William Ballantine was a very eminent barrister who practised law in the mid to late 19th century. He figures in both of my books, albeit with a rather poor record of success. Perhaps that was the real reason they refused him entry to the Reform Club...
His defence of Henry John Hatch against charges of indecent assault against two young girls failed, and Henry was sent to Newgate for four years. Ballantine should have won the case, because Henry was released six months later under the Royal Pardon, after one of the girls was found guilty of perjury.
Ballantine apparently successfully prosecuted Dr Thomas Smethurst on a charge of murder, and Smethurst received the death penalty, only to be granted a Royal Pardon because the conviction was unsafe.
He then failed to defend the family of Smethurst's alleged murder victim, Isabella Banks, against him claiming probate of her will made out almost entirely in his favour.
Smethurst's 'escape' from justice always rankled with Ballantine, and he made some rather silly and childish accusations against him in a book published years later.
With all of that, Ballantine was elected into the Garrick Club, and was able to rub shoulders with the likes of Dickens, Thackeray and Trollope.
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