Monoray to publish new edition of Mullin’s Error of Judgement

The Bookseller

Monoray, part of the Octopus Publishing Group, will publish a new edition of Chris Mullin’s Error of Judgement, which “changed the course of British legal history”.

Jake Lingwood acquired world all languages from Caroline Dawnay and Sophie Scard at United Agents. It will be published in February 2024, in paperback, e-book and for the first time, audiobook.

Error of Judgment “lit a fire under the political and legal establishment when it was first published, shattering the prosecution case against six Irishmen wrongly convicted of with the Birmingham bombings and going on to change the course of British legal history,” the publisher said.

“It also resulted in significant reforms to the legal system and the quashing of many other wrongful convictions. Now 50 years on from the bombings and with a new preface and several new chapters covering the aftermath of the case, this new edition of Error of Judgement tells the complete story of one of Britain’s most significant miscarriages of justice.”

Error of Judgement was first published in 1986 by Chatto and Windus Ltd, London, with revised editions published by Poolbeg Press Ltd in 1987, 1990 and 1997.

On the evening of 21st November 1974, bombs planted by the IRA in two crowded Birmingham pubs exploded, killing 21 people and injuring at least 170. Within a day of the explosion, six men – Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power, Johnny Walker and Hughie Callaghan – were arrested and charged. All were found guilty.

“Methodically, with total clarity and a tone that is both gripping and impassioned, investigative journalist Mullin unpicked every detail of the case, revealing gaping holes in the prosecution case and an establishment determined to close ranks” the publisher said, describing Error of Judgement as “a graphic illustration of what can go wrong when our police and criminal justice system is under pressure to get results and how difficult it is to persuade those responsible to own up once mistakes become obvious”.

Mullin is an author, journalist, and politician. In the 1980s he led the campaign that resulted in the release of the Birmingham Six. Mullin was a Member of Parliament for Sunderland South from 1987 until 2010 and served as a minister in three departments and as chairman of the Home Affairs select committee. He is the author of four novels, including A Very British Coup (Serpent’s Tail) which was made into an award-winning television series; four volumes of diaries; a memoir; and Error of Judgement.

Lingwood said of the acquisition: “It is a huge honour to give new life to Chris Mullin’s incredible book that sent shockwaves through the British establishment when it was first published. Major miscarriages of justice are still happening in the UK (see the postmasters scandal, for example) so it’s important to show how with resolve, determination and a nose for the facts, the truth can be uncovered. It’s also a rollickingly good read – a superb piece of non-fiction.”

Mullin added: “Even now, 50 years after the event, the ripples still spread outward. There are lessons here for everyone concerned with a criminal justice system. The book is as relevant today as it was when it was first published.”