WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME THAT BEFORE WE WENT INTO COURT? THINGS LAWYERS LEARN HALF WAY THROUGH A TRIAL

The post earlier today on a case where key facts came to light on the third day of a trial led me to ask lawyers if they had similar experiences.  That sudden, and unexpected, “surprise” bit of evidence which no-one had mentioned prior to the trial. Twitter did not disappoint.

 

 

LAST MINUTE DISCOVERIES

 

 

Person sitting at the back of court with dark glasses and white stick was the witness to the execution of the disputed deed

Def kidnaps his child when asked by the judge why he did it he lied, points & says “my solicitor told me to do it”

Well if we are continuing this. My first ever piece of advocacy in a proper tribunal. Me “you’ve just lied to the Tribunal?”. Def “yes”. me “really?”. def “yes”.

 

My client under XX in slip claim: ‘Yes I had been drinking. I was hammered if I am honest with you

That gem was the answer to only the second question in xx at about 10:15. It was a long rest of morning until the inevitable. Followed by an equally long drive back from Cambridge.

Swansea. Records say 7/8 pints. C denied drinking, then admitted to a pint at the bingo and a half at MiL’s. Q1: How many did you drink at the bingo? 5 or 6. Halves or pints? Pints. And at MiL’s? 1 or 2. Pints? Yes. So 7 or 8 pints? I’d say 6 or 7. We won and beat our Part 36.🤣

Not personally involved but I liked the police interview in Fred Talbot trial about his diary; PC: You wrote that didn’t you mr talbot? FT; denies Further questions re diary… FT; crikey im struggling to read it, my handwriting’s terrible

My client’s need for an interpreter grew as the questions got tougher.

To P.C. -“ is that your notebook” “Yes” “And when did you make your notes up”. “I didn’t make them up, they’re all true”

xx of social work witness re her s37 report: How many s37 rpts have u written b4? 0 Do you actually know what a s37 report is? no.

Another fave : to social worker: how many s7 rpts hav u written b4? 1st 1 When did u qualify as a social worker? I haven’t. I’m a student.

Judge to witness- “you did what with a cucumber?” Cue horrified face…..

Prosecuting robbery case which turned on stranger ID. In C-E defence produce photo of V+D with arms round each other. Still somehow convictd

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Winchester County Court. C’s case look dire. D’s expert looked great. I began dull cross-exam. Usual stuff. Where do you work? Don’t now. So you are retired. Er, yes. Yes. When? Um, when I was struck off. But you examined C? Um, yes. Oppo: would your honour rise? Settled.

On third day of trial client had brought some new papers she had found at home. Turns out that there had already been a court case dealing with the property in 2008. Client and defendant had both apparently forgotten.

During XC, that my client was able to substantiate his assertion that he saw Ds ‘up to no good’ by pulling a DVD out of his pocket containing a previously unmentioned recording of what he’s seen. (Boundary dispute case, obviously..)

Civil trial. Account from one of my important witnesses about how events had unfolded and his role in them. Never heard it before despite two cons, a contemporaneous statement and a later statement. Had to work hard to maintain neutral expression.

 

Many years ago I had a lay rep produce evidence in the ET that the Oyez printed document my client was relying on had not been in existence at the relevant time 😳

wow I did also have a case where other side produced smoking gun … on stationery which did not come into existence until 6 months later

Starting out the London telephone code kept changing. Amazing how many times a document in a small claim (normally an invoice re a dodgy RTA) had a telephone number with a code which was not in existence at the time the alleged document was produced.

C assaulted at work by client. Issue was whether training manual sufficiently detailed. 1400 page trial bundle, received day before. Tired. Caffeine++. 10 mins into xx, realised C had repeated the oath, not read it from the card. “You’re not an avid reader, are you Mr N?” “No.

 

One of the defendants was not who she claimed to be. Arrested and tried (for four weeks) under a false identity. Someone in the large court centre realised she was someone else. Arrested outside court. Pleaded in both cases.

“I admit I did stab him.”

