My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: This was a very interesting account of a man falsely accused of a terrible crime. I’m really surprised at the levels of assumption, oversight and just the overarching case in general. The narrative is actually told very well, like an unfolding story as it’s recounted. I felt like I was reading a case as recounted from a prominent news journal, though with personal touches.
I’ve read and often perused crime stories in the measure of fiction and non-fiction works, but in picking up “Real Justice: Guilty of Being Weird”, I was very surprised to see how much assumption and oversight occurred in the case of 24-year old Guy Paul Morin. A man who still lived with his parents and quiet by nature, Morin found himself accused of kidnapping the daughter of his neighbors, a nine year old girl, in 1984. Many made claims of his guilt based on his demeanor and oddities about the way he came home the evening the girl disappeared, but other claims that would later note his innocence (such as the fact that he never smoked) were ignored. He was found innocent during his first trial, but with fabrications of evidence, dismissal of witness testimonies, tampering with procedure, and a retrial (in Canada, double jeopardy doesn’t apply), Morin was falsely imprisoned for quite some time until appeals towards his innocence and testimonies were heard.
I appreciated learning the story of Morin and reading the unfolding narrative behind it. Granted, I would say there were some parts of this narrative that didn’t do enough to bring more of an account from multiple perspectives from direct figures involved in the case, but I liked how it told the story from beginning to end and includes a timeline of events for the reader to peruse. This is the kind of narrative that is easy to pick up for multiple audiences, and conveys the importance of examining all angles of a case before presuming guilt. I would certainly recommend it for those who want to read true life justice stories and who are interested in the respective case.
Overall score: 3/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Lorimer and Company.