Law Society Mr Alex McBridge on ‘Defending the Guilty’

The ability of a criminal lawyer to persuade just about anyone of anything when combined with the wit and story-telling abilities of an author is a wonderful combination. The Law Society were fortunate to host just such an entertaining and informative talk by Mr Alex McBride. The topic of choice was the title of his recent book, ‘Defending the Guilty’, and his talk was full of amusing anecdotes on the characters that he has met during his career. But, as well as this, he put to us a firm argument as to why everyone in this country has a right to representation at a fair trial. The world of a young criminal barrister was described as stressful, badly paid, but also an exciting one. Our speaker, at times, could have been confused as a stand-up rather than a barrister. But it is these very performing skills that proved so effective with his large audience in Marten Library. Except, of course, in the courtroom, the stakes are higher as barristers are acting for someone else’s liberty and livelihood. A flurry of questions picked away at Mr McBride’s talk but the feeling in the room by the end of the night was that defending the guilty was more than just a comedy sketch, it was something that simply had to be done.

Fred Coleridge (MNF) and Tom Selwyn-Sharpe (PMG)