Defending The Guilty

McBride, Alex


Every day, like every criminal barrister in this country, Alex McBride stands up in court and, with nothing but his hard-won legal expertise, attempts to save people from criminal conviction and even a lifetime behind bars. In this memoir he takes us behind the scenes of Britain’s criminal justice system.


The official TV tie-in edition of Defending the Guilty

‘Terrific, fascinating, very funny’ Daily Mail

‘Hilarious’ Sun

‘Gripping’ Literary Review

How do we ensure that the guilty are convicted and the innocent walk free?

Shortlisted for the Crime Writers Award Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction, true crime meets humour in Defending the Guilty, a hilariously funny and eye-opening exposé of the criminal justice system.

Every day, criminal barrister Alex McBride stands up in court and attempts to save people from conviction, prison, even a lifetime behind bars. Sometimes it’s a hopeless case.

Sometimes he has the chance to right a wrong. But mostly his clients are just plain guilty.

In Defending the Guilty, McBride takes us behind the scenes of Britain’s criminal justice system. He introduces us to its extraordinary characters and arcane eccentricities, and tells astonishing stories of courtroom triumph and defeat. Whether he’s defending hapless teenagers at Harlow Youth Court or prosecuting gold bullion robbers at the Old Bailey, these hair-raising tales reveal that justice rarely operates in quite the way we expect.

‘Expert, authoritative, hilarious – an insider’s fearless account of life at the criminal bar’ Craig Raine, Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year

‘McBride details his own cock-ups and disasters with the relish of the born humorous writer. Very funny’ Daily Mail

‘Rollicks along with a good eye for detail and a neat turn of phrase’ Observer

‘Gripping, engaging, compelling. The real life of criminal barristers is expertly caught’ Literary Review

Alex McBride is a criminal barrister. He is the author of the ‘Common Law’ column in Prospect magazine, has contributed to the New Statesman and various BBC programmes, including From Our Own Correspondent and is the editor of the Famous Trials Penguin Specials series.

Additional information

Weight 202 g
Dimensions 198 × 129 × 18 mm






xii, 272




Media tie-in


345.420092 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K