Saturday, July 12, 2008

Question and Answer Session...


Have you ever seen cross examination in a litigation? No, Cross Examination does not mean taking an examination angrily. Well, it’s actually a terminology used for the opposite party in a litigation, be it a civil or criminal case, to question a witness, after the witness has given his examination in chief. Many styles for cross examination are available base upon one’s skill. It is not something that you can learn and master it in law school but it comes naturally after years and years of practice. Heck, if I was ever given the opportunity to conduct a cross examination now, I’d probably screw up my client’s case. It’s not as easy as it looks on tv.

The most common mistake that I notice so far is that some counsels prefer to intimidate the witness. It gets so bad until the witness would no longer want to cooperate with the intimidating counsel. There is no need to intimidate all of your witness. You need to learn to coax the answer that you want from him and you won’t be able to do that smoothly if the witness is angry and has built up his own defence mechanism against you. To my personal mind, a great cross examiner should be able to make the witness realize, by himself, without the need of any explanation, that he has given contradicting statements. Only, and only once the witness can be seen to have realized this blunder, should the cross examiner ask the witness if he is telling contradicting stories in court.

It is not necessary to accuse that the witness is lying in court. Sometimes we tend to mix up story A and B. This can easily happen when you are in the witness stand, giving statements under oath, knowing that every single thing (or most of what is necessary) is recorded by the presiding judge, being questioned and quizzed non-stop by the opposing counsel and when you yourself have started to get confused with the facts of the case.

Chill la sikit brader. Just because the witness is from the other side, it doesn’t mean that he is your enemy. He is in the witness box just because he is related to the case. No need to feel that he is there for the sole purpose of destroying your client.

Cross examination are usually noted in question and answer form. Well, that’s the way I do it. It’s easier and a lot faster to record it this way.

Speaking of which, I was asked by a reader to my blog some genuine questions and it actually has no nexus with cross examinations. I reproduce the questions here with my comments below them:

1st : i'v read a book, a biography actually about a judge in malaysia. Can't remember his name, he said he can't simply being with somebody, restricted relationship even he said he can't go to mamak or warung. Is it true? Very poor life the judge had.

Judges are bound by some code of ethics. It does in a way restrict the manner of which one can choose his friends. This being so, it would not be seen appropriate for the judge to be seen “lepaking” at mamak or warung everynight. Tapi kalau nak makan, mana-mana pun boleh.

2nd : Ur wife also being a bloger and comments some issue on politic, thus, is it whatever she wrote will affect u? since whenever some big issue happen the lawyer will korek all out the judge's relation and staments ets...
Yes, the bride has been gifted by the Almighty to have her own opinion on certain issues. We are one entity but whatever comments that she makes on her blog is strictly her own opinion and does not in anyway include / affect me or my reasoning. Besides, I like that she has her own way of thinking. Her independent mind shows that she thinks. This means she uses her brain.
3rd : Not question but statement. Law words and phrases very hard to understand. No matter in english or malay!!! Berbelit.
Eg :a) adalah tanah Kerajaan yang diberimilik oleh sesuatuNegeri kepada Persekutuan bagi maksud-maksudpersekutuan, tanah yang diberimilik oleh sesuatuNegeri kepada Persekutuan selepas pengambilanpaksa atau tanah berimilik yang diambil olehsesuatu Negeri daripada seorang tuan punyapersendirian dengan persetujuan untukPersekutuan, di bawah Perkara 83 Perlembagaan; Simple words Plzzzzz!
Since this is not a question but a statement, I can only agree with you. But I have this to say. Sometimes, you may need to use some bombastic language to explain difficult things. The exact message doens’t get through in simple terms. Sometimes, you don’t. Maybe the reason why you find it hard to understand the example you gave is because you don’t have the art of reading it. I’m not saying that I am THAT GOOD but why don’t you try this simple step. Read the whole paragraph and see if there are any “or” / “atau” / “,” / “dan or and” in the sentence. If there are any, break up the sentence and separate them like this:

a) adalah tanah Kerajaan yang diberimilik oleh sesuatuNegeri kepada Persekutuan bagi maksud-maksudpersekutuan,
b) tanah yang diberimilik oleh sesuatuNegeri kepada Persekutuan selepas pengambilanpaksa, atau
c) tanah berimilik yang diambil olehsesuatu Negeri daripada seorang tuan punyapersendirian

d) dengan persetujuan untukPersekutuan
,
e) di bawah perkara 83 Perlembagaan;


Is it any better? After reading this kind of writings for a few years, you’d get the hang of it. If it is still to difficult, try to engage a lawyer to do the work for you. J

Blog adjourned!

Reactions:

6 obiter dictum:

Azmi said...

Dengan izin Tuan,

Saya Haizul Azmi, H-A-I-Z-U-L A-Z-M-I,peguamcara bagi pihak plaintif dari Tetuan Z.

Dengan izin Tuan saya pohon untuk berbahasa Inggeris.

Much obliged Tuan.

It seems that the long-winded nature of legal speak has been a recurring issue of late.

Not to be outdone Tuan, Tetuan Z has implied that my opinions as well as submissions are on the lyrical side.

I have always been an advocate for simple language for the layman.

But Tuan, without the legal lingo, it wouldn't be much fun for lawyers, judges etc.

The play on words is a necessity to ensure the constant evolution and interpretation of laws...

if they(the laws) are too concise,it would, inter alia, be too restrictive.

PSP.

:)

Twiggy said...

*sigh* lawyers.. hahahahha

Twiggy said...

oh..and..err.. thanks.. for stressing that i use my brain, LOL!

two_one said...

1. Azmi: your comment explains the need for long winded language... It's no fun if it's short... kan???

2. Twiggy: you married one... kesian... hehehe

WishingUponAstar said...

1st of all thank u for the explanation.I leave the bahasa yg susah n dasyat itu kepada lawyers n judges.

Anyway, i've one question. ( again!!! hehehe )

If somebody write a public blog and let the public comment on his/her blog, in my opinion the blogger was directly shows his/her intention to share what ever she/he wrote on his blog to public and the public are freely to comment on their blog. Am i rite? Is that in any way the reader/commenter being accused as a stalker?

ok that are 2 queastions actually.

Thank You

two_one said...

wishinguponastar: I have absolutely no idea. A blog post may be accessible to public but i'm not sure if it is a public document. And if one consistently bombard someones blog with ridiculous comments, i don't know if he can be considered as a stalker but he's sure gonna be a bloody annoyance to that blogger... hehehe