Andrew McCulloch and Mike Coates remember the lawyer who helped Nelson Mandela escape the death penalty. Plus Giles Oakley shares the late Barry Norman’s advice about dressing up for redundancy

In his obituary of Lord Joffe (28 June), John Battersby suggests that Joffe was important among those who prevailed upon Nelson Mandela, in his famous speech from the dock in 1964, to not offer himself directly for martyrdom, thus saving the impetuous Mandela from himself. However, all of the eight defendants were found guilty of high treason, a capital crime. Nevertheless, Mr Justice Quartus de Wet deliberately chose not to impose the death penalty for reasons of state and sentenced all eight to life imprisonment. Decades later, the result of a long rapprochement between the imprisoned, moderate Mandela and the increasingly threatened apartheid state was Mandela as the first president of post-apartheid South Africa.
Andrew McCulloch
Collingham, Nottinghamshire

• Thank you for the quality and range of John Battersby’s obituary for Joel Joffe, who was one of the most gracious and inspiring people I have met. It was very pleasing to note that the piece mentioned Allied Dunbar Charitable...

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