Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 4.55.47 PM

I received the witness statements from the respondent yesterday. Screeds of them. Some of these witness statements were never even part of the original investigation.

Putting aside one moment the witness statements that are new and never formed part of the original investigation and looking only at witnesses that were part of the original investigation.

Here we have, from the central protagonists, a litany of lies.

Can I prove that they are lying?

Yes, very easily, as, there is express evidence, letters, contemporaneous notes produced by the respondents themselves and written submissions already admitted to, that evidences the lie.

Prior to their giving evidence, they will either swear, or affirm that their witness statements are true.

Now I suspect that many witnesses lie.

The important fact is – do they tell lies that are easily caught in already existing evidence? I’m sure the stupid ones do. Here is the difference in my case, the liars here are senior management, who, you would think ought to know better.

In any case credibility is a major issue. If the Judge thinks you are not a credible witness and your evidence is suspect, it is unlikely to carry any weight. If the entire case rests on your central role in the case, then your case suffers from a likely terminal flaw.

What is even more surprising is that these witness statements were produced at all.

Lawyers produce the witness statements. We write them. We interview the client extensively and ‘get’ their story. Then, we put that story into words, the witness statement.

But here’s the thing – we don’t write into the witness statement (a) something we know is a lie and (b) something contentious, that may be true, unless we can evidence it in some way [unless we are truly desperate and there is nothing else, then we have to risk it].

Now, the respondent has engaged a Partner, in one of NZ’s premier law firms, specialising in this area of law. They would know better….right?

Wrong.

The witness statements contain outright lies. These lies a directly controverted by the evidence directly attributable to the witness themselves. So what we have is the evidence, say a letter, that says ABC. The witness then claims that ABC was never said. The witness will swear to this prior to the giving of their evidence.

So what we have is senior management [at national level], advised by a Partner in a premier law firm, swearing to a witness statement, containing lies, that can easily be demonstrated to be lies on express evidence.

There are, I’m sure, many ways to lose a case. This seems to be negligent way to lose a case, especially when you charge $1000/hr for the advice.

This case, when I initially took it on, had probably 20 pages of relevant evidence. Letters, submissions, notes.

Today, the pages of evidence exceeds 1,500 pages. I know its not a huge amount, I worked as an intern through the summer and cases generated tens of thousands of pages, boxes of the stuff and that is still small compared to the big cases where the pages move into the millions.

My point however is, the vast majority of the pages are noise. Some, as the witness statements demonstrate, rather than helping the case, damage the case badly.

 

Advertisements