March 7, 2014

Quick witted cross examination

Filed under: Uncategorized — ruleswatch @ 5:22 pm

The British newspaper, the Guardian, has just given a very fine example of sharp, quick witted cross-examination. It’s worth reading from the March 6, 2014 edition of the publication.

UK newspaper doyenne, Rebekah Brooks, is on criminal trial for among other things phone hacking was cross-examined on March 6, 2014. The topic was whether or not Brooks knew of hacking or tired to cover it up. One source to her was her then paramour and deputy editior, Andy Coulson.

The Guardian reported:

“…. on Thursday acknowledged that she and Andy Coulson had been close enough to share secrets with each other during two periods when they are accused of conspiring to produce stories based on intercepted voicemails.

“In tense cross-examination, [the prosecutor]..Andrew Edis QC challenged Brooks over the meaning of a letter she wrote to Coulson in February 2004.

“Edis suggested the letter showed that they had been having an affair and sharing secrets for the preceding six years, during which time they published stories about Milly Dowler and David Blunkett which, the crown claims, were generated by hacking phone messages.

“Brooks repeatedly insisted that although she and Coulson had begun an affair in 1998, it had not continued for six years.

“The affair had stopped and both of them had got on with their lives before it had resumed briefly in 2003. “I hadn’t been sitting there like Miss Havisham for six years,” she said.

“At one point, Edis quoted part of the letter to Coulson in which she wrote: “I confide in you. I seek your advice.”

“He asked her: “That included work matters, didn’t it?”

“It could have done.”

Confide means trust – trust people with your confidences. No?”
“And that would include secrets relating to work?”
“And emotional issues as well.”

Edis then referred to another passage in the letter in which Brooks wrote: “For six years I have waited.”

“It suggests doesn’t it that the relationship had lasted six years?”

Brooks said that was not correct.

“You would be telling the truth when you were writing?”
“I was in a very emotional state when I wrote this letter.”
“That’s all the more reason why you would be telling the truth. It’s your heart-felt anguish.”

“Which is absolutely genuine.”

Edis turned to the state of their relationship in April 2002, when the crown claims that Brooks and Coulson plotted to use voicemail intercepted from the phone of the missing Surrey schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

Brooks was then editor of the News of the World but Coulson, her deputy, was editing the paper while she was on holiday in Dubai.

“At that time were you talking with him in that confidential way?”
“We were close friends.”
“So you would trust each other?”

“I trusted him as a friend and as a deputy editor.”

“If the deputy editor was committing a crime, he might not want the editor in normal circumstances to find out about it. But he might be able to tell the editor if he really trusted her.”

Edis paused. “Was the relationship in April 2002 such that Mr Coulson could trust you with any confidence at all?”

“Yes,” she whispered.


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