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Cross-examination Example

Cross-examination of Ms Tessa Grayling

The purpose of this cross-examination will be to try and challenge the version of events which has been put to the court by Tessa Grayling during the examination-in-chief. It will seek to discredit her evidence about the events of 28 September 2005, and establish that Mr Steven Galvin is not guilty of a section 47 offence of Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm.

  1. Good afternoon Ms Grayling. Thank you for your account of the events of 28 September 2005. If I may, I would just like to clarify a number of issues which have arisen in your testimony. Firstly, how would you describe your general mood, or rather, your level of calm on this potentially stressful day?
  1. Do you concede though, that circumstances were such that levels of tension may have been higher than normal? I refer specifically to the general stress surrounding any removal operation. I refer to the fact that the removal man you hired was anxious to perform the job quickly in order that he could get away for another job. Is it not accurate to say that you were more tense than usual on that day?
  1. You state that the first time you saw Mr Galvin on that day, when he was with his friend, you tried to speak to them. You say you think you said ‘hello’. Does that mean you are not sure? Is it possible that you didn’t greet them at all? If you did, is it not likely that the two men did not hear you?
  1. You then state that the two men, after ‘ignoring’ you, which I think we have established was actually a case of either you not greeting them at all, or the two men not hearing you, you state that they made comments to each other about you and laughed with each other. Mr Galvin has made it clear, however, that he and his friend were simply talking together about something completely unrelated, and neither the comment nor the laughter was directed at you. It seems the case, then, Ms Grayling, that you misinterpreted the atmosphere as being one of aggression and hostility when this was not the case. Do you concede this mistake?
  1. You go on to state that upon Mr Galvin’s return, he said, in an aggressive manner, ‘people can’t fucking get past’. It is flatly denied by Mr Galvin that these words were uttered. Indeed he alleges that the first person to swear at all was you, on the occasion of him trying to re-enter the flats past you belongings. Given your misinterpretation of the general atmosphere, do you concede that you may be mistaken with regard to what was actually said, and by whom? How can you be sure?
  1. You then state that while you were moving the rest of your belongings into your flat, Mr Galvin ‘came and went’ a few times. How many times? How can you be sure? But Mr Galvin is certain that he went out only twice before 1.30, after which time he remained in his mother’s flat upstairs. Again, it seems likely that you have misremembered the details of the events. Do you concede this?
  1. Can you confirm that it was at about 2.00 that came out of your flat and realised that some items were missing? How long had you left these items unattended?
  1. When you realised that some items were missing, and given your earlier interaction with Mr Galvin, is it not true that your first thoughts were that he had stolen the items? But you say in your statement that you were worried they had been taken by Mr Galvin or his friend. What was this concern based upon? But do you not concede that given your probable misinterpretation of the general atmosphere, and the added stresses of the day, perhaps your initial accusation of Mr Galvin was ill considered and unreasonable?
  1. Furthermore, given your heated state, when you went up to confront Mr Galvin, is it not the case that contrary to what you have said to the court, your belief was that Mr Galvin or his friend had stolen the items?
  1. How would you describe your state of mind at this stage? But you were hardly calm and completely in control? Do you concede that when you confronted Mr Galvin, then, these factors may have given you a confrontational and aggressive air?
  1. You say that you asked politely if Mr Galvin knew where some boxes were. Mr Galvin, however, describes the exchange very differently. He says you were aggressive and ‘mouthing off’. Please remind us of the exact words you used.
  1. You state that you lost your temper with Mr Galvin when he enquired whether you were accusing him of something. Do you concede that this was unreasonable on your part? He was simply asking you, given your confrontational manner, what he was being accused of. Is it not the case that your general state of mind was one of heightened tension, and this loss of temper was unreasonable and disproportionate?
  1. You then say that s ‘shouting match’ ensued, when you stated that no one else had been downstairs. How can you be sure no on else had been downstairs?
  1. Is it not true that you were the principal aggressor during this ‘shouting match’? After all, it was you who had approached Mr Galvin and it was you who, by your own admission, lost your temper. Mr Galvin states that you were rude and spoke to him in a condescending manner, as if he were a child. I repeat, was it not you who was the principal aggressor? Furthermore, is it not the case that at this stage you believed that Mr Galvin had stolen the items, and were determined to harass him into returning them?
  1. You say you at no point placed your foot inside the property of Mr Galvin. How, then, did you prevent Mr Galvin from closing the door when he attempted to end the confrontation? So you concede that you used a degree of force to prevent Mr Galvin shutting his own front door and ending the altercation? Once again, is it not the case that you were the principal aggressor in all this?
  1. You go on to describe how he then opened the door when you would not let go, and you fell forward. This clearly reflects, surely, that you were exerting a higher degree of pressure on the door than you allege. Is it not the case, then, that you were forcefully trying to keep the door open, and that it was reasonable that Mr Galvin believed you were attempting to enter his property by force?
  1. You then state that he grabbed you and pushed you back, hard, causing you to stumble. Is it not actually the case that, having entered his flat because of the force you were applying to the door, you tried to retreat back of your own accord, and tripped over in so doing? Is it not true that there was no physical contact with Mr Galvin himself at this, or any other stage, and that it was you who was applying any force? How can you be so sure of what you allege, given your frequent misinterpretations and faulty memory of the events of that day?
  1. After you fell, you say My Galvin ran past you shouting, and I quote from your testimony, ‘you fucking bitch, don’t mess around with us’. in your witness statement, however, you quote Mr Galvin as saying, at this stage, ‘fucking bitch, don’t think you can accuse us of things.’ Which was it? Do you concede that your memory of this exchange is far from certain? Mr Galvin assures us that his words to you were actually ‘leave us alone’ which, given that he believed you had just tried to force your way into his mother’s property, was perhaps reasonable. Again, is it not the case that you were the principal aggressor, and indeed that your unfortunate fall was the result of you losing your own footing when seeking to retreat from the property which you had entered, albeit unintentionally, as a result of your force on the front door?
  1. Thank you, Ms Grayling, I have no further questions.

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