Licence to pry

“I love it when a witness completely fails to come up to proof in the witness box,” said OldSmoothie. “Particularly when it was due entirely to the other side’s solicitor making errors in the typing of the witness statement.”

“But don’t you think that’s a little unfair on the witness if it wasn’t their mistake?” asked one of the pupils.

“It’s their responsibility to have read it very carefully,” he replied.

“Yeah, right. Just like you read the small print when you hire a car,” said TheVamp, “or plough through the tax return your account has filled out on your behalf.”

“Come on,” said OldSmoothie. “It’s our job to look for inconsistencies every which way they come and half the time it might well be due to incompetent solicitors.”

“Doctors making typos in medical reports is one of my favourites,” said BusyBody.

“Ah, now you’re talking,” said OldSmoothie. “I always try and get a hold of the medical reports even if the injury isn’t terribly uncontroversial. There’s so much embarrassing material in a lifetime’s worth of GP visits that even the most upstanding person can be made to seem evasive.”

“I’ve always thought it’s a huge invasion of privacy,” said UpTights. “Ever since I realised how easy it was for a personal injury solicitor to hold your case to ransom if you don’t give them access to your records I’ve not told the doctor anything unless it was absolutely essential.”

“Must be a lot of not telling in your case then,” said OldSmoothie.

“It’s true, though,” said BusyBody. “You innocently suffer an injury and bring a claim and suddenly you have solicitors crawling all over every bit of your medical history.”

“I really think OldSmoothie would struggle to establish relevance with such bully boy tactics,” said TheVamp.

“Oh, come on,’ said OldSmoothie. “Everything’s relevant when credibility’s an issue and hey, if the judge starts going soft then you just nod and wink that whilst you don’t have enough evidence to plead fraud, you still suspect there might be something up with this case and at the very least need to be able, to, er, fully cross examine the witness.”

“You mean embarrass, humiliate and generally bully the witness more like,” said BusyBody.

“All in a day’s work,” said OldSmoothie.

“Sooner or later someone will report you,” said UpTights.

“I very much doubt it,’ said OldSmoothie, “since that would give me yet another opportunity to question them about whatever embarrassing secret I might have unearthed the first time around.”

“Well, I look forward to the day you suffer an injury and the boot is on the other foot.” said UpTights.

“Me? Don’t be ridiculous,” said OldSmoothie. “No amount of compensation would ever be enough to tempt me into consenting to the sort of intrusion that litigation allows these days. Not in a million years. I’ll leave that to those who know no better.”

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 Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.

March 6, 2013 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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