The lawyer and author also tells Prospect they "always wanted to be a comedy writer"by Prospect Team / October 6, 2020 / Leave a comment
What is the first news event that you can recall?
I have a vague recollection of seeing something about Margaret Thatcher leaving Downing Street in the Funday Times. It meant nothing to me at the time, but I do recall thinking what a nice car she was in.
What is the book you are most embarrassed to have not yet read?
Oh God. Too many to list. Invariably when it comes to those “100 Books You Must Read Before Your Corpse Decomposes” lists I have not read far more than I have. Picking one from many, I suppose it’s pretty bad that—given its exploration of the duality of the self and hidden alter-egos—I haven’t read Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
What’s one bit of advice you’d give to your younger self?
“It will be OK.”
Which historical figure or figures would you most like to have dinner with?
I find dinner parties and forced social gatherings largely excruciating, so would inevitably end up cancelling at the last minute and staying home. So I’d pick somebody unlikely to react badly to being stood up. Attila the Hun, perhaps.
What has been your most uncomfortable moment in court?
Probably the time I was prosecuting and telling the judge what the defendant was alleged to have done, while the defendant, who was appearing over a video-link from custody, heckled me throughout. “Bullshit!”, “You liar!” etc. After several warnings were ignored, the judge cut the link. It was only then that I realised—and had to tell the judge—that I had been reading out the wrong file.
If you were given £1m to spend on other people, what would you spend it on and why?
I wouldn’t trust myself with that sort of responsibility. I would give a thousand people a thousand pounds each, and ask each of them to spend it on another person. I would hope that their collective wisdom would ensure it did good over a much broader and more diverse canvas than I could think of alone.
If there were one law you could write, what would it be?
If I could write one law, it would be to make legal aid universally available for anybody charged with a…