Secret Barrister gives Taylor Swift the law treatment

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By Emily Hinkley on


🎵I think he did it but I just can’t prove it🎵

Image credit: YouTube/WikiCommons

The Secret Barrister, an anonymous bar blogger who often tweets about the plight of criminal justice, has returned to social media after an extended hiatus

And now they’re back, they’ve wasted not time in dealing with the big legal talking points — “How is Taylor Swift’s legal analysis in ‘no body, no crime’?”

In a Twitter thread, the mysterious legal personality posted a video with the lyrics to Swift’s song encouraging readers to “listen in full” before they proceeded to set out the case:

On the track featuring fellow pop trio HAIM, Swift sings about a fictional character called ‘Este’, who, after learning of his adultery, is murdered by her husband. The ballad’s haunting main refrain accuses: “I think he did it but I just can’t prove it. No body, no crime.”

SB starts their Twitter thread analysis with the adultery, explaining the song’s legal inaccuracies and errors:

Moving on to Este’s murder SB sheds some light on the misconception that a body is required for a murder conviction:

We even get a little case law thrown in:

Things pick up pace as the song’s narrator avenges her friend’s death by murdering the husband, erasing key evidence, and indirectly framing his mistress. SB is quick to point out the narrator’s unlikely belief that a good clean-up will ensure the perfect crime.

Rounding off this Twitter-based analysis, SB notes:

The thread prompted a barrage of comments with public and legal professionals alike weighing in with their take. One commenter recalled: “I marked an exam answer from a student who managed to mangle this maxim further into ‘In order to prove murder, the death of the victim is not essential’.”

It’s not the first time the legal blogger has given us a mash-up of pop culture and legal commentary, in 2018 we were treated to a full analysis of Bananarama’s 1987 hit ‘Love in the First Degree’.

Welcome back SB.

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