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The Boxing Butterfly

A Life of Conviction

The Boxing Butterfly is a career chronicle of Margaret Cunneen SC—the boxing butterfly who turned the tables on ICAC, amidst prosecuting murderers, pedophiles and rapists—as she launches into her new chapter as a defence barrister. In her rear view mirror, Cunneen sees her trial successes—her convictions—interspersed with the flak from the ground fire of some colleagues who resented her success and were determined to stop her climb to greater heights. She regrets nothing and is totally satisfied with what she does. As Madam Crown, she empathised with the victims and their families. Now, as defence counsel she empathises with the accused she defends. And what stories she tells! Some are gruesome and confronting, such as prosecuting the irreverent Skafs for gang rape, Robert ‘Dolly’ Dunn for pedophilia, the Butcher of Bega for unspeakable medical malpractice and the Charbaji Brothers for an ice-fuelled torture session that ended in murder. Others—especially relating to her defence clients, are filled with humanity and surprising moments of amusement, like the Chinese movie producer who couldn’t speak English yet taught inmates chess while awaiting trial.

For most of her working life, over 30 years, Margaret Cunneen SC was a Crown Prosecutor in NSW. She prosecuted many noted cases of murder, pedophilia and gang rape and was appointed Senior Counsel in 2007. As a specialist in child sexual assault law, she was appointed Commissioner of the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into child sexual abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in 2012, reporting to the Governor in 2014. Since 2019 she has been in private practise as a barrister, representing people charged with criminal offences. She has a Bachelor of Laws (UTS) and a Master of Laws (Syd). She is the mother of three adult sons and a new grandmother. She is a 4th dan black belt in taekwondo and has been training in boxing for the last 8 years. Andrew L. Urban’s first novel, If You Promise Not To Tell was nominated in the inaugural Ned Kelly Awards for Best First Crime Fiction. His first non-fiction book Murder by the Prosecution explored several wrongful convictions and was described by Margaret Cunneen SC as a ‘troubling expose’. He has published the online Wrongful Convictions Report since 2018. Since 1985, before turning his journalistic attention to miscarriages of justice (prompted by the Eve Ash documentary Shadow of Doubt), Andrew was a prolific film journalist and covered the Cannes Film Festival for 20 years for both screen trade publications and mainstream media. He was Channel Host on World Movies for five years. He co-published with his wife Louise, the online movie magazine, Urban Cinefile for 20 years. During his lifelong career as a journalist, he has had over 2,000 freelance articles published in a variety of publications in Australia and internationally. Andrew conceived and presented Front Up, a weekly series on SBS TV that ran from 1992–2003/04.

* A riveting read for people who enjoy memoirs, true crime and a behind the scenes look at high profile criminal cases. Cunneen offers fascinating personal insights into several cases she prosecuted and more recent ones she defended—she has recorded a long succession of convictions against rapists and murderers. Readers will also gain an insight into the work and workings of a senior female barrister in the prime of her career. * Contains personal, emotive recollections of over a dozen landmark cases, including a detailed breakdown of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) failed High Court bid to investigate Margaret. Compiled from speeches, lectures, opinion pieces, courtroom statements, trial transcripts, magazine and newspaper articles, email exchanges, and thank you letters for her work in court and her many public speaking engagements. * Includes: Margaret’s milestone cases as Madam Crown including Robert ‘Dolly’ Dunn (the evil pedophile), Graeme Reeves (‘The Butcher of Bega’), and the Skaf Gang (infamous rapists); and for the defence including Kulwinder Singh (accused of burning his wife to death—not guilty), Blake Davis (accused of murder with samurai sword—self defence) and Mr Wang (Chinese movie producer, accused of rape—not guilty); 10 speches and articles; previously unpublished material including letters, emails and transcripts; and controversies including the ICAC Bout and Margaret’s Statement to the Child Abuse Royal Commission.
* Promotion on the Wrongful Convictions Report website, Outsiders (Sky News), Spectator Australia, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, ABC Radio National and podcasts including Australian True Crime (Australia’s #1 True Crime podcast).
* Emily Webb - Australian #No 1 True Crime podcast.
* 2GB Ben Fordham interview - former-crown-prosecutor-margaret-cunneen-sc
* Take 5 Magazine.
* Sky News, The Chris Smith TV Show.
* Good Reading Magazine -
* Chris Smith Tonight (Sky News) -

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