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The Court Reporter

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From true crime to petty crime - this is the memoir of one of Australia's most experienced court reporters. As a seasoned court reporter, the ABC's Jamelle Wells has filed thousands of stories on murderers, sex offenders, thieves, bad drivers, family feuds and business deals gone wrong. In more than 10 years, Jamelle has witnessed many of Australia's most notorious and high-profile court cases. In the line of duty, she has sat next to criminals and their families, been chased, spat on, stalked and carted off by ambulance for emergency surgery after an accident outside ICAC.Every day in courts across Australia the evidence, facts and theories are played out in a kind of theatre, with their own characters, costumes and traditions. But ever-present is the human tragedy of ordinary people's lives disrupted, destroyed and forever altered. The judges, the lawyers and barristers, the witnesses and the victims - all striving to play their part in the quest for fairness, justice and always, the truth of what really happened. From the calculated and cruel, to the unfair and unlucky, from pure evil to plain stupid - Jamelle Wells has seen it all. The Court Reporter is a tough and fearless journalist's memoir that looks at the cases that have shocked, moved and never left us.

320 pages, ebook

Published February 19, 2018

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Jamelle Wells

3 books4 followers

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5 stars
58 (14%)
4 stars
142 (36%)
3 stars
146 (37%)
2 stars
37 (9%)
1 star
6 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Vanessa.
463 reviews302 followers
July 14, 2018
Much in the same vein as Eggshell Skull which I read recently, this book was a great insight into the court system, as told by seasoned ABC court reporter Jamelle Wells.

Often you hear reports on TV or radio which can take but a few minutes to convey highlights of an important or sensational case that you can almost forget reporters often have to spend hours, days and even years collecting information to file and report on. As interesting as it appears on TV, there is hours of druggery and boredom to sit through but Jamelle really respects the process and takes her job seriously with a great deal of professionalism and care.

Good book if your at all interested in the court systems comings and goings. I particularly enjoyed the heartwarming story of Robin and Denis as regular and long term court watchers they come to court as spectators, a form of sport watching, instead of going to the theatre or cinema they choose going to watch court as a form of free and live entertainment. Never considered it myself but I can see the appeal if you are retired or have abundant time to spare. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Suz.
1,158 reviews606 followers
October 22, 2018
I am a fan of Jamelle, if that's what you could say. I notice things like nice voices on the radio, she has a smooth voice, just like another of my favourite's on 702 Abc radio, Richard Glover, has a larrikin voice. Jamelle is a multi media journalist, she honestly is everywhere, but I mostly hear her voice as I don't watch television at all. Jamelle reports on horrific crimes (amongst more tame every day things) but her voice, to me, is the voice of reason.

Jamelle tells of her high profile and low profile cases, horrendous cases and cases to drive you nuts over. Such a busy lady, I notice she is often visiting family in Cobar (I was excited to hear of the Cobar connection as my family travel there to visit family and ride motorbikes) when high profile cases come up, or groundbreaking news items occur. She is one busy traveller!

The consummate professional, Jamelle even broke her hip on the job and assured her newsroom she'd be back the next day. Such an interesting story to hear about what happens to get these court reports back to the news room. Court watchers are an interesting lot, but as mentioned in the book, it is the concept of justice to be seen by the public, and some members spend a large part of their life watching proceedings.

I had tears while listening to letters read by Jamelle from one of a pair of lovely elderly men who 'court watched' for 40 years, the wish of the first to die was to write to their favourite Justice to simply say they respected her and the court and what a fine job she did in her courtroom. She was lovely to provide the letter wrote back showing the completely mutual feelings. I was cooking and wiping away tears. The camaraderie in the courts from both public and workers was evident.

Disappointed to miss one of Jamelle's book launch events, but happy to hear her narrate her own story. Highly recommended to curious Australians about what goes on in a court room, or anyone enjoying true crime. Jamelle Wells can write as well as she reports, which in my opinion is at a very high level. Loved the audio version.
Profile Image for Nat K.
426 reviews160 followers
September 30, 2021
"A courtroom presents life in all its complexities and it can provide the most amazing and addictive theatre."

