The Outback Court Reporter

The new book from bestselling author and ABC journalist for readers of I CATCH KILLERS, MY MOTHER A SERIAL KILLER and LARRIMAH


One of Australia's most experienced court reporters goes on a judicial road trip.

Outback Court Reporter is a sometimes funny, sometimes tragic look at the comings and goings on inside the country courtrooms dotted across Australia.

From the case of the stolen cat flap, to missing lollipops and exploding chocolate milk in a country supermarket, to a custody dispute over a camel - Jamelle has seen the lighter and quirky side of outback courts but has also witnessed the harsh, dark, and petty side of outback life - including the high rates of Indigenous incarceration, alcohol-related and domestic violence.

After spending almost twenty years in city courtrooms reporting for the ABC on some of the country's highest profile cases, in Outback Court Reporter, Jamelle Wells takes you into our country courtrooms, from the grand sandstone edifices of Cobar and Grafton to the repurposed community halls and police stations in outback Queensland the Northern Territory - introducing you to the court staff - the solicitors, prosecutors, magistrates, witnesses and the accused, in cases that shock, captivate and divide communities.

Outback Court Reporter is also a timely reminder of the need for reform as country magistrates struggle with massive caseloads and limited resources, the fall-out of failing regional health system and limited bail and sentencing options in a justice system that is under pressure and communities still disadvantaged by the vastness of our continent.

Praise for Outback Court Reporter:

'A brilliant book that captures how the law works in country towns.' Richard Glover, 702 Drive Sydney

'A cracking read. I was glued to it.' Sandra Moon, ABC Breakfast Goulburn

'An excellent read with hilarious stories.' Michael Rowland, ABC TV Breakfast

'To sit with her in the public gallery is to witness the full gamut... from the trivial to the tragic... all infected with the flavors and tragedies of country life... a vivid tableau.' Sydney Morning Herald

'A wonderful mix of the tragic and hilarious world of outback courts.' Kelly Higgins Devine, ABC Drive Brisbane

Praise for The Court Reporter (2018):

'Jamelle Wells has put justice in the dock. The Court Reporter raises important questions about the administration of the criminal justice system, not only in NSW but nationwide.' Michael Sexton, The Australian

'Frank reporting.' Steven Carroll, The Sydney Morning Herald

'Vivid and gripping. I had to read it in one go.' Richard Glover, ABC Drive

'The Court Reporter is a great read and will be quickly devoured by anyone with an interest in journalism and true crime.' Dr Rachel Franks, Academia Review

'A brilliant book with amazing stories.' Sarah Harris, Studio Ten

About the author(s)

Jamelle Wells is an ABC television and radio Newsreader and the Senior Court Reporter for New South Wales. Over almost two decades she has covered some of Australia's highest profile cases including the criminal trials of schoolteacher Chris Dawson, the inquiries into the convictions of Kathleen Folbigg for killing her four children, the criminal trials of former Labor Ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald, the murder trials Keli Lane and Gordon Wood, Australia's longest running terrorism trial, the Sydney Siege inquest, and inquest into the disappearance of William Tyrrell. Jamelle is a television and radio commentator on courts and legal affairs for programs including Australian Story for ABC Television.

Jamelle's first ABC book about her career covering city courts, The Court Reporter (2018) was longlisted for the prestigious Ned Kelly Australian Crime Writing Award and the Davitt Australian Women Writers Award.

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