Lie detectors in court

“It’s so easy to know when a witness is lying,” said HeadofChambers today. “There’s always a tell, whether it’s the scratching of the nose or a particular turn of phrase. Whatever it is, you just know.”

“The problem is that twitches and other foibles are also committed by honest people overly nervous about being misconstrued,” said BusyBody.

“And that’s where we make our bread and butter,” said Teflon.

“I have to admit that I’ve always found it impossible to know whether people are telling the truth or not,” said TheCreep in a rare show of honesty.

“Most of all, your own client,” added BusyBody.

“Which thankfully is not our job,” smiled TheVamp.

“Well I think we should introduce lie detectors into the court system,” said OldSmoothie. “Have it sitting there alongside each witness as they give evidence.”

“Reminds me of that scene in ‘Meet the Parents’ in which Robert de Niro’s character forces a lie detector on that of Ben Stiller,” said TheBusker.

“But surely the best lie detectors ever invented are judges?” said TheCreep reverting to type.

“Really?” said BusyBody. “If you were specifically picking people who could spot a lie, the very last people you’d have would be the unworldly academic types who often make it to judicial office.”

“But a lie detector?” said UpTights. “Stinks of Big Brother if you ask me.”

“And aren’t they all completely unreliable in any event?” said TheVamp.

“Yes, the lawyers would have a field-day with appeals,” said BusyBody.

“What? Are you suggesting that creating more work for lawyers is in someway a downside?” smiled OldSmoothie. “In my view that’s the single best reason in favour of their introduction.”

“Imagine if there was a lie detector that was perfect in every way,” mused OldRuin.

“Yes, imagine that,” said BusyBody. “Everyone would then be forced to be honest.”

“And lawyers would be needed no more,” said TheBusker.

BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister written by Tim Kevan whose new novel is Law and Peace. For more information and to read past posts visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

February 25, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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