3.5★s for me.

I'd say that most Sydneysiders would be familiar with Jamelle Wells. If not her name or face, then with her voice, which has been giving us our news over the radio and TV for many moons.

This book is a fascinating insight into the workings of Australia's courts and legal system. While we might get a thirty second sound bite over the airwaves to update us with court proceedings, the lead up to this information can take hours, weeks, months. Sometimes even years as a case is dragged through different jurisdictions of the courts, or for cases that have gone into appeal.

There is drudgery, there is sensationalism, there is hard slog to follow cases as they unfold. There is the fascination of people watching both via the accused, the jury and the public gallery. I had no idea that so many people regularly attend court to view proceedings via the public gallery, and are known for doing so (something to do on a day off?!).

Court reporting would be an exceptionally difficult albeit fascinating job. Having to deal with so much human misery would not be easy.

This book brought back reminders of so many cases which rocked Sydney at the time. I particularly enjoyed the chapter about "ICAC: you couldn't make it up"* . This chapter amused me for its absurdity of people in public positions feeling it was their right to use monies from the public coffers (i.e: my tax!) for personal use. People never cease to amaze me with their sense of entitlement. And for the guts to think they'll actually get away with it.

A really interesting book, well told from a seasoned, empathetic journalist.

*ICAC = Independent Commission Against Corruption
Profile Image for Edgarr Alien Pooh.
285 reviews188 followers
August 9, 2021
Jamelle Wells is the court reporter for ABC News in Sydney, Australia. Obviously, you can tell by the title of the book that this is a biographical account of the years she has been on the job. Ms. Wells was present in court for some of Australia's most notorious recent cases, including police and politician corruption, the Lindt Cafe siege offender Man Monis, bikie gang wars, and Keli Lane.

This book covers the court system quite well, paying particular note to the hours of waiting a reporter must do or the dashing from one court to another to be in time for pleas or judgments. There are a few times when I was surprised how a court was set up, particularly how friends and families of the victims or the alleged perpetrators are often mixed within the general public in a courtroom, sometimes just beside or behind the media scrum.

It is well written in layman's terms and easy to follow but it can be a little shallow in places. I guess I was hoping for a more in-depth synopsis of the cases that Ms. Wells attended. Perhaps she believes they are better researched by us than told by her which is fair but I guess the life of a court reporter just doesn't completely fill a book for me.
Profile Image for Essjayeff.
45 reviews
September 28, 2018
Not really very well written, more collated. Basically a diary of court cases written by a court reporter I admire. Too shallow to provide any insight, and with only one really interesting characterisation, it’s more like a diary of Jamelle’s career than anything else. Just not that interesting unfortunately
Profile Image for Jennifer.
385 reviews3 followers
February 7, 2020
Wells gives a great overview of the different trials she has covered and asks interesting questions which get to the heart of the humanity of the cases. Her voice is very calming even when reading about the cruellest of crimes.
Profile Image for Melissa Riley.
440 reviews6 followers
August 14, 2018
Thoroughly enjoyable look at the NSW justice system. I listened to the audiobook which Jamelle read. She explores many different areas of the court and journalism world including various court cases, the people who come to court to watch as a hobby and how rude some people are to reporters just trying to do their job.

Ever since I read Helen Garner's This House of Grief I've been intrigued by court stories and this book was a fantastic example of it. There were some stories that I felt were cut a bit short, but Jamelle does mention that sometimes there is suppression on details which might be the reason for that.

