Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Trial Preparation

I enjoy doing advocacy, and trials in the Magistrates and Youth Courts can be quite good fun. I am sitting here preparing for a two handed Youth Court trial where I am going to represent both Defendants.

I have been looking at this case for the past hour. I have Clients who have previous convictions for dishonesty matters and there is an application to adduce that bad character in evidence. The trial involves a matter of dishonesty. I think I will be unsuccessful in excluding the evidence of bad character.

So far all the instructions that I have are the brief comments that I was given through an interpreter at the first hearing. These particular Clients have, for some reason unknown to me, not to bothered to turn up to their appointments.

The prosecution case looks quite strong. A mobile phone has been stolen from a table in a public place. My Clients are alleged to have taken the phone. The person who lost the phone did not see it taken. The phone was never recovered so he could not say if one of my Clients actually stole the phone. My Clients were seen to run from the area but when stopped they did not have the mobile phone on them. So far so good. But, a Police Officer has given a statement saying that he watched my Clients walk up to the table and take the phone. Another Police Officer has said that he saw a silver shaped phone like object fall out of one of my Client's pockets as he ran from the scene. Neither Officer sees what the other officer has observed and recorded in their statement.

Taking my brief instructions in to account I think that I will need to punch a hole in the Police Officers accounts. If doubt can be thrown on to the fact that no one knows that the silver object was that fell out of my Client's pocket was a mobile phone there may be enough room for doubt - and hopefully an acquittal.

Trial preparation is all well and good but I will be limited by any instructions that I get from my Clients. Also there is an old adage, "The defence case is always at its best at the close of the prosecution case". That is because Clients have a bad habit of saying the wrong thing when they give evidence!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Depends somewhat on the prosecution, I think it's rather irrelevant that a police officer happened to see a silver object fall from your client, unless they have been fully observed from the time of theft until apprehension, in which case of course the absence of the item would sugest they hadn't taken it.

Quite why the officer who obsereved the object fall, didn't pick it up seems strange, as even if they were giving chase, picking it up would not I presume have hindered the chase particularly.

Doesn't (to me) look too good for your clients on the face of it, but you never know.