I bought myself a Christmas present today.
Ken Crispin is a formidable man. When I met him, he was a Judge of the ACT Supreme Court. Before that, he’d been a criminal barrister (appointed SC) who, amongst other things, had acted pro bono for Lindy Chamberlain in one of the inquests into the death of Azaria Chamberlain. He also has a PhD in ethics.
I met him quite by chance. A rather awkard chance to be honest. I was a first year lawyer at a small Canberra firm, whose principal, also called Ken, was a very respected and well known lawyer. Ken had been invited to a function at the Federal Court to welcome new judges, but couldn’t attend at the last minute so asked me to go in his place. So there I stood, wearing a name tag “Ken”, introducing myself to the other Ken with mixed embarrassment and nervousness.
He was charming, and has from that day been someone I have long respected and admired. He was a very welcome addition to the ACT bench, offering far more intellect, judicial reasoning, intergrity, responsibility and dedication than many of his peers. But what I think of most when I think of him is the extract from his first book, Lindy Chamberlain: The Full Story. In it, he says that it dawned on him, during the Lindy Chamberlain trial, that the way justice had operated for her had him in fear that one day, walking down the street, he too could be charged with some offence which he did not commit. He questioned he rule of law, and the case for him was a little bit of “there but for the grace of God go I.” When I read that book I knew I’d made the right decision to be a lawyer.
I’m so glad Santa decided to bring this a bit early. Even if I did have to drive myself to Chadstone to get it.
Oh, and to make the book that little bit sweeter? The foreward is by Mr Michael Kirby AC.