Today on the blog I am delighted to be part of the blog tour for Unconvicted by Olly Jarvis. This is Olly's second Jack Kowalski novel, following on from Cut-Throat Defence, published in 2016. Hope you enjoy reading this extract from this addictive legal thriller.
In a razor-sharp legal thriller, Jack
Kowalski must win two challenging trials to save his reputation and his career
Junior barrister Jack Kowalski is crushed. His client Timothy Smart
appears to have committed a monstrous crime while on bail – a bail application
Jack fought hard to win.
When a high-profile Polish footballer is charged with rape and demands
a fellow countryman represent him, Jack must overcome his guilt and get back to
work. Before long he takes on a second case, a GBH for instructing solicitor
Lara Panassai, who Jack remains desperate to impress. But neither case is what
it seems, and Jack will face an extraordinary uphill battle to see that justice
The second Jack Kowalski novel, Unconvicted
is a gripping courtroom drama written with the expert insight of a practicing
criminal barrister, perfect for fans of William L. Myers, Deborah Hawkins, and
Jack robed in double-quick time. He
rushed down to Court 8, flicking through the brief to take in the basic grounds
of the application for bail. He had butterflies, but not for fear of going into
Court: he’d all but conquered that in his first few months of tenancy. No, he
was nervous about being unprepared, and at the possibility of getting a
dressing-down from the judge.
But it was all part of being a barrister,
and Jack could handle it. He was on his way, he’d won a few trials, his diary
was starting to fill up, and solicitors were actually briefing him in his own
name. And most important of all, he was starting to feel comfortable, not only
in a wig and gown, but in his own skin.
His opponent was already in Court. Barry
Smith worked in-house at the Crown Prosecution Service. A sensible and fair
prosecutor who gave every brief the same meticulous consideration.
‘Here he is! Cutting it a bit fine,
aren’t you, Kowalski?’ he said as Jack flung his papers onto an empty lectern
on counsel’s row.
‘Don’t even go there,’ Jack replied.
‘I’ve read the basics, Barry. No previous, denies it completely. Anything else
I should know?’
‘Only that we’re really worried about
this one.’ His humour had vanished. ‘He’s gone totally psycho, flipped out,
smashed up the house and did some pretty strange things leading up to the rape.
We really don’t want him out there. This brief has got danger writtenall over it.’
‘Bloody hell, Barry! Whatever happened to
innocent until proven guilty?’ asked Jack. ‘I wouldn’t worry though, mate. I’ll
never get bail in this.’
Her Honour Judge Beddingfield entered the
courtroom and took her seat on the bench.
‘Yes?’ she said, not wasting any time.
The court clerk stood up. ‘The bail
application of Timothy Smart, Your Honour. Mr Smith is for the Crown and Mr
‘Very good. Let’s get on with it,
gentlemen. I’m anxious not to keep the jury waiting in my trial. What are your
objections to bail, Mr Smith?’
‘Quite simply, risk of further offences,
Your Honour. The defendant has committed a very serious offence – rape of his
estranged wife. He’s very unstable. There’s been a pattern of offending, all
directed towards Mrs Smart: harassment, smashing windows, even entering the
house uninvited and leaving bizarre and threatening messages on the walls.
She’s terrified, Your Honour.’
The prosecutor handed forward some
photographs of the lounge, the first of which showed the words ‘sin no more’ written in three-foot-high
letters along one wall.
‘Yes, I see,’ said the judge, looking
through the other photos, clearly concerned. ‘What do you say, Mr Kowalski?’
Jack got stuck in immediately: ‘There’s
absolutely no corroboration for any of this, Your Honour. It all comes from Mrs
Smith; only her word. There’s no bruising or injury that suggests a forced
sexual act.’ Jack paused to let his points sink in. ‘Your Honour, as faras the allegations of criminal damage are
concerned, it’s pure speculation that they were committed by the defendant.
There is not a shred of evidence to link him to the offences. No forensics, nor
eyewitness evidence. And, as I understand it, Mrs Smart did not report any of
these matters to the police at the time they were allegedly committed. Only
later, when she made the allegation of rape.’
Her Honour raised an eyebrow. ‘Is that
right, Mr Smith?’
‘Yes it is, Your Honour. Mrs Smart made
her reasons quite clear in her witness statement. She didn’t want to aggravate
matters by involving the police. She was desperately trying to find a way to
appease the defendant and resolve matters amicably, for the sake of the
children. He reacted very badly when she told him she wanted a divorce.’
The judge nodded. ‘Yes, I see.’
Smith continued: ‘She’d already managed
to persuade the defendant to move out some months earlier. Even then, she
noticed how his behaviour was becoming more erratic. As far as any lack of
injury is concerned, it’s well known that it takes the case no further. There
is frequently no bruising or other injury where intercourse is forced.’
‘Semen?’ said the judge.
‘None, Your Honour. The defendant
suffered from sexual dysfunction during the marriage – unable to ejaculate.
There was a partial DNA profile on a vaginal swab, which matched the
defendant.’ Smith sat down. He’d done enough.
About the Author
Olly Jarvis is a writer and criminal defence barrister,
originally from London but now working in Manchester. Drawing on his
experiences, he writes both fiction and non-fiction with a particular
understanding of the pressures and excitement of life in the courtroom. He
wrote the highly acclaimed Radio 4 drama Judgement, and wrote and presented the
BBC documentary Mum Knows Best. He is also the author of Death by Dangerous.
Olly has two children and lives in Cheshire.