Monday, 1 July 2013

A Cautionary Tale Of 'Justice'

June 2013

What they don’t tell you when you give evidence

"A cautionary tale from a witness for the defence

“I swear by Almighty God that the evidence I shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Little did I know that by giving evidence in the trial of my husband I was putting my job and entire career in jeopardy. For 3 months I tried to make a statement to the police when my husband was arrested, but they were not forthcoming in taking it, so I had to look at alternatives. The solution was found by my husband’s Solicitor – I made a statement to her. The police have not offered any explanation for not taking my statement.

The evidence I gave in both my statement and the trial in my opinion was the truth from my eyes. To be able to reach an accurate conclusion the Jury needed to know the facts. My time on the stand lasted just under 3 hours and I was exhausted by the end. Throughout, I was grilled by the prosecution, who believed I was supporting my husband, when in fact I tried to keep an open mind. In hindsight if I had given my statement to the police I might have been perceived differently. I answered factual questions and was asked for my opinion on several incidents related to the allegations.

A few weeks later I was called to a meeting by my employer. A Trade Union Representative accompanied me. I work in the Public Sector. Unbeknown to me my employer had acquired a copy of the transcript of my evidence from the trial and I was cross-examined on the answers I gave. I had to justify my previous answers, particularly those that were opinion based. It became obvious that it was felt some of my opinions were not appropriate according to my profession and Professional Standards. It was at this point I considered a link between the high proportion of opinion questions and the fact my employer had a copy of the transcript – they were not present in court and had no direct interest ..."

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