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Wildy’s Book News

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Vol 23 No 3 March/April 2018

Book of the Month

Cover of Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

Scamell and Gasztowicz on Land Covenants

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The Old Bailey: Eight Centuries of Crime, Cruelty and Corruption

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ISBN13: 9781840182347
ISBN: 1840182342
Published: October 1999
Publisher: Mainstream Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: Out of print
Paperback edition out of print, ISBN13 9781840187625

This is the story of an arena of crime and degradation, of infamy and human suffering. It is the history of the Old Bailey, an institution as flawed as all man-made attempts at justice are doomed to be.

In the beginning there was barbarity and injustice. The court was thronged with a restless, muttering mob eager for the verdicts of ""guilty"" so they could enjoy public executions, hurling abuse and missiles at those with the noose around their neck.

Today we fool ourselves that we have evolved beyond barbarism, but are made uneasy by the continuing exposure of miscarriages of justice. While welcoming the release of those wrongly imprisoned, the innocents who died on the scaffold haunt us. Those who believe they have the divine power to judge their fellow man are unable to perform resurrections. With the Old Bailey for a yardstick, mankind has not progressed much through the centuries.

There was some optimism as the Millennium drew near, but it was misplaced. There was no apocalypse, no miracle. The Old Bailey has since seen its usual parade of misfits. With a mixture of racist murderers, road-rage killers and lying and cheating top politicians, it is as difficult as ever to separate the good from the bad, but the ugly are easily recognisable. Ugliness is the theme here as we tour the courts of long ago, meeting the Dracula-garbed court chaplains, drunken, brutal judges, cold-blooded hangmen, through to the new breed of pseudo-respectable criminals of today.

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Trials, Legal History (Out of Print)
The old and the new; the history; the tradition; the hangmen; the Fenians; the highwaymen; the traitors; the old trials; the new trials; the war years; the post-war years; the future.