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Joe Cinque's Consolation: A True Story of Death, Grief and the Law Paperback – January 1, 2006
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- Publisher : Pan Macmillan Australia; 1st edition (January 1, 2006)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0330421786
- ISBN-13 : 978-0330421782
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.12 x 0.91 x 7.8 inches
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Anu Singh was, and still is, a very manipulative person. And to this day, she doesn't really feel remorse for what she did to Joe or his family. I saw an interview that she did recently. She said she was sorry for what she did, and wished she could "turn back the clock"; but she soon began to talk about how she was suffering mentally at the time she killed Joe. It's all about her, even 20 years later. She only cares about herself and how her life’s been affected. The most shocking thing about the outcome of this case is that she was convicted of manslaughter (a travesty) when it’s so clear that it was calculated, premeditated murder. How the judge that presided over the case found her guilty of manslaughter is beyond me. Her defense lawyer presented an argument for “diminished responsibility” brought on by supposed mental illness. Diminished responsibility, my foot. She knew exactly what she was doing. She was manipulating people then, and she's manipulating people now. The worst part is she received a sentence of just 10 years for manslaughter and served only 4 before being released. Anu Singh got away with murder, no doubt about it. And the people who knew of her plan and stood back and let it happen, are guilty right along with her. People say she's crazy. She's crazy like a fox.
Helen Garner gave dignity back to Joe Cinque. A young man who has been largely overlooked and forgotten. Anu Singh has portrayed herself as the victim from day one, but she's no victim. The real victim is Joe Cinque. Joe Cinque was not only a victim of Anu Singh, but also of the Australian justice system.
But Garner provides us with so much more. The book is a retelling of the events punctuated with the author’s own reflections as she questions the motives of the main players and struggles with the law’s inherent failures.
She (and we) are incredulous that the law offers no protection and leaves the victim’s family reeling in their grief. To have their son killed by someone with “diminished responsibility” is difficult enough for them to grasp but to know there were so many “spectators” who aided and abetted and did nothing to stop the farcical madness is just too much. The victim’s family listen and endure as Counsel manoeuvre and “normalise” such events; “the spin Mr Lasry [defence Counsel] put on the events of Joe Cinque’s last days was breathtaking in its gall.”
Garner provides us with analysis and questions from all angles: does a judge suffer “from the icy chill, the moral failure of the law”? And what of grief and anguish – where does it go when “formal” retribution fails? And would vengeance and anguish go quietly even if a “just” penalty was imposed? And is it simply a person’s right to choose suicide unquestioned? Her style is thought provoking and has us constantly searching our own beliefs and values.
However the narration does seem to lack a little sequence and coherence - Garner admits she struggled to make sense of it all particularly when reading the joint trial court documents.
It is also grating that Garner would foist herself into the story, wanting to be judged like Singh. Admittedly she wrote the book when she was at a low point and suffering herself but it does seem to seriously clang with the gravity of Joe’s death.
Overall a thought provoking and often disturbing read.
This book is an insightful memoir (to me) of Ms Garner's experience of the trial and meeting the families.
Top reviews from other countries
She joins the public interested in the trial of Anu Singh, the young woman who administered the poison as a journalist. She spoke to the parents of Joe, lost without their tender son and bewildered by the process of a justice system that seems to them to deliver anything but justice.
Well written but incredibly sad because my sympathies are with the parents, nothing Helen Garner discovered does provide the consolation I believe she was seeking. No lessons can be learned. the warning signs were there it was just no one took any notice being blinded by a young, confident attractive woman.
There's the saying that truth is stranger then fiction ; for me this is one of those truths.
Anu Singh, a 25 year old law student in Canberra, slipped Rohypnol into the coffee of her partner, Joe Cinque, then proceeded to inject him with massive doses of Heroin with the knowledge of fellow law students. One acquaintance showed her how to inject whilst her best friend acquired the Heroin.
Singh held a party to celebrate Joe's passing whilst he lay unconscious, claiming that she would kill herself once she was sure Joe was dead and, unbelievably, no one alerted the authorities.
It's not uncommon nowadays to learn of psychopathic behaviour but the shocking realisation that others had knowledge of what was happening is simply horrendous. But what kept me reading was Helen Garner's search for some kind of justice throughout the trial and her friendship and support for Joe's parents.
I won't divulge Singh's fate, except to say that the outcome was equally preposterous.
But definitely worth reading if you're interested in crime and human nature, although not for the faint-hearted.
iv recently heard a good podcast from cambo at true crime island on this case and he references the helen garner book.
not a crime we heard about in the uk.