I've heard it's similar to Bri Lee's Eggshell Skull which is one of the books I'm really looking forward to reading.
Author 1 book4 followers
September 10, 2018
A mildly interesting account of a court reporter's working life. Jogs one's memory about various headliner cases over the years. But could do with a stronger edit. The chapter on harm done to children was really distressing.
Profile Image for Olwen.
755 reviews12 followers
April 21, 2018
The author really helps you enter the world of the court reporter. She can write about the events she has witnessed in a detached way - and detached to some degree you would have to be to spend any amount of time in this world populated with people doing the wrong thing and other people trying to sort it all out.
Profile Image for Annie Booker.
442 reviews5 followers
October 7, 2018
Really fascinating inside look at the people who cover the court cases we read and hear about every day and the stories they cover.
Profile Image for Bookgirl.
76 reviews11 followers
September 11, 2018
A fascinating insight into the theatre that is our legal court system. Jamelle tells of her experiences reporting on some of Australia’s most high profile cases. A great read.
302 reviews6 followers
August 17, 2018
For the majority of us who don’t work in jobs related to the criminal justice system or who haven’t chosen to become court watchers in our spare time, courtrooms can seem like an alien and impenetrable place. Jamelle Wells’ memoir, The Court Reporter looks set to change all that. This senior court reporter has had a distinguished career in the media and has worked on the court round at the ABC filing reports for various mediums for the past decade. She draws on her rich experiences here and the result is an eye-opening and frank look at the NSW justice system.

To read the rest of this review please visit: https://100percentrock.com/book-revie...
186 reviews
September 22, 2019
I have mixed feelings about this one. Jamelle Wells is a familiar voice from the ABC and is undoubtedly a very good ABC journalist. One of the things that I like about the ABC is the factual reporting and this comes across in the book. Jamelle has had a very distinguished career and has reported on a multitude of fascinating cases. However, this didn't translate to a fascinating book, it was quite dry and unemotional with very little opinion. The chapters where Jamelle spoke of her accident had a lot more character and while I appreciated the accuracy of her reporting a little more opinion or some insight into how Jamelle 'felt' would have improved it a lot.
Profile Image for Ron Brown.
315 reviews17 followers
July 20, 2018
Ms Wells was a Sydney based court reporter for the ABC for over a decade. In that time she covered virtually all of the famous and infamous legal cases brought to the various Sydney and regional courts. There are many high-profile cases that all readers would have some memory of. The saddest, and most difficult to comprehend were the abuse and murder of children. Man Haron Monis of Lindt Café siege was an individual that she had interviewed on occasions leading up to his despicable act in Martin Place. The madness and cruelty of many members of the human species never cease to amaze and appal me. Little new information is disclosed but it is still an interesting read.

Memoirs by journalists are always a fairly easy read and the books give background to stories that you followed in the media. Ms Wells gives an eyewitness account of the individuals, both victims and perpetrators. She tells an impartial story.

I often reflect on the fact that the human species is not as intelligent as we think it is and this book confirms this. I ask myself how can some individuals do the things they do, often to those who they loved the most or were their nearest? Finally, the selfishness, narcissism and egocentrism of some individuals appals me.
27 reviews
July 25, 2018
A book from such an accomplished journalist such as Jamelle Wells is a pleasure to read. It detailed the back stories from notorious Australian crimes without gratuitous violence or inappropriate sensationalism. It was clever, readable and interesting, with enough personal insight to provide Ms Wells viewpoint, so we went on the roller coaster of some difficult years with her. I especially enjoyed reading about the ICAC cases and consequences. The stories amazed me with common themes of arrogance, a sense of entitlement and the foolishness of these criminals, from politicians and public servants to the person in the street, lying, stealing, killing.
Profile Image for Julia Tutt.
109 reviews5 followers
June 3, 2018
I should have bought this in print and not listened to it on audiobook. The audio quality was bad, and my concentration seemed to wane in and out depending on the type of case she was recounting. Weirdly enough, a week after I finished it I saw one of the defendants she wrote about in Court for a different charge as part of my job, and I felt completely immersed in her side of the law world. She has a very interesting, unique perspective, and I greatly appreciate the work she does as a court reporter.
249 reviews
June 27, 2018
An interesting read, enhanced by seeing Jamelle at our local library for an 'author talk'. Also I felt I could almost hear her reading parts, as her voice is so familiar as I regularly hear her reading the ABC radio news, or see her court reports on the nightly news. I recalled many of the court cases she wrote about. Really enjoyed the sections where she wrote about the court watchers .... an interesting group of people.
Profile Image for Pip Snort.
1,068 reviews5 followers
February 19, 2019
Legal junkies

