‘No further questions, Your Honour,’ Barbara Craven said, sitting down.
Looking importantly at his notes and then back up at the witness, Richard Blake rose to his feet and gave an important sigh before he continued with his cross examination.
‘Apart from these two occasions, did you ever encounter the accused?’
‘The injuries that Mrs Whitman presented with could have been caused by a mugging, could they not?’
The doctor gathered her thoughts into a neat pile. ‘It is possible.’
‘Can I ask you, at the time of the consultation, how long you had been working on your shift?’
‘Objection!’ Barbara Craven shouted.
‘Overruled, but you must get to the point Mr Blake.’
‘Twelve hours, it had been a long, troubling shift.’
‘You must have been tired. At what time did you see the accused?’
‘It was later in the day,’ the doctor finally admitted.
‘So, let me get this straight, after a long, troubling shift, you treated the accused injuries. Is it not possible that you read the situation wrongly?’
‘I have worked in accident and emergency for many years, in my opinion she wasn’t telling the truth.’
‘How was the deceased acting towards his wife?’
‘He wouldn’t leave her side and held her hand the entire time.’
‘A loving husband then?’
‘It seemed that way, yes,’ the doctor reluctantly said, ‘but as I said it was my impression.’
‘Just your impression. Are you a qualified psychiatrist?’
‘No,’ Doctor Patel said.
‘Do you really expect the members of the jury to believe without the relevant qualifications you have been able to judge if a person is lying. I put it to you that after a long shift you misread the situation and saw something that wasn’t there.’
‘I have seen this happen before.’
‘No further questions, Your Honour.’
With a flick of his elegant wrist he almost relaxed in his seat.
Eased out of her seat, Barbara Craven returned to her witness, ‘My learned colleague has his opinions on whether a simple doctor from accident and emergency department cannot tell if a patient is trying to conceal the truth about their injuries, but isn’t it true that you have had experiences in such cases?’
‘I see patients arriving in my department on a regular basis – women and men, of all ages, in abusive relationships cover up their injuries with a fall down a flight of stairs or burning themselves on a hot iron or just being plain clumsy. You would have to be blind not to notice the signs.’