The trial was completed and we knew now it was up to the jury. The prosecution and defence did their closing statements with our barrister highlighting all the inconsistencies in the evidence provided by the accuser and the judge did his summing up of the case. To be honest, the jury appeared to be switching off at points particularly as the judge entered his 5th hour and was still completing his summing up.
All the way through the trial, all of the court officials that sat with Harry in the cage, kept saying to him, "don't worry, based on what I have heard, you won't be convicted." This honestly didn't help ease Harry's nerves.
We then sat in the court for nearly 4 days whilst the jury made their decision. They were bought back by the judge at fairly regular intervals during those 4 days to ask whether they had come to a verdict, but their deliberations went on and on. Every time the jury was called back to the court, the feeling was immense and I can honestly say I have never been so frightened. I kept telling Harry that at least whilst they were deliberating, they were still discussing it but he just kept saying they don't believe me do they?! Whilst I continued to remind him that we had provided a witness for every accusation she had thrown at him, all we could hope was that the jury believed him and his witnesses. We both knew that the longer the deliberations were going on for, it wasn't looking good, however I never admitted that to Harry.
The morning of the 9th day, Harry was awake and dressed again before I woke up. He had been clearing out his car and certain cupboards getting certain documents out for me so that I could deal with his affairs and have access to key phone numbers. I kept saying to him, you know you haven't done anything, we have witnesses that confirm your version of events and remember you are innocent until the prosecution can prove you are guilty (which I now know is absolute rubbish; a man charged with historic sexual abuse is guilty until he can prove himself innocent - which is nearly impossible from decades ago - and the prosecution do not actually need evidence. Read Dangerous Convictions).
Mid-afternoon of the 4th day of jury deliberations and there was a tannoy announcement for all parties in Harry's case to come to the court. Harry looked at me with absolute fear in his eyes. I just kissed him and said whatever happens I know you haven't done anything, I know she is lying and I will always love you.
Remembering this moment and writing this next part of the blog, brings back horrendous feelings and tears to my eyes, I believe I will go to my grave remembering how dreadful I felt at this particular moment....
Judge "Will the foreman of the jury please stand up. Can you confirm, has the jury come to a decision where either all or a majority are in agreement?" Reply - "Yes". At this point, I held my breath, dreading to hear the next words out of his mouth, the room was spinning, it was honestly the most horrendous experience. "On count one, do you find the defendent guilty or not guilty?" Reply "guilty" As other members of his family wailed in disbelief, I sat there stunned, wanting to shout out, have you not heard the evidence? All the inconsistencies in her evidence? Can you not see she just wants compensation?
In summary, Harry was acquitted of the charges where we had managed to find actual evidence from decades ago that he either wasn't where she said he was or the situation wasn't as she decribed, however he was convicted of all counts where basically it was his word against hers.
Harry was 'taken down' within 5 minutes of the verdict. The court officials and legal team started piling up their paperwork, as if 'well thats another case finished'. I sat there stunned in the seat, unable to move. Whilst I think I knew what had just happened was enormous, I don't think I fully appreciated at the time how life shattering those few minutes really were for either Harry or myself. A moment that will change our lives and that of our families and friends forever and will impact our lives for as long as we live.