Family Law Trials Part IV: The Last Two Days
So I got really busy and couldn’t blog on the last two days of trial. Lots of stuff happening. I didn’t think anyone would notice. Figured I would just do it later. But, surprise, surprise. I got notes from people asking about the trial, who want to know what happened. I am so pleased to know someone out there is reading my blog. You put stuff out into the cyber universe and you never know. My trial partner might have put it best when he said “People read your blog?” I never knew. I am so glad. Thanks people. And here is the latest update.
Things got off on a good note when the judge agreed husband’s lawyer was trying to impeach our client’s credibility without having put the evidence to our client. Clear contravention of … say it with me … the Rule in Brown v Dunne. Twice in one trial. Unbelievable. Then another objection, this time based on the parol evidence rule (the husband tried to go behind the property settlement we had made to claim the numbers were actually something other than what was on the written page). Won that one too. Our evidence professors should be very proud.
Cross-examination of the husband went better than we expected. Being argumentative, evasive and combative didn’t play well with the judge. He fought with the cross-examiner, answered questions that weren’t asked and lectured the court on material totally irrelevant to the case. When faced with documents that countered his position, he refused to acknowledge them. That and the 12 trips all over the world that he has taken since separation while our client struggled to find money to buy food meant that he was a great witness for us in cross.
We did damage to their expert by objecting to the admission of his material (a series of schedules and calculations), since he did not file a report. A technical point, but valid all the same. Their expert’s schedules were not allowed into evidence, and that meant that the only evidence of current value before the court was ours. Brilliant. We put evidence and propositions to their expert that were incontrovertible. Financial statements documenting years of losses to support the claim that husband was mismanaging the business to the wife’s detriment. He had to agree. It was a perfect way to close the evidence: their expert confirming our theory of the case was the last thing the judge heard. But you never know… As well as we think the evidence went in, things can still go sideways. We won’t know until we know and the decision is released. And even then it might not be over, if someone decides to appeal…
That was Friday afternoon. We did not have time for closing arguments, so we have agreed to do written closings. We may get the opportunity for some oral argument in late December if another matter the judge is scheduled to hear settles. If not, then the closing will be entirely in writing.
Drove home with eight boxes of documents, a printer, my gown bag and my computer filling the back seats. Stopped at the liquor store for a bottle of Megalomaniac Merlot. Our waitress from Thursday night told us Megalomaniac is supposedly one of Niagara’s finest (our having been in wine country, after all). Unfortunately, the LCBO at Bathurst and Lawrence didn’t have it. Wanting to stay with the theme, I ended up with a bottle of Wayne Gretzky Merlot the LCBO lady recommended, which wasn’t half bad. Enjoyed a glass on the back patio in the sunshine which now, with all this snow and cold, seems a distant memory.
And that was the trial in a nutshell. A great experience. I realized I miss being in a courtroom. It is an interesting and challenging part of the job. Now it is time to draft the closing. And then the waiting begins…