Monday, October 20, 2014

Nicholas Reid on Peter Williams

That’s Peter Williams QC, not nice Peter Williams TV.

Nicholas Reid of Reid’s Reader has read Peter Williams QC’s horribly titled memoir The Dwarf who Moved so you don’t have to. Quote unquote:
When it comes to memoirs by celebrity lawyers, however, there’s the clear temptation to give us a parade of “my most successful cases” and to score belated points against courtroom opponents. And this is exactly the territory that Peter Williams inhabits. [...] 
We are also told, after another flawed and unjust successful prosecution: 
“That night, the police and the prosecution held a great party to celebrate at the Station Hotel in Auckland, which is fairly near the Supreme Court. The Station Hotel was well known as a second police headquarters. In fact, one bar upstairs was specifically reserved for police officers. There were many anecdotes about this. In those days, it was generally believed to be the centre of an abortion racket and a place for the sale and distribution of stolen property. Just how closely the police were involved in this is not clear, but rumours were rife.” (p.127) 
At which point I, presiding at the Court of Literary Judgment, halt proceedings and declare: “Mr Williams, would you please approach the bench. I am aware that rumours are part of a valid social description, but you are entering them into evidence at this point in order to prejudice the jury of your readers against the police, when in this particular case you have no stronger evidence with which to do so. I have noticed that this is a favourite technique of yours. Now would you please refrain from such innuendo and stick with statements you can verify?”

To which I would add, “fairly near” the Supreme Court? Yes, it is about 100 metres, turn left and cross Symonds Street. But why not say so? Lazy writing: “fairly near" tells the reader nothing. And I don’t believe that one bar was reserved for cops. What publican would do that? The front bar wasn’t and the lovely back bar certainly wasn’t.

My favourite memory of the Station Hotel, apart from seeing Gary Langsford playing guitar in DD Smash there (he was unimaginably fantastic), is Judith Tizard as the barmaid. She was a really good barmaid.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Now they were the heady days of youth! Completely forgotten about Gazza and Jude! A magic memory, thank you.