As one of a team of Solicitor Advocates working in the Criminal Department I have the freedom of being hands on in the preparation of a clients case before the matter even gets to court and then conducting the advocacy at the trial. In this way it means that I can be more involved in the case from the start and am a constant link with the client and with the case. It also means a very heavy responsibility.
Mr Pearson’s case was a difficult case to be involved in because for months and months we didn’t have access to the full account of the actress who was complaining about Mr Pearson and although Mr Pearson was quite clear from the outset that NOTHING HAPPENED it was not possible to forensically analyse the complaint without the full details that she had given to the police.
I saw the CCTV before knowing the precise details of the complaint and could see from the start that there was little point in the jury seeing this in this format: 100 seconds of footage with a few relevant moments in the middle. If this was played to the jury on a big screen yards away from the jury box it would be difficult for them to make out much at all and it would be very difficult for them to cross check any features that the woman described. This crucial piece of evidence had to be reduced to something the jury could examine.
For this reason I made a decision to get in touch with one of my contacts in order to extract from the CCTV the most relevant seconds and to create a storyboard out of it. This would enable to jury and the witness to see the footage, frame by frame. The actions in it would be clear. The timings would be clear. The presence of a newspaper could be checked before and after and the other descriptions of the actress – what other people were doing, how fast Mr Pearson left the scene , could be easily seen.
The storyboard was a pivotal part of the preparation of the case and I honestly believed that as soon as this together with the experts report were served on the Crown they would see sense and bring the case to an end.
Regrettably they didn’t. This was a real pressure on Mr Pearson who was incredibly distressed at what would happen next. Outcomes of trials are never certain and preparation of cases includes preparing for problems.
You can watch the interview about it on the BBC 2 here.