Episode 62 - Criminal Law with Nikhil Sood
Did you ever watch those TV legal dramas like Law & Order? Have you ever wondered what it's like inside a criminal case in Australia? What do defence lawyers do? Is it like the movies? And what is the morality of trying to defend drug dealers, and violent people?
Nikhil grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and after initially being told he had very little potential, and failing to get into law school, he managed to pull his act together and even landed an internship at the United Nations in New York. After some notable experiences included meeting Noam Chomsky and as he put it "hanging out with him", Nikhil relocated to Australia for his masters before taking a job at a corporate firm. By chance, he ended up being asked to defend his then boss's family friend in a criminal hearing. In the courtroom, as he waited to bluff his way through the proceeding, he struck up a conversation with a criminal defence lawyer who gave him some tips. This chance encounter led to Nikhil moving into his current role as a solicitor with Emma Turnbull Lawyers.
In the podcast, Nikhil and Caspar discuss his early life and how being of Indian background meant he had certain expectations from his parents. They talk about his time in New York at the start of the Trump era, his take on commercial law, and the role extinction rebellion played in getting his current job. Nikhil outlines how criminal charges are negotiated in the criminal justice system and how coronavirus has massively impacted this system.
They discuss income inequality and poverty and their relationship with crime. Nikhil shares his view that the system is designed for punishment rather than for rehabilitation. They discuss how people are set up to fail when leaving prison. Nikhil shares the challenges with maintaining empathy, and the connection between methamphetamine or ice and crime rates.
As well as being a very interesting guy, Nikhil is also hilarious and while the subject matter of this conversation is pretty heavy, rest assured Nikhil is a joy to listen to and I think you'll find him easy to listen to.
Please note that we recorded this conversation before the killing of George Floyd and the associated protests around the world so we don't cover the issue of police brutality or racism.
This epsidoe was produced and edited by Caspar Roxburgh and features music by Big Gigantic.
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