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Stand Against Injustice

Stand Against Injustice

Together magazine speaks to Michelle Diskin, sister of Barry George, the man who was wrongly convicted for the murder of Jill Dando.

Expected release date is 05.10.2018

Michelle Diskin is the sister of Barry George, the man convicted and then later acquitted of the murder of BBC TV presenter Jill Dando. Michelle, a devout Christian, has written about her experience and what it was like to have to go through years of campaigning to ensure that her brother’s conviction was overturned. Her book Stand Against Injustice will be published in September. We caught up with Michelle …
 
 
It’s been almost 20 years since the murder of Jill Dando and 10 since Barry’s acquittal. Why did you decide that now was the right time to write your story?
The book has been brewing for many years and has gone through many stages, from raw pain and anger, through to a story that I hope will illuminate some of the damage and distress that a family goes through when the justice system gets it wrong. As to why now: that, I believe, is God’s timing.
 
It must have been a difficult process to go through, especially recalling the events surrounding Barry’s arrest and subsequent trial. What was the hardest part for you?
There were many traumas to revisit whilst writing the book, very painful events to bring back to mind, but I think the hardest part must be the day the news actually broke, when we found out that it was our Barry in custody for this terrible crime. The horror of that day, the panic, still has a hold over me twenty years on.
 
Your Christian faith has always been very important to you. How did it help you during the time you fought so hard to get Barry’s conviction overturned?
Knowing that God was in control, that he knew every outcome before it happened and that he had a plan for our lives. Our pain was not in vain, God would use it for good. That gave me the confidence to keep going in the face of unbelievable adversity. Stand Against Injustice is about much more of your family’s story than the events surrounding Jill’s murder.
 
Why did you want to tell your whole story?
Much has been printed about our family by the press, but it was just fragments, often taken out of context. I wanted to show us as a real family. We may be broken and damaged, but we are a family, like many other families who have disabled children. I also felt strongly that by telling our whole story up to today it would be an encouragement to other families that you can survive this trauma and come out the other side, changed, but still whole.
 
You have become a campaigner for other cases of miscarriage of justice. Can you tell us why you decided to get involved and about the work that you do?
The decision to speak out about other wrongful convictions was not one I took lightly. Historically, we can see that people who do so are often maligned for their efforts. I took my concerns to God … what should I do? He gave me the same answer he had given me in Barry’s case: he said STAND. Therefore, I take every opportunity to point people to the true facts of these cases. It is not enough to make judgements based solely on the media’s slanted editorials. I still speak at miscarriage of justice conventions, and also address universities to encourage and inform the next generation of legal students.
 
We understand that you have had interest from the national media as the 20-year anniversary of Jill’s death approaches. Are you able to say anything about what might be happening in the future from a media perspective?
This is a tragic story that will not go away. There is still huge interest in the unsolved murder of one of Britain’s most revered TV presenters. We have been contacted by a production company who have been asked to make a documentary for ITV and we’ve offered to help in any way we can. We know that the press will take full advantage of the anniversary to further examine the facts surrounding her death and speculate further as to who may have killed her.
 
The book is published in September. What impact do you hope the book will have on readers?
My hope is that the public will recognize that miscarriage of justice is about more than the sound bite or brief news clip in the media. It is devastating to the victim and to their families and it does not end with release. There are farreaching consequences to wrongful conviction but injustice should never go unchallenged.
 
Who do you see as the main target audience for your book?
As Jill Dando was a well-known celebrity, the book will reach out to others who knew her or who are intrigued by the case and by Barry’s acquittal as well as those who are caught up in miscarriage of justice themselves.
 
Finally, do you have a personal message for any bookshop manager, reading this, who has to decide whether to stock your book?
I have long felt that this book should have a Christian publisher, and should be distributed through Christian bookshops because of the testimony of how God brought us through this ordeal. Stand Against Injustice has a Christian message about injustice and I believe this story will reignite the interest of the public and show how God is working in our lives, daily, in a very real way.
 
ISBN 978-1-910786-24-6/Stand Against Injustice by Michelle Diskin/ Published in September 2018 by Malcolm Down Publishing/RRP £9.99
 
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