Death of Marat

July 13, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |

Jacques-Louis David's rather heroic treatment

13 July 1793: Jean-Paul Marat dies at 50 after Charlotte Corday goes all Norman Bates on him.  Although Marat thereby became seen as a hero for the sans-culottes and a martyr to the revolutionary cause, in fact he was a bloodthirsty little cuss, with a legendary hatred of Girondins and a disregard for what we might nowadays call ‘due process.’  Carlyle, in his brilliant, excoriating book on the French Revolution (1837), described his assassination in the following pitiless and sneering manner, redolent of Virgil but with added acrimony: “It is yellow July evening, we say, the thirteenth of the month – eve of the Bastille…

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The “Rainbow Warrior”

July 10, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | CRIME, HISTORY, POLITICS |

Drawing of 'Rainbow Warrior 1' by Rama

10 July, 1985: Greenpeace’s protest ship is blown-up in Auckland Harbour, New Zealand by 2 bombs planted by French agents. One crew member, photographer Fernando Pereira, made an ill-timed decision to return the ship after the first blast, in order to recover his photographic equipment. He was killed by the second explosion. Justice was not fully brought to bear on the agents, or the ones who gave the order. Our fictional doggerel based on the incident can be found here.

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Uncomfortably Close…the Lawyer in the Freezer

This story is one of the many lurid crime sagas that feature in staid and leafy-green Adelaide. And whilst The Varnished Culture staff all have impeccable alibis, this being Adelaide, we are far-away-so-close to the macabre events of 1979 and beyond. Unfortunately, it is one of several local causes célèbre where the jury’s verdict is in question because they may have been led to rely on tainted evidence – not corrupt evidence; just misleading, or dead-wrong. THE PLAYERS: Derrence Stevenson, specialist criminal lawyer (the victim); David Szach, Stevenson’s teenaged boyfriend; Dr Colin Manock, forensic pathologist, who gave crucial evidence at trial…

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Closed Casket

(by Sophie Hannah) (2016) For those whose guilty pleasure resided in Agatha Christie’s detective novels featuring the finicky Belgian, Hercule Poirot, we can recommend some of the better offerings from her oeuvre.*  She cheated with her plotting, but always ingeniously and within her own rules.  For those who want something new, or have ploughed through Christie’s seventy odd books already, Ms. Hannah has produced her second Poirot mystery, a homage to the Christie style and her most famous character. The scene of the crime is Lady Athelinda Playford’s mansion in County Cork, where family, staff, lawyers and detectives are summoned for…what?  A new Will, for…

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Fraying of the Golden Thread

October 17, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | CRIME, LIFE, POLITICS |

Sword of Damocles by Felix Auvray

(The 15th International Law Congress, Adelaide 12-16 October 2016) At the Congress on Thursday 13th, David Edwardson QC explained (with some warmth) that he had been able to take part in the congress’ panel discussion on varied perspectives in the criminal law because his trial scheduled for most of the month had gone off, as the Crown had delivered some 5 lever arch files of (hitherto called-for-but-not-produced) evidence to his chambers, a matter of a day or so before ‘the bounce’.  No doubt the inevitable adjournment is added to the South Australian Attorney-General’s stats on intolerable delays, which he will…

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