Day 177, week 37: going backwards

I noticed that The Times had a story last week explaining how researchers have found that if you ask people to recount their story backwards it’s easier to catch out the liars.  Today I thought I’d test this out in court.  My client was a thief and the witness I was wanting to trip up had identified him leaving the scene of the crime.  What I kind of figured was that asking even an honest witness to tell his story backwards might cause some difficulties.  What I hadn’t counted on was the assistance of a certain eccentric district judge who I shall not name.

“Perhaps,” I asked, “You might just take us through your story backwards”. 

“What do you mean, backwards?” The witness replied.

“Just what I say.  No more, no less.”


“Quite so.”

The witness then went to his witness statement and started reading it word for word…backwards.  Starting with the date, her name and the statement of truth.  He was very clearly confused about what I had been asking.  However, the DJ wasn’t having any of it.

“Why on earth are you doing that?”

“Because I was asked to.”

“No you weren’t.”

“Yes I was.”

My client and I at this point became the audience to a very peculiar pantomime like stand-off.  The witness eventually got angry and against all the principles of natural justice, my client walked free with the parting words,

“How you twisted that one around, I’ll never know mate.”

Me neither.

June 12, 2007 · Tim Kevan · One Comment
Posted in: Uncategorized

One Response

  1. Sarah - June 13, 2007

    Reading statements backwards – that’s enough for anyone to get confused.