At City Diggers yesterday:
The shocking thing is that book turns out to be well worth reading, very strong on characterisation, observation of social change, and the law of course. The author, Ian Callinan, was a judge of the High Court from 1998 to 2007 – a Howard government appointee. In 2003 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. As you might expect he is often seen as a conservative figure, but do note his views on capital punishment (2014):
Not all people are beyond redemption. In cases of true contrition and reformation of conduct, a civilised state should hold back from carrying out the death penalty, even if many of the subjects of that state might instinctively favour it. Our views of crime and punishment have come a long way in the last 200 years. The willingness of some states of the United States to continue to carry out the death sentence is a blot upon that otherwise great democracy. Any country that abstains from doing that can hold its head high, higher indeed than the United States.
A grant of clemency is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of a great leader. The execution by society of any human being can never elevate but can only diminish the society which carries it out.
When Norton Asper, an architect at the top of his profession, forms a relationship with an exceptionally talented, radically alternative young interior designer, his friends are surprised. When she and her lover are murdered and he is found stunned and blood-stained at the scene, the police believe he is the killer. He will say nothing to anyone about his involvement. His silence is of deep concern. His lawyers need to know what has happened…