Adult book reviews, Book Reviews

Reasonable Doubt by Dr Xanthe Mallett – ARC Review


My Rating ~ Four Stars

RELEASE DATE:  28 July 2020

Format: Paperback

Pages: 272

Publisher: Pan Macmillan



We all put our faith in the criminal justice system. We trust the professionals: the police, the lawyers, the judges, the expert witnesses. But what happens when the process lets us down and the wrong person ends up in jail?

Henry Keogh spent almost twenty years locked away for a murder that never even happened. Khalid Baker was imprisoned for the death of a man his best friend has openly admitted to causing. And the exposure of ‘Lawyer X’ Nicola Gobbo’s double-dealing could lead to some of Australia’s most notorious convictions being overturned.

Forensic scientist Xanthé Mallett is used to dealing with the darker side of humanity. Now she’s turning her skills and insight to miscarriages of justice and cases of Australians who have been wrongfully convicted.

Exposing false confessions, polices biases, misplaced evidence and dodgy science, Reasonable Doubt is an expert’s account of the murky underbelly of our justice system – and the way it affects us all.




Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan for providing me with a copy of Reasonable Doubt, in exchange for an honest review!

Reasonable Doubt takes us through some of Australia’s worst wrongful convictions, the fight to clear the accused names and the ultimate outcomes.  Dr Mallett provides a ton of information about how and why these miscarriages of justice happen, and some of the ways they could have been avoided.  He talks about confirmation bias, by police and jurors, and the increased likelihood of marginalised groups being affected.

The idea of wrongful convictions terrifies me.  The thought that people are being incarcerated, sometimes losing years of their life (and having the rest of their life affected, due to the criminal label that can continue to follow them, regardless of their exoneration) is just horrifying.  For those of us lucky enough to be able to assume innocence = protection, it’s almost unfathomable that we could find ourselves in a position where we’re unable to convince the law that we have not committed a crime – but I’m sure this assumption was also held by every single person who has been wrongfully convicted, before their world came crashing down.

I did feel like the constant interruption of each story, with a page or so of technical jargon and other cases that related to the information, made the book a little harder to read.  Those pieces of information were great, but I would have liked to see them at the end of each chapter, instead of half way through a case.

I think this book is an important read, not only for interest sake, but to allow us to examine our own confirmation biases, and to remind ourselves that, when it comes to crime, there’s nothing more important than finding the truth.




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