Saturday, February 28, 2009

So, you want to be a Magistrate - Part I

Imagine a heavily pregnant woman. She's crying.

Now imagine that she's in court because she is alleging that her man has assaulted her. Again.

Now imagine you are the man's defence solicitor and it is now your job to stand up and shred her testimony and cast doubt on her reliability as a witness.

Go on - don't hold back - it's your job. Ignore her tears, her emotional state, her lack of education and vulnerability. Really get stuck in - she's not your client.

Imagine she's now really bawling her eyes out.

Imagine that you can see that her husband (in handcuffs) has been grinning from ear to ear throughout, and he actually laughs at one point.

Now imagine you have to sit at the front as a Magistrate, pretending not to be emotionally affected. It is your job to imagine that this poor woman may be lying or mistaken. It always possible that for once in his life Laughing Boy is innocent.

Imagine that you're pretty sure that something went on, but you have don't have nearly enough evidence to establish it "beyond reasonable doubt". Laughing Boy is released, smirking. The girl's mother in the public gallery gives you a withering look.

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