Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories: From Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Howard Marks

A delicious read on British courtroom dramas.

Jeremy Hutchinson is one of those British lawyers, whose moral compass always points in the correct direction (or you would think). Jeremy has worked on cases such as, in defence of the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trial (1960), that dragged Penguin Books into it. That case was unique: Lady Chatterley’s Lover was a book by D.H. Lawrence, that increasingly used slangs in proper linguistic structures, and this had alarmed many people in Great Britain, at the time. The controversies heightened when the book was published in an affordable and readily available format and the case went on to become a career defining one for Hutchinson.

The book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, even by today’s standards remains controversial for too much of the words “fuck” and “cunt” in them, even though the case was won on the grounds that it demonstrated British society’s evolution. It’s hard not to agree with the public there, when you open a book and read frequent use of those words whilst you are trying to understand Chatterley’s frustrations at having to live with only love, and no sex. But given the theme of the book, wouldn’t it be quite inappropriate to skip words that make it easier to translate the frustration a woman feels, for fear of seeming obscene? In that retrospect, the book was ahead of its times and pretty clairvoyant about social change in a British landscape.

The case is covered in the book in infinitely tantalizing ways, and I think it will without a doubt, remain my most favourite out of all the numerous ones Jeremy has worked on in his distinguished career. To get a more diverse flavour of Jeremy’s law career: think about cases involving espionage and “unwanted sexual provocation”. Jeremy defended two spies (George Blake and John Vassall) in the sixties for spying in favour of the Soviet Union, and what was special about that case was actually Blake’s survival story. Blake, a former MI6 officer, was a prisoner in North Korea (1950 – 1953) and lived through a death march, partially converted to communism and spent his time spying on Russians in Berlin, and sometimes in Beirut, Lebanon.

The case history of this particular case in the book, is conflicted and less secretive than previous espionage accounts, that are more often than not, cloaked with too much of infuriating mystery, to handle. Jeremy was born in 1915, and in today’s times is regarded as a legendary criminal barrister circa ‘60s, ‘70s and ’80s. Some of his most magnificent cases are studied in the book, such as those mentioned above + Hutchinson fighting in defence of the train robber Charlie Wilson, Kempton Bunton (a thief, who had stolen a picture from the National Gallery), art faker Tom Keating and a huge cannabis importer, Howard Marks. Jeremy was never about powerfully doing what is right, he was always for liberty and freedom, for all, no matter the case or its backstory. A very riveting read for lovers of exciting courtroom dramas, with or without a moral compass, in sight!


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