 

On the stand the witness revealed he was having an affair with the client (😱) then on day 2… client cautioned by police for bringing tear gas into court 😫

That my client (contrary to his evidence) not only *was* in a relationship, but had posted on Facebook the date when he was getting married. And the other side had four hard copies of the post.

Prosecuting planning offence. Def ‘expert’ was ex director of planning. Gave evidence that consent should be given and he would definitely have granted it. I reviewed old planning app refusal. Signed by him… ‘Mr X, could I please ask you to review this document…’

Housing succession case…family member…tenant was his uncle…early response to judge’s question…”well I say uncle but really…”…early finish!

I was once mitigating on behalf of a youth defendant….just lost his grandmother, in an emotional state…an elderly woman walks into Court. When asked to identify herself (yes you’ve guessed it)

Possession claim for ASB. We had a site visit, during which D refused to let us and the Judge see various parts of the house. Overnight D invited the Press into the house to take photos. They included the bits we couldn’t see! There was a juke box in one room we’d not visited.

On day 1 I XX’d D’s son about drug use. He denied it and intended to call a witness to say what a good neighbour he was. At the end of the day, PC checked his messages. Son had been arrested the night before for supply of class A drugs to the potential witness! W didn’t attend…

I had a D’s mum try to bring a bottle of whisky into the Court of Appeal. She did stink of booze. By coincidence Facebook suggested I should be friends with her this morning

  1. 3… J ordered that the file be left at court to be collected by those instructing me….

      3m3 minutes ago

This is your witness statement? Yes Signed by you? Yes And are the contents of that statement true? No *pause* Was hoping you’d say ‘yes’

Is this your witness statement? No *pause* Is this your signature? No, my solicitor forged it to look like mine. Thankfully oppo’s witness…

POCA prosecution. D had cut tyre in boot – approx £5000 within (suspected drug importer to iom). Jury retire. Ask to view tyre. We’re called back in. In moving tyre, envelope containing £1500 drops out… Acquittal. Still amuses that up til then, D must have thought cops bent!

In a constructive dismissal case, I was told one week before the hearing that they “might” have been dismissed before they resigned.

A client’s aliases changing gender halfway down the (long) list.

Photo of my witness with man he’d denied ever having met. Both quaffing champagne on a yacht.

The late Simon Mumford told the bench sitting in Cardiff Magistrates he had just seen his client the defendant in the Court foyer Only to be told by the clerk, his client had died the previous week.

Starting out the London telephone code kept changing. Amazing how many times a document in a small claim (normally an invoice re a dodgy RTA) had a telephone number with a code which was not in existence at the time the alleged document was produced.

That is wasn’t Master Cook playing footsie under the table but his dog roaming the court

Someone I prosecuted discovered on day 5 of the trial that he had done it after all.

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  I had a quick conference with a client just before we went in and she was delightful. Two questions into cross-examination, she fell apart and snapped: “I didn’t realise that I’d have to answer questions!” Then and only then did my solicitor think to mention that she was bipolar.

Not half-way, but seeing juror at inquest ask V’s mother how she was, turned out 3 of panel knew V. Lucky had spare jurors, 6 week Art 2 inq

After 2nd question to Defendant in civil trial he accepted that he could not justify his counter claim.

2 recent ones. 1st D running duress saying feared for life from violent sister only mentioned she was with two burly blokes in witness box. 2nd neglected to tell me he’d met with V & made a full confession til CPS served V’s s.9 at court!

C fails to return after lunch for grueling XX on her drug dependency (denied). Frantic search by counsel -> found in court loos overdosing.

On day 1 I XX’d D’s son about drug use. He denied it and intended to call a witness to say what a good neighbour he was. At the end of the day, PC checked his messages. Son had been arrested the night before for supply of class A drugs to the potential witness! W didn’t attend…

Back in the day, before t’internet was the resource it now is. IS instructed he was a 20 year qualified solicitor. At Court during DA, he admits to the DJ this was his first PI claim as he’d ‘fancied a crack at one’. Bye Bye Grade A rates

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