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Agony and ecstasy

Waiting for the verdict may raise the blood pressure, but it’s all in the name of justice, muses Felix

26 April 2011

It does not get any better with age, the verdict. Of course it is always much worse when defending than prosecuting, but even then it is still a moment of apprehension and tension. As the blood pressure rises, I wonder is this good for us?

By the end of the trial you have been through it all with the defendant. He has not become your friend but he has come to rely on you in a world that is out to get him down. You are not required to like him and most of the time you do not. But it is an odd privilege being in close proximity to a person in acute stress, knowing where your duty lies and knowing that if you don’t like that fact then you had better not be doing the job.

Finally, after the monotonous rollercoaster of a trial, you get to the speeches. You listen to the prosecution huff and puff and then it is your turn. At last you are out there, running free, saying just what you want to, emphasising, minimising, indignant and concessionary by turns. The whole spectrum of...

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