victim eg man’s horse stolen.  He offers a reward and puts an advert in the paper. You find it, bring it to him and claim the reward.

2) Apprehending criminals:  Often, private citizens would go to a Thieftaker and ask them to intercept a criminal.  Basically, the Thieftaker is like a private policeman. The Thieftaker is paid by getting some of the reward money offered by the state for successful conviction of criminals.

That’s it, let’s wait and see what happens in Episode 1 (series 1) !!!

If you are interested in learning more about Thieftakers, have a look at the historical section of the Old Bailey Proceedings Online.  It gives you a great overview of the development of policing over a long period – much longer than just Garrow’s time.

We have a crime, we have a suspect, but we’re not ready for the Old Bailey just yet.

Here is a nice example, with Garrow for the defence, where a victim of crime obtains a warrant from the magistate, and then, with the warrant in hand, goes and gets a constable to accompany him to the suspects’ house.  The accusation was that someone has stolen some meat.  … But when they got there, the cats had already gnawed it!!

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17850223-120&div=t17850223-120&terms=garrow|warrant|magistrate#highlight

 

 


Inspirations Episode 2, continued

November 21, 2010

Hi,

Hope you enjoyed tonight’s episode.  All the links and text are on the bbc website

For collected documents about the real Captain Jones, and the debate his case caused in society, click here

Enjoy!


Episode 3 – some of the inspirations

November 16, 2009

Hi,

I hope you enjoyed Garrow’s Law yesterday – only one Episode left!  It’s gone all too quickly!

So, there were a number of different themes in yesterday’s episode.

We kicked off with the rape case.  Although Garrow was in his traditional role as defence counsel, this time, he was defending the rapist.  This is one of the cases that we drew on – as you can see, it was Garrow v Silvester. One of the most painful things about the case is that the real Mary Tolin was only ‘going of’ thirteen:

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17890909-96&div=t17890909-96&terms=garrow|tollin#highlight

Next was, of course, the duel.  Duelling was happening around Garrow’s time.  If you are interested, amongst a number of sources, I suggest having a look at Crime and Punishment in Eighteenth Century England by Frank McLynn. The relevant bit is from p142 onwards. It’s all – bar two pages – online at:

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jXe5XQJWqmkC&pg=PA142&lpg=PA142&dq=duel+england+eighteenth+century&source=web&ots=uWQ5v4M6sF&sig=gaWrkej4fdsnsU2mSMulkLFdiOo&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=9&ct=result#PPA142,M1

There are records of barristers having fought duels with each other around this time – apparently, in 1816, the barristers Alley and Adolphus had such a bitter exchange in court that they went to Calais to settle the matter by a duel!  As for Garrow, one of the inspirations for the duel was an actual challenge that was put to Garrow.  Professor Beattie wrote an excellent piece about Garrow for History Today journal.  In that piece, he Professor Beattie wrote about Garrow’s dealing with a Swiss nobleman called Baron Hompesch. The baron brought a suit against a neighbor for hunting on his leased estate in Kent. Garrow defended the neighbor and, surprise surprise, was rude to the Baron in Court, and made fun of him. Apparently, the Baron challenged Garrow to a Duel and then complained to the Prince of Wales when G refused to fight the duel that would restore the baron’s honour.  It’s not clear why Garrow refused, but maybe, he’d had his fingers burnt before?

Next there was the burgeoning love with Garrow and Lady Sarah.   I don’t want to say more about that in case it spoils next week’s episode …!

Then the primary case, this was where Garrow got his revenge on the theiftaker.  We have talked about Thieftaking before, but perhaps the interesting thing to point out is about perjury:

In 1786, The Times wrote:

“The crime of perjury has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished; at present it is dangerous for an honest man to make an affidavit in a Court of Law, it being the practice of the swindling tribe, when fined or prosecuted, to overpower him with a train of suborned witnesses and outswear him by numbers”

 

It also wrote:

‘Conviction-rewards, rather create, than amend the evils, which they were intended to prevent.’

