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The Truth Hurts

An Expose of Imperfect Justice

Andrew Boe



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Hachette Australia
11 August 2020
Biography; Memoirs
Criminal justice systems are not designed to seek the truth. In places like Australia, court proceedings remain an adversarial blood sport at times distorted by smoke and mirrors or failed by individual shortcomings. Navigating it is difficult and uncertain for any one of us but more so if you are poor, not white - or not white enough - not a straight male or have no formal education. Simply put, the most vulnerable among us are unfairly exposed to unjust outcomes.

Drawing on his experiences as a child of Burmese migrants fleeing a military junta and his evolution from a naive law clerk, too shy to speak, into a lawyer whose ponytailed flamboyance and unbridled willingness to speak truth to power riled many within the legal establishment, Andrew Boe delves into cases he found unable to leave behind. These cases have shaped who he has become. Taking us from a case of traditional punishment gone wrong in the Gibson Desert to deaths in police custody on Palm Island and in Yuendumu in the Northern Territory - places where race relations are often stalled in a colonial time warp - to an isolated rural home, and the question of what is self-defence after decades of domestic abuse; to cases of children abandoned, 'stolen' and then fought over; and into prison interview rooms and courthouses around the country where Boe defended serial killers, rapists, child sex offenders, murderers as well as the odd politician - he holds fast to the premise that either every one of us is entitled to the presumption of innocence or none of us are.

THE TRUTH HURTS is an unflinching exploration of the fault lines in our justice system by an outsider who found his way in. With forthright and uncompromising focus, Boe, now a barrister, spares no one, including himself, in this thought-provoking and at times brutal account. He argues that to give each other a 'fair go', we should all first acknowledge the flaws in the current system, address our individual and collective weaknesses, and engage in a nuanced, real conversation about the human cost of not getting to the truth.

'It lacks nothing but a kill switch' - Trent Dalton
By:   Andrew Boe
Imprint:   Hachette Australia
Country of Publication:   Australia
Dimensions:   Height: 154mm,  Width: 234mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   410g
ISBN:   9780733643385
ISBN 10:   0733643388
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   11 August 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Andrew Boe is a criminal barrister now based in Sydney. His legal work has taken him to Broome, Alice Springs, Injinoo, the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as most cities and towns on the eastern seaboard of Australia with a courthouse. He has represented a serial killer (Ivan Milat), vulnerable Indigenous communities (including Palm Island), political animals (One Nation proponent David Ettridge, Indigenous MP Billy Gordon and billionaire Clive Palmer), women who have been battered by their partners, men who have done the battering, as well as ordinary people facing challenges within the Australian criminal justice system. Andrew has written widely about criminal and social justice matters, albeit till now in journalistic and news comment format and was a panellist on the ABC's Q&A program in 2009. The issues he was involved concerning Palm Island are the subject of Chloe Hooper's THE TALL MAN and the SBS television documentary with the same title. His experience of Australian law is a unique one, but the issues he speaks of are necessary reading for all Australians. Andrew was born in Burma and arrived in Australia with his parents and four brothers in the late sixties as political refugees. THE TRUTH HURTS is his debut literary work.

Reviews for The Truth Hurts: An Expose of Imperfect Justice

It lacks nothing but a kill switch ... [Boe's] book is painstakingly built on matters of fact that are deeply relevant to every Australian alive in 2020 ... wired with over 30 years of microscopic observations from the legal coal face - Weekend Australian Magazine A very enlightening, worthwhile and honest read - Lawyers Weekly

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