Friday, August 31, 2012

Heart of Stone...Justice for Azaria by Michael Chamberlain

There could be no worse occurrence in any parents life than to lose a child be it by illness or accident so there would supposedly be very few people who would not sympathise with the plight of Michael and Lindy Chamberlain whose daughter Azaria was snatched from the family tent at Ayers Rock in August 1980 when she was just 10 weeks old, unfortunately for the Chamberlains, Australia was full of people had no sympathy at all for them and felt in fact that Azaria had been killed by her Mother who was then according to public and media myth helped by her Husband to conceal or cover up the crime and so the door was opened for one of the worst witch hunts ever seen to be conducted by the Australian Media and an enormous miscarriage of justice to occur.
To summarise, after the first inquest cleared the Chamberlains of any involvement in Azaria`s death, the North Territory Authorities set to work to overturn this finding and succeeded in having the Chamberlains put on trial, with Lindy being found guilty of killing her young daughter and Michael an accessory, appeals followed with disappointing results and Lindy spent substantial time in jail while Michael and those who supported them worked tirelessly to have Lindy freed and justice done which after the finding of Azaria`s Matinee Jacket commenced. Lindy always claimed that Azaria was wearing this little jacket when she was taken, the authorities said she was a liar. A long battle to have Azaria`s death ruled as having been caused by a dingo followed and finally this year a Coroner ruled that Azaria Chantal Loren Chamberlain had been killed by a dingo and issued a new death certificate that reflected this finding.
Lindy Chamberlain wrote a marvellous book which detailed her long and exhausting road to freedom and to a new life, it was a best seller which I have read twice. She was not always complementary about her now ex husband and after reading his book, I can understand why.
I can not claim to have read every word, nobody in their right mind would, there are far too many words, far too much quoting of every source, for example every newspaper quote is both sourced and dated which was off putting to say the least.The book is ponderous and lacks any type of real flow, the narrative was continually stymied by legal jargon or source notes, there was far too many uncorrected errors which considering Chamberlain`s ponderous attention to detail elsewhere struck me as odd and very little real sense of Michael Chamberlain as a person came through, it was simply too mechanical.
This book sadly is only for the die hard adherents and those who love to be awash in meaningless detail, while Chamberlain has every right to tell his side of the story and there are interesting snippets here and there, one would be better served by reading John Bryson`s Evil Angels or Lindy Chamberlain`s Through My Eyes.As to my personal opinion on the case, I believe that neither Lindy nor Michael Chamberlain had anything to do with Azaria`s death, the appalling ordeal that they endured at the hands of the media and the Northern Territory Authorities and the Judiciary is very similar to that dished out to Arthur Allan Thomas in New Zealand.
Available at all good Bookshops in Trade Paperback.

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