Cover Image: Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court

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Member Reviews

A compelling read. I have to admire Mr Hinds tenacity with his fight for justice. A little slow, but as a true story shows the bias and unfairness of our legal system.
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Alfred Hinds served 12 years for a crime he did not commit and managed to escape from prison 3 times.  This book details how the criminal justice system worked back in the 1950s and how Alfred suffered because of it.  This book is very intriguing, but it did drag at times.
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(3.5 of 5.0) Twelve years. Three jailbreaks. One fight for justice. 

This is the true story of Alfred Hind’s strange legal travails that took him through a bizarre time. He was simply a man who goes out one evening to try and buy a carpet for his living room and days later winds up arrested for planning and running a large robbery he had nothing to do with.  Apparently, the guy who he met to get the carpet from, and some of his friends were involved in the robbery, but it had nothing to do with him. The police didn’t care, they just saw that he’d been arrested once back In the day and despite him being an honest businessman ever since, they held his past against him now.  Even though the night it happened, he had several people who could vouch that he was at home.  

This turns into quite the legal saga, and at times is a bit repetitive but is fascinating with how he learns English and Irish law in prison and uses it to fight his case through the courts.  Then when he is frustrated that way, how he escaped to draw attention to his plight. It apparently drew quite a bit of attention at the time in the news. Interesting stuff and he kept the authorities hopping with cases, appeals, and writs.  He seemed to manage most things he set his mind to, and he wasn’t backing down until he proved that he was wrongfully convicted.  

It’s maddening how crooked many in the system seemed to be against him, though there were those honest ones too, there weren’t enough of them in the story.  The ones who just twisted the law to get the results they wanted seemed to be in the majority. An advance digital copy was provided by NetGalley, author Alfred Hinds, and the publisher for my fair review. 

Agora Books 
Publication: July 19, 2018
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Very interesting book. I am not a huge memoir reader, but I do enjoy occasional non-fiction and memoirs. The only issue I had with this book is that it read more like a police account: first I did this, then this happened, then this happened. This isn't awful by any means, but the content could have done with more of a story-type memoir.
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I really do feel bad for Mr. Hinds. There definitely was conspiracy against him, and he lost years of his life because of it. However, the book felt very slow. I did not feel compelled to read it after about 10% (on my Kindle), but forced myself to anyway. It was not quite what I had expected or was hoping for.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book.
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Alfred (Alfie) Hinds was a renowned criminal from the 1950s who was convicted against all the evidence of a burglary from a furniture store and while serving the savage 12-year sentence for a crime he did not commit, ,managed to escape three times from prison before eventually winning libel case against his accuser, a police officer, and receiving a pardon and proving his innocence.

Heady stuff indeed and Hinds uses this book to set the record straight. This is a reprint of his memoirs, first published in 1966, and they are still well worth reading as they provide a comprehensive account of how the criminal justice system worked - or rather didn't way back then.

Hinds's memory is phenomenal as he apparently recalls verbatim conversations from many years previously but he writes well and with forensic detail and the book is never less than fascinating.
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