I recently read that Judges need no longer wear the wigs – about time too as it will stop them constantly having the need, or itch to lift their wigs and scratch their heads. Not really a look which inspires confidence.
But that is beside the point. I found myself in court last week as I was called to be a witness in a trial. After a week of being ill in bed, followed by a trip to the doctor and a file full of tests he wanted doing, I wasn’t feeling too inspired about the court case, especially as it was in Sydney. There were so many tests to be done, that I felt like a vampire’s victim as I watched the blood pump into vial after vial without end. Even when the very gentle lady from Healthcare had finished, she gave me the good/bad news that one of the tests couldn’t be taken that day (Friday), and I would have to go back one day between Monday and Thursday. Drat and drat some more!
Still I had the flights booked and I was assured I would only be needed for one day, perhaps two at the most and so the return flights were booked and the arrangements to go back and have more blood taken was arranged. One of the tests could only be done in Sydney and since it would save us time and the cost of paying for it to be posted to us we made arrangements for that too. I really should have known. We ended up having to stay an extra day and couldn’t make the rescheduled tests back home. Drat and Drat some more!
I had forgotten just how long-winded barristers could be, especially if they want to prove a point. Most particularly if they decide they want to try to trip up the unwary. They really can develop a most unctuous manner so that you feel they are saying you have said something wrong and they are making everyone, especially you pay for it. Well, the judge, bless him, after the plaintiffs’ barrister had waffled on so long, was a more than reasonable person. Since he, the judge, decided to delay the hearing to attend a funeral, thereby extending the proceedings by a day, he was more than amenable to allowing a recess for an hour to allow me to get the test I had booked done.
There was one humourous side effect, if you have a strange way of looking at it. Due to my week in bed and some of the tests I’d had done, walking, especially through the airport and around Sydney was going to be a problem. The rush and the uneven paving, I could see the possibilities all too clearly. Dressed so nicely and going head over heels outside the courtroom. Not a pleasant or comforting thought.
So we decided to be smart and arranged for a wheelchair at the hotel to get to and from the court each day. That also included to the testing centre for my test to be done. My poor husband, rushing madly to get everywhere on time, in his suit, and in hot, windy and humid conditions was limp and exhausted each day. That included carrying a bag with every possible item we, or rather I, might need. Looking back it must have been hilarious, seeing two people dressed in business clothes frantically rushing around with a wheelchair through the streets of Sydney. The strangest and most irritating thing of all was the invisibility I suddenly achieved. People would continue to walk straight towards us as if we didn’t exist. Manoeuvering one of those things is not easy, especially when you’ve had no practise and often reduced us to a snail’s pace. It was so tempting to become kamikaze for a while! I will never take for granted the sight of a person in a wheelchair ever again. Not that I have previously, this simply cemented it.
So by the time I was finally called to the witness-box I was far from a happy camper. I was not in the right frame of mind to allow the plaintiff’s barrister to play word games with me. I have had a little practise many years ago with courtroom etiquette, and having a vivid imagination and since I am quite quick with a reply, I thought I was ready for him. It’s just as well I reviewed my witness statement beforehand. He was a pompous bulldog. Trying to twist a simple sentence into something seedy and underhand simply made me more irritated. So I stuck to my guns, (KISS) Keep it Simple Stupid. I told my story, and I have a very good memory regarding conversations, (much to my husbands chagrin at times) and we kept going with the verbal dance for forty minutes. I think I wore him down. After all, how can you accuse someone of eavesdropping a conversation, shouted so loudly it could be heard at twenty paces, over the top of the traffic?
So duty done, at the cost of an extra day, bruises to every part of my body from the bouncing in the potholes, and a two-hour delay onboard the return flight due to a speaker problem and I’m finally home. It will be two weeks before the judge brings his decision down so I will have to wait and find out later what happened. I trust justice will prevail. One thing I do know – if there comes a time when I might need a wheelchair temporarily, I’ll get a motorised one with extra padding! They are so uncomfortable. I suppose that’s what happens when you are spoilt… yet I was most grateful for the chair. There is little chance I could have made it around Sydney without it so for that I am grateful. I simply feel for all those people who don’t have any other choice, and I firmly believe we should so something about it for them.
Dancing with the Devils Advocate is definitely something best done when you are feeling a tad feisty. At least it helped me no end.
After that I have to wait another month to get my own verdict back – how lucky is that.
“Every trial results in a verdict, but not every verdict results in justice” Unknown
Blessings for the simple pleasures in life.. Susan x