How to Conduct a Cross Examination in Civil Proceedings
Here are the preparation notes for a fictitious cross examination in civil proceedings that should give you an idea of how to prepare your cross examination.
Ms Toni Sandwell
- Ms Sandwell you are a sister of Louise Sandwell?
- And you have a normal sisterly relationship?
- You both live in Spittalgate South?
- Quite close to each other, am I correct Ms Sandwell (Toni)?
- However you both lead separate lives and tend to mind your own business?
- You are currently unemployed?
- Would you agree that it is difficult to find employment in the current economic climate with many job losses in prospect?
- You are a busy woman who is on a lookout for employment, am I correct?
- On the 4th August you had a very busy day; meeting DSS for employment and a friend in the city centre later on?
- The morning of 4th August was also the day when your sister called to inform you of her misfortune of her husband walking out on her and their 5 y.o. son?
- You were sorry for your sister as any reasonable person would be? Were you not?
- Your sister did ask you to call Merrigate Buses to inform them that Louise was unwell?
- And you think you called them at 5.30 or 6 in the evening?
- Did you make any other phone calls that day?
- You had a long day that day and were reasonably tired?
- However, you did not view Louise’s predicament as an emergency? Squabbles between partners is after all a very common feature of life, is it not Ms Sandwell?
- There was therefore a chance of you entirely forgetting that you had to make a phonecall?
- 5 days later you decided to visit Louise which was the 9th of August?
- During this visit you discovered that Louise was ‘in a state’?
- But on the 4th of August you felt that her predicament was not serious enough to require any special help or attention? (no visit)
- However the visit on the 9th of August compelled you (perhaps morally) to call your sister’s employer?
- You therefore gave priority to your sister’s matters and ‘called’ Merrigate Buses first thing on Monday morning?
- You definitely called Merrigate Buses on the Monday of 11th of August?
- Although you were not 100% sure you called Merrigate Buses the first time?
- But this time you made a specific effort to make a phonecall as you had failed to make the first phonecall as your sister had asked you to do?
- You were panicked by your initial failure to call Mrs Riley that you wanted to make it almost obvious that you definitely made the second phone call. You chose to state that you spoke directly to Mrs. Riley to add urgency to your sister’s matter and remove any doubt that you made the second phone call?
- When Ms Alex Riley hung up on you, you made no further effort to call her?
- She just snorted down at you? She was not at all concerned? Are you in the affirmative?
- You felt offended and did not call Mrs. Riley again to clarify the matter and regarded your duty as disposed of?
- You did not even attempt to claim that you persevered in calling Mrs Riley because then you would have had to speak to her. This would have meant that the issues would have been cut and dried. AM I correct?
- Instead you choose to rely on a vague line of argument that there was no coherent conversation?
- This makes it harder to disprove the idea that a telephone call was made?
- If you refer to exhibit CL8 par. 7, Mrs Alex Riley did have to look for substitute drivers given your sister’s absence. It was therefore not in his interest to hang up on you. Do you agree?
- You are aware that Mrs Riley delivered a letter of dismissal to Louise by hand on the 12th of August after work?
- As a Bus Inspector and a Junior Manager Mrs Riley is clearly a busy individual?
- After work most people prefer to go home and rest with friends or family and not deliver letters to employees? Do you agree?
- I put it to you that Mrs Riley delivered the letter to Louise because Merrigate Busses did not receive any correspondence neither from you nor from Louise, so Mrs Riley was forced to see Louise in person. Do you agree?
- I put it to you that you decided to make your second account of the purported phone call more credible by adding a sense of urgency and concern. You try to deflect the blame on Mrs Riley for your own failure through an over-staged drama that did not at all occur. You choose to excuse yourself from making another phonecall to Mrs. Alex Riley simply on the grounds of her being ‘abusive’ because if you would have made a second phone call you would have had to speak to Mrs Riley directly where the possibility of her snorting down the phone second time round would have been very improbable. This would have certainly made your lie more explicit and less credible. Can you confirm this Ms Sandwell?
- Instead you rely on a false fact that you made one phonecall and was verbally abused to disengage yourself from a ‘second’ phonecall hoping to add credibility to your story. This way you were hoping that your lie of making the phonecall would stand a better chance of prevailing. Is that correct Ms Sandwell?
- You were not at all concerned for your sister’s welfare and do not at all have a normal sisterly relationship. I do not doubt the fact that you lead separate lives and mind your own business. You are predominantly concerned with your employment and would rather meet a friend who lives in the centre than a sister in a dire need who neighbours in the same part of town as you. I have no doubt that you were sorry for your sister and her state. But I do strongly maintain that you were not sorry enough to concern yourself with her life. I find that you are now unsuccessfully attempting to cover up your failure of disposing of your duty to your sister by lying as it is the least you can do for failing to make the phonecalls to Mrs. Alex Riley that would have taken you a couple of minutes. Am I correct MS Sandwell?
I have no further questions your honour.