Why is cross-examination so important?
Cross-examination is one of the most powerful tools that a criminal lawyer has. If done properly, cross-examination will expose inconsistencies and flaws in the prosecution case, for example:
Where a witness has been inconsistent with what has occurred and the cross-examining criminal lawyer is able to effectively expose those inconsistencies (or in some cases, outright lies,), then that will assist with a submission that the witness’s evidence should not be accepted because it is not credible or reliable.
Where there is independent evidence that establishes that something did not occur in the way that the prosecution alleges, then it will sometimes be the case that this can also be effectively exposed or built upon in cross-examination. Independent evidence may also be adduced in cross-examination that can objectively prove that another witness is lying (which can be critical to the success of a given case).
In a drugs case, where there is a suggestion that drugs found belong to another person, then effective cross-examination can, in some instances, result in material being adduced in cross-examination that supports that theory.
Importantly, effective cross-examination highlights what the issues are for the Sheriff or jury when considering the defence case. At the end of the day, the Court must be satisfied that an accused person is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. If there is a rational theory consistent with the innocence of the accused person, then the Court must acquit. In these circumstances, cross-examination plays a pivotal role in the trial. In essence, it is one of the most important tasks of a Glasgow criminal lawyer to perform when arguing on an accused person’s behalf at trial.