Barristers Often Use and How to Overcome Them
traditionally use a number of tricks to make the witnesses that they are
cross-questioning look less than entirely honest, competent and credible.
are a few of the tricks that barristers use that you should watch out for.
Yes/No You Lie Trick
this trick the barrister asks you a question and tells you to answer
either yes or no.
only problem is that the truth is neither yes nor no, but somewhere in
you answer “yes” your credibility will be attacked by the barrister
showing that “yes” is not an honest answer. The implication is that
you are not an honest person and that anything you say cannot be believed.
on the other hand, you answer “no” the same fate awaits you.
the barrister has set a trap for you, which if you do not avoid will
result in your honesty and integrity being questioned and the contents of
all of your evidence perhaps being disregarded.
you are faced with this situation you need to tell the judge or barrister
that the question cannot be answered by a “yes” or “no” answer.
should then explain why and ask the judge or barrister if you can answer
the question properly.
Keep Talking Trick
rules of evidence strictly control what can and cannot be introduced as
evidence into a case.
are often many issues that the other side’s barrister would love to
introduce as evidence, but will not be allowed to do so because of the
rules of evidence.
there is often a back door whereby things can be introduced as evidence
that would not normally be allowed.
easy back door for barristers to use is what you say in the witness box.
If they can trick you into referring to evidence that would otherwise be
inadmissible, they may be able to make the evidence admissible.
do this by asking questions to which they do not really need the answer,
but which may trick you into referring to other issues that they want to
introduce as evidence.
trick is for him or her to keep looking at you expectantly when you have
finished answering a question and be silent, thus psychologically applying
pressure on you to keep talking.
you are in the witness box you need to avoid talking too much.
should always answer questions truthfully and fully, but avoid answering
more than was asked.
the psychological pressure to keep talking.
Around the Borders Trick
is usually difficult to remember every single detail of an event or every
often exploit this by concentrating questions on “the borders”, that
is the least important facts or memories.
is these areas where you are most likely to be unable to remember exactly
witnesses feel that they have to answer these questions or the judge or
tribunal will assume that their memory cannot be relied on.
trying to answer these questions they sometimes end up guessing. Some
guesses will be right, but many will be wrong.
you give the wrong answer and the barrister can show that it is wrong your
credibility becomes easier to attack.
do not have to answer every question. If you cannot remember or you cannot
answer accurately without referring to notes or documents you should
simply say so.
is far better than trying to answer, getting it wrong and having your
total credibility discredited.
Irrelevant Technical Point
the other side’s barrister wants to discredit your credibility as an
expert in your field or as a professional person he or she may rely on the
irrelevant technical point trick.
barrister will ask you a question about some area in your profession or
area of expertise, or that is likely to appear to the judge or tribunal as
being with your profession or area of expertise, even if it isn’t.
area of knowledge covered by the question is so obscure or so irrelevant
that almost nobody would know the answer in your profession or who has the
expertise needed to do your job.
judge doesn’t know this and assumes that you should know the answer.
Therefore your credibility as an expert or professional may be doubted.
barrister may want to show the court or tribunal that you are an
unreasonable person and did not treat his or her client fairly.
way of doing this is to get you to lose your composure in court, and
especially to induce you to get angry.
the barrister will do this very subtly because if the judge can see that
you are being goaded the sympathy will be with you instead of with the
court never lose your temper. Many cases have been lost because the judge
or tribunal decides that the investigator is emotionally unsound and may
therefore have threatened the suspect or witnesses or simply have carried
a grudge that affected his or her judgement.
with Assumptions Trick
barristers ask a question that has an assumption or implication in it that
makes you look bad and is not accurate.
you answer the question without correcting the assumption it may appear
that you are admitting to the accuracy of the assumption or implication.
For more tips, advice and practical pointers see Fraudproof Your Business Manual.