Final Legal Meeting
After months and months working unpicking the details of the allegation and pulling together details for the defence, we were both exhausted. With the trial only a few days away, we had a final meeting with the barrister to agree the details of the defence, the witness list and batting order.
The barrister didn't feel it was necessary to bring all the defence witnesses to court, as we had so many and she felt that some overlapped in the evidence they provided. We therefore took her recommendation and went along with the witness list that she put forward. The evidence of the witnesses that she didn't want to call would still be given to the jury but only as read evidence rather than live evidence.
We also discussed the prosecution witnesses and she asked "who do we want to call?" We had no idea and therefore looked to her for guidance. To be honest, we felt like we wanted to get the witnesses in the stand and like you see on the TV, get the barrister to rip them apart. However, this isn't a drama. She informed us that sometimes having a prosecution witness in the stand can actually be more dangerous than just accepting their read evidence because when they are in the stand they can connect with the jury and elaborate thus causing more damage. We didn't understand what she meant but she was our legal team so we trusted her.
She explained in this meeting that the prosecution evidence which she had got through the court order was actually really important. It was records from 40 years ago which provided evidence for one of the charges that what the accuser was saying could not be right. This was the first piece of historic evidence that had been found that proved her version of events were wrong. This was the only piece of 'evidence' we had, as the rest of our evidence were witness statements, so one persons word against another. As we had tried to find other pieces of evidence but hadn't succeeded because of how old the allegations were, we were really relieved that we had one piece of evidence.
The 'batting order' was legal talk for the order that the trial would run, what would happen on each day. Listening to this made it sound so real.
What became clear in the meeting was the barrister only delivered what we gave her, the legal team aren't there to be detectives, they take what you provide them and decide how best to deliver it to the jury. The level of responsibility on my shoulders felt immense, as I had taken the lead on helping my husband, I had put a huge amount of responsibility on myself and after the meeting with the barrister I was questioning had I done enough, was there something else I could find in the last few days?
I honestly felt we had a strong defence. We had witness, after witness who were able to deliver their recollection of what happened at this time and this supported the defence case. Now we also had records which provided contrary evidence to one of the charges.
As we left the room, she said 'I will meet you next in court'.