I was looking forward to this book. Day after day I am in the courtroom and I was eager to read the engaging tales of an experienced and sharp eyed journalist. I was, however, disappointed. The writing was clunky and awkward and the stories were largely dry, both in their substance and their form.
Profile Image for Heidi Rose.
56 reviews
May 27, 2018
This was an interesting, quick read for on a plane or my case a cold weekend.

Being an avid follower of crime, it was good to get a different perspective on it.

I did not love nor loathe it, just enjoyed it for what it was, a quick, interesting read on a cold day.
Profile Image for Julie.
429 reviews
July 25, 2018
The book is an overview of the scope and nature of crimes and trials that a court reporter in NSW will deal with for radio and TV. It is also a memoir which reminds us that people in the media have a life which is also full of ups and downs.
141 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2018
A fascinating insight into the behind the scenes experiences of a court reporter.
Profile Image for Kerry Swinnerton.
130 reviews1 follower
June 4, 2018
Very enjoyable as I remembered a lot of the incidents that are referred to in this book. Hearing the author on the radio very often, actually helped the enjoyment of the book.
24 reviews
October 5, 2020
No good. Boring with no meat behind the story. Such a shame as there is so much potential to give us a more insightful look behind the scenes.
Profile Image for Sare W.
149 reviews
January 27, 2022
Australian journalist Jamelle Wells' book about her work as a court reporter in Sydney, mostly covering crime and ICAC matters. If you've ever wondered what ICAC does, read this book. She shares the court cases matter of factly and describes the court environment and what the day to day life of a court beat is like. It's hectic and intense. It can be theatrical and rarefied, or boring. Some of the cases are amusing, some are awful. She portrays the people within the courtrooms with empathy but directness. The characters around the courts feature too, including the sheriffs and security guards, and what she's seen in the public gallery, the foyer and the comings and goings.

Within the media pack there is both camaraderie and competitiveness as they all have to feed the 24 hour news cycle monster. Ethical debates are had within the newsroom about how much horrifying detail to share; what extent is in the public interest before it becomes salacious, and whether not sharing awful details diminishes the severity of (alleged) crimes.

The whole spectrum of human behaviour and our systems of justice and reporting are on display here. It's an insightful book that more than once took my breath away.
521 reviews
November 9, 2018
- Wouldn't buy but probably recommend
- Interesting insight into court reporting as I haven't been exposed to this previously. It definitely seems like a very intense industry and Wells is very committed to her work
- Liked the section about court watchers but structure of the book could have been better (wasn't a fan of the lumping of cases under a heading)
- Read as a but same-same after a while re: cases
- Not sure what Wells' objective was
- Humans can do terrible things. It must be difficult to report on.
203 reviews9 followers
January 5, 2019
Jamelle Wells has been a court reporter for the ABC for a number of years. In this book she recounts court cases she has covered and the many and varied characters she has encountered over the years: from members of the legal profession, the accused, witnesses, families of those involved in cases to court watchers and various court officials.

A fascinating view of the Australian Justice system from one if it’s professional observers.
Profile Image for Adrian.
236 reviews1 follower
November 22, 2018
Some interesting stories told, such as the one about Leonard Cohen, and about her fall down the stairs in a court. Too Sydney oriented for my tastes, as I get annoyed when news reports all seem to come from there. Also, far too much 'I'. Admittedly it is a memoir, so some of this would be unavoidable, but at times it seemed to me as if she was the judge and jury.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews

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