C. Vyse

Scotland UK
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Superficially entertaining but poorly researched

2 out of 5 stars
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1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-09-19

On the surface, at first listen, Sophie Ellis and Darrell Brown appear to have done their research. They speak to people directly involved in the case, they reach out to many others who chose not to speak to them. They travel to relevant locations. Production is of a general good quality and the flow of the podcast maintains engagement.

Unfortunately, however, it succumbs to common pitfalls many true crime podcasts do; bias, sensationalism, inaccuracies. While presenting itself as a balanced summary of a case shining light on information that wasn't available to the public, the presenters slide into bias, sensationalism, then at times outright acceptance of the narrative of the convicted's innocence (see episode 9 in particular). This could be forgiven if the listener was reminded that we're playing devil's advocate here and considering alternative scenarios. But the podcast instead insults the listener's intelligence, simply forgetting how obscenely implausible the alternative scenarios are in the grand scheme of things and asking us to not question what we're hearing.

The podcast touches on what it sees at some failings of the UK / Scottish justice system, namely the adversarial nature of it - accused is presumed innocent, prosecution makes their case, defence critiques the prosecution's case, jury decides essentially which side they believe is more plausible - the failings are seen to be that the truth falls by the wayside, and compelling stories from both sides are preferred.

Without irony, the podcast then ignores objective truth, forgets to ever mention large swathes of charges that were also levied against Gilroy at his initial trial - offences of violence towards his wife and children, (we never hear that these allegations include brandishing a knife at his wife, hitting her with a frying pan, threatening his children with violence - all dropped after his wife refused to take the stand). We never here about previous breach of the peace incidents at Crieff hydro. We never hear that Gilroy assaulted and threatened to stab and kill a neighbour of Suzanne's and brandished a fistful of car keys at him when he'd appeared concerned after overhearing an argument at her flat.

We never hear that David purchased a quantity of charcoal at a petrol station on his travels to / from Lochgilphead that were claimed to be for a BBQ. We never hear that his wife and children no longer stand by him, and have dropped the Gilroy name.

There's much much more that anyone with even a passing interest in the case from the Edinburgh area is well aware of, and is corroborated. However the purpose of the podcast isn't to inform the listener - it's to present a compelling, and on-the-surface plausible alternative revisionist version of events.

If you don't care about the real effects misinformation like this can have in the real world, with crowdfunding and public perception playing an ever greater role in the way justice is handled - crack on. With rational thought switched off this is an enjoyable listen. But in a world where the truth counts for less and less, this podcast and many like it represent a depressing and dangerous trend towards valuing unscrutinised stories that kind-of make sense only on the surface more than anything else.

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