Just where is justice in Australia hiding? This brilliant new collection of true crime stories takes us into the Australian courts of the 1980s and '90s, back in time to the goldfields of the 1860s and out to the island nation of Nauru in 2006 to explore how the scales of justice are unabalanced. This is a world in which the innocent still get locked up and the guilty too often go free.
One of the principles of a strong democracy (and hence a strong justice system) has to be the right to scrutinise decisions made in our collective name.
MEANER THAN FICTION is one such book - with a series of individual writers looking at a range of cases over the years that desperately call out for such scrutiny. There are a range of viewpoints and issues discussed in this book - from the victim's point of view in the case of Dr Andrew Taylor, to the perpetrator whose extenuating circumstances are simply not acknowledged (despite later cases that have been treated very differently). There's analysis of the anguish of families and loved ones in the event of an inexplicable disappearance / mrder and the role that crime writers can play in redressing a miscarriage of justice. There's historical perspective, as well as a range of cases from more current times. It's not just murder that's discussed either - the tragedy of the so called "Pacific Solution" is starkly outlined, as is the "whole truth" of some expert testimony. There are some things worth highlighting as well - such as the Innocence Project, but there is the other side - the difficult situation faced by victims of a flatmate peeping Tom.
This anthology is as relevant now as it was when it was originally published. It's a stark reminder of the need for scrutiny and was instructive, saddening, uplifting and fascinating.