Clive Stafford-Smith lives with his family in Symondsbury, near Bridport. For almost thirty years he has sought to provide not only an opportunity for justice but also a voice to those who deserve to be represented. For Clive and Reprieve, the organisation he leads, juries should be able to make a decision based on all the available evidence being presented honestly and that whatever the crime the prisoner should not be faced with the death penalty. His experience is that the ‘death penalty is not for the person who committed the worst crime but for the person who got the worst lawyer’.
His new book Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America presents a sometimes chaotic and connived picture of justice and as the following narrative describes a man who many prisoners appear to owe a huge debt of gratitude. In fact, in some cases, their lives.
‘Clive Stafford-Smith is a pioneering human rights lawyer, and his new book, Injustice, is a profound and sometimes terrifying work about the fragility of human freedom. In 1986, Kris Maharaj, a British businessman living in Miami, was arrested for the brutal murder of his ex-business associates Derrick and Duane Moo Young. Clive Stafford-Smith, a young lawyer working for nothing, was determined to untangle the case, which revealed corruption at every turn. Reading at times like a detective thriller, this book is also the story of Stafford-Smith’s personal journey to becoming the founder of Reprieve and a global champion of prisoners’ rights.’ (Southbank Centre)
Below is a 6 minute interview, with Nick Higham from the BBC, in which Clive Stafford-Smith summarises the case surrounding Kris Maharaj and proclaims as absurd that the realities of the courtroom and the criminal justice system, more generally, have been undermined by his pursuit of justice and fair trials both in the UK and the US.
A Dorset Eye interview with Clive Stafford-Smith is coming soon.