11 NOVEMBER 1938, Page 34

GUILTY AS LIBELLED By Archibald Crawford, K.C.

"There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford " might be the text of Mr. Crawford's thoughtful and interesting book on crime and punishment (Arthur Barker, los. 6d.). In his youth in Glasgow, where his father is well remembered as a pioneer in housing reform, Mr. Crawford was deeply impressed by the horrors of the slums as breeding-grounds of vice and felony, and when he became an advocate he was 'mainly engaged for many years in defending criminals, including a number of murderers. He describes clearly and often passionately how he tried to save wretched culprits whom a momentary impulse had made liable to a severe sentence or even death. He agrees with most reformers in thinking that the true" criminal class "is very small and that a bad environ- ment or mental instability accounts for all too many cases of law-breaking. Mr. Crawford is writing of the Scottish system, and his comparisons between it and our own are unfavourable to England. In Scotland, as he says, when a criminal is put on trial, the jury knows little or nothing about the case because there has been no preliminary public hearing before a magistrate or coroner. His book is the outcome of a long experience and will repay careful reading.