It’s also worth noting that at the Old Bailey, three passages of scripture were inscribed in gold lettering on the wall above the bench:

–          If a false witness shall rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong, then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to do unto his brother. – Deut, c xix. V. 16

–          A false witness shall not be unpunished, but he that speaketh lies, shall perish. – Prov. C. xix. V. 9

–          Ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of God. – Lev c xix. V. 12 (Source The Bar and the Old Bailey by Allyson May – as I’ve said before, this is a great book and everyone who is interested in this period should read it http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bailey-1750-1850-Studies-Legal-History/dp/0807828068

Here is a case that, although it is a bit before Garrow’s time, is interesting because it lays out a perjury trial where someone is getting tried for fitting up an innocent man for a robbery.  It was exactly this sort of thing that the Times was still campaigning against in Garrow’s time.

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17321206-73-person468&div=t17321206-73#highlight

As always, if you want to find out more, I suggest you go to http://www.oldbaileyonline.org and play around with various searches and keywords.

with best wishes

Mark Pallis


Episode 2: Some inspirations from my research

November 9, 2009

Hi,

I hope you enjoyed Episode 2.

Before I get to the monster, I want to mention the first case that was featured – about the guy that had nicked the brass harness the guy in the employment of William Champion Crespigny.   This is inspired by a real case. The guy was a gent from Cavendish Square.  One of the things that was so striking was that Garrow really laid into him.  He didn’t approach him with any deference, or care about his rank or position, he saw everyone as being equal before the law.

The other thing that was striking about the case was that it showed Garrow putting the idea of everyone being presumed innocent until proven guilty into practice  – he doesn’t put the defendant on the stand and the defendant doesn’t say anything.  Everything is about testing the prosecution case.   Garrow wins, without the defendant having to speak and a new legal precident is on the way to being established.

If you are interested in reading more about this case, you can find the records of it on the Proceedings of the Old Bailey online, here:

http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17900113-104&div=t17900113-104&terms=William|Champion|Crespigny#highlight

Now, the Monster.  Again, this was inspired by a real case.  One of the things that I thought was interesting was that the press played a key role in whipping up a storm. The Monster was a real cause celebre at the time, maybe the first celebrity criminal.  It had london in a fever.  I was excited by the case because I thought that I gave a good window onto the role of the press, as well as on the topic of prosecutions for reward, rather than by by police.  The other reason was that it allowed us to touch on what’s known as the ‘cab rank rule’ .   This is the rule that says that barristers have to take whatever case they’re asked to do, regardless of how they feel about it.  In the words of the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg,

‘The “cab rank” rule is one of the glories of the Bar. It underscores that every member of the Bar is obliged, without fear or favour, to represent clients who offer themselves, regardless of how unpopular they may be in the community or elsewhere.’

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ldhansrd/vo990128/text/90128-06.htm

As to the stuff that inspired the case, well, there really was a Monster who terrorised the streets of London, stabbing women in the bum, and also, and this really not nice, stabbing them in the face with a sharp implement disguised in bouquets of flowers.  For more info on the Monster, there are a few good sources of information. One is a book by Jan Bondeson:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/London-Monster-Sanguinary-Tale/dp/0812235762 This is really really thorough.  Of course, nothing beats going down the British Library and seeing the real stories as they were reported in the newspapers! It involved a number of legal complexities (all the stuff about the cutting of cloth etc) and the actual case was indeed respited for the 12 judges.

Here are some links that you might find interesting:

http://www.exclassics.com/newgate/ng374.htm
http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=t17900708-1&div=t17900708-1&terms=RENWICK#highlight
http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?id=o17901208-3&div=o17901208-3&terms=renwick|williams#highlight
Also, Tony Marchant, writer and Co-creator was interviewed on Start The Week today.  It’s available on Iplayer.
Enjoy!