An esteemed human rights lawyer from west Dorset who specialises in defending people accused of only the most serious crimes will be in Bridport to talk about his new book.

The Literary & Scientific Institute (LSi) on East Street in Bridport will host the launch of Clive Stafford Smith's book on Thursday, September 22 from 6pm to 8pm.

Titled “The Far Side of the Moon: Trials of my Father,” Mr Stafford Smith's third book covers the parallel lives of his father Dick and one of his death row clients, Larry Lonchar. Both struggled with bipolar disorder, though neither got treatment - Dick because he would not accept it, thinking it would destroy the frequent 'highs' of his life; Larry Lonchar because the Georgia Department of Corrections did not want to medicate his periodic depressions.

Larry Lonchar came within 40 minutes of execution four times before Mr Stafford Smith persuaded a court to stop it; once, the U.S. Supreme Court entered a stay just 58 seconds before the allotted hour. Meanwhile, Dick would watch events in the death row courts of the U.S. on visits to his youngest son, once loudly announcing 'how useless Clive was before taking a bus to Jackson, Mississippi, to tell the Governor of the State in person that he should execute both the client and Clive himself'.

Clive Stafford Smith said: “It’s a real pleasure to hold a launch in the LSi, where I work on my new non-profit, the 3DCentre.

“Of my books this is the one I am proudest of, as it is really written in memory of both my father and one of my favourite clients.”

At the launch, Mr Stafford Smith will describe some of these events which provide the frame for the exploration of “mental illness”, which is the central theme of the book: how we can better understand those around us and, rather than try to cram sufferers into the confines of our own world, attempt to create opportunities where they have a chance of thriving.

Admission is £5 and will include a drink. Book tickets at