Constructing gender in the press: The case of Audrey Jacob

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Although violent crime committed by women was not common in the early twentieth century in Australia, stories of women’s crime were useful for selling newspapers. By comparing the previously unexamined case notes of Arthur Haynes, defence counsel in R v Audrey Campbell Jacob, with press reports of the case, this article shows that these reports could also be deliberately manipulated by counsel. Haynes used the press as part of his strategy to construct a feminine identity and a narrative of victimisation for his client. This finding is significant because juries used news reports to form their views on legal matters, which had implications for the verdict in this case. Additionally, Haynes successfully used this narrative to mount a defence of the ‘unwritten law’. Established scholarship indicates that full acquittals for so-called honour killings did not occur in Australia; however, this article finds that R v Audrey Campbell Jacob is a rare example of a full acquittal granted in Australia for such a killing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-84
Number of pages27
JournalLaw & History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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