Since Cain killed Abel, the crime of murder has fascinated humans. So, too, do murder trials. They enable us to be voyeurs, peering from a safe distance into the dark recesses of the human capacity for evil and deadly impulse, and allowing us to bear witness to the ceremonial punishment of wrongdoers.
If the process of fatal crime and punishment fascinates, the Canadian criminal justice system infuriates, with its technicalities, its habit of coddling offenders, its abuse of victims, its inane defences, and its parole system.
Using the docudrama of a crime of murder as a lead to each chapter, Getting Away with Murder: the Canadian Criminal Justice System unravels the mysteries of the criminal justice system, explaining how and why we sentence offenders and pointing out where we err, particularly with the parole system. It describes the reasons behind the system’s technicalities and why some of the guilty receive their benefit. The book explores the inadequacies and excesses of criminal defences, and illustrates why the system is miserly when it comes to victims’ rights. Suggesting that much of the loss of confidence in our criminal justice system is based on misunderstanding and inadequate information, the book provides information to fill in the gaps without becoming an apologia for the system. Although entertaining – written with a sense of humour and a bit of irreverence – the book is a serious, hard hitting, and candid work by a law professor who has acted both as prosecutor and defence counsel.
Getting Away with Murder won 2nd Prize in The Donner Prize 1999/00.