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This is a classic in not only telling the story of the Chamberlains, particularly Lindy, the mother whose baby was taken by a dingo 20 years ago, but also about how people can be caught up in a maelstrom of media scrutiny. I remember the events so well, and, like the rest of Australia, watched them unfold year by year. The Northern territory government and the media have a lot to answer for. The NT remains a backwater of injustice to this day - most often directed towards Aborigines, but also, as demonstrated here, with invective directed towards another group outside the conventional mainstream. The media reported in the most outrageously biased and one-sided fashion, and actually whipped up the populous into a frenzy of finger-pointing, gossiping hatred toward Mrs Chamberlain. I am not at all religious, but to my mind Seventh Day Adventism doesn't even sit far outside the mainstream Christian tradition, yet we were encouraged to believe it was some sort of devil-worshipping Jim Jones type sect. Eventually the government was forced to recognise the veracity of the Chamberlain's story. ironically, another person died on The Rock for the essential clue to be discovered - a tourist fell off and his body was found near the baby's matinee jacket. It is almost beyond belief the lengths the authorities went to to balme the parents, when most of the people closest to the event on that night verified or supported the Chamberlain's case. Yet those voices were drowned out for years. Bryson did a wonderful job of bringing this story to public atttention,and some of the most important parts were effectively translated to the screen in the Meryl Streep movie (Cry In The Dark).
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This book is the Notable Trials Library special edition of Evil Angels by John Bryson. The book provides an unbiased, painstaking account of the Lindy Chamberlain murder trial and appeal - the famous Dingo Baby case. Author John Bryson is a retired attorney as well as an author of fiction, non-fiction and biography. His expertise in both the literary and legal arenas shows in this work. Although Evil Angels reads like a true crime novel and is often mistaken for a novel, it is actually a non-fiction work. Bryson spent four years studying the media reports, inquest records, trial transcripts and appellate record of the Lindy Chamberlain case and interviewed witnesses and investigators. The result is a chronicle of one of the most famous and controversial murder trials of the 20th Century.
On August 17, 1980, Michael and Lindy Chamberlain and their three children were camping at Ayers Rock in Australia. The youngest child, Azaria, was 10 weeks old. While the rest of the family socialized with other campers around the fireside, Lindy Chamberlain put the baby to bed in her bassinet in the family's tent and returned to the fireside. Sometime later, several campers heard a baby's cry. Lindy Chamberlain seemed unconcerned. One of the older Chamberlain children and Michael Chamberlain insisted that the cry came from Azaria and urged Lindy to check on her. A few moments later, Lindy came out of the tent screaming, "the dingo's got my baby." Although other campers reported that a particularly brazen wild dog had been hanging around the campgrounds, no one other than Lindy actually saw the dingo take the baby, and no one actually saw a dingo when Lindy pointed and said "will someone, please, stop that dog." In the tent was a blood-spattered bassinet.Read more ›
If you think the justice system can only be screwed up in the United States, you'll feel differently after reading this true story of the legal web spun around the innocent couple of Lindy Chamberlain and her pastor husband in the Antipodes.
Lindy and Michael Chamberlain had set up their tent in a camping ground near one of Australia's magnificent tourist spots in the Northern Territories when, one night, a dingo -- a kind of native wild dog -- ran off with their little baby girl, Azaria. No one actually saw the dingo with the baby in its mouth but the animals had been haunting the camp, nipping at young children, and had left tracks around the entrance to the Chamberlain's tent.
Somehow or other -- the author isn't entirely clear -- the legal system came to suspect that Lindy Chamberlain had slit her daughter's throat and, with the complicity of her husband, managed to bury the body somewhere out in the surrounding desert. Tracks were found indicating that a dingo had carried and dragged a burden into the wilds but this, and other exculpatory evidence, was disregarded. They were both convicted and served time before being pardoned.
It's more than another true-crime story. It's a narrative of a justice system gone completely ape.
Bryson's background is legal so he knows how the system works. He presents the material dispassionately, and sometimes with a graceful turn of phrase. When one witness is giving evidence, he shows a slide and the pointer marks the spot of interest. The pointer is followed by its "concurring shadow." Granted, this is not a flight of poetry but Bryson DOES do this once in a while, often enough to make me a little envious. I'd give more examples but my copy of the book -- bought on Amazon.Read more ›
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