A masterful and deeply troubling expose, Witness is the culmination of five years' research for award-winning investigative journalist Louise Milligan.
Throughout her career charting the experiences of people who have the courage to come forward to police and then look to find justice in court, Milligan has watched how witnesses are treated (or, too frequently, mistreated) in the courtroom. They have described to her how they relive the associated trauma, often years later. Then, she saw this first-hand when she became a witness and was cross-examined herself in the trial of the decade, R v George Pell.
Never-before-published court transcripts expose widespread systemic flaws. And through a combination of extraordinarily candid interviews with defence counsel, prosecutors and even judges, and the heartbreaking stories of witnesses in a number of high-profile cases, the brutal reality of the system is laid bare.
Revealing the devastating effects of an adversarial legal system that can be sexist, callous and too often weighted towards the rich and powerful, Milligan also highlights its failure to protect the wellbeing of the most vulnerable. In detailing these flaws and the ongoing human cost, Witness is a compelling call for change.
Shortlisted for the 2021 Stella Prize 'Witness is an impressive, gut-wrenching interrogation of the justice system.' THE SATURDAY PAPER 'Witness is a triumph of intellect and empathy.' THE CONVERSATION