Independent Witness by Henry Cecil
Created: Mon Mar 22 18:21:02 2010 | Last modified: Mon Mar 22 18:21:02 2010
A prominent Member of Parliament is involved in an accident with a motorcyclist. The worst part is that it's a hit and run case and on the advice of a friend he comes forward to the police and admits that he was the driver in charge. He is charged with dangerous driving and there are several independent witnesses who could swear that he didn't stop at the "halt" line.
And so, begins this fascinating tale of independent witnesses who give evidence against him. How the counsel for the defence, Mr. Olliphant breaks each of them down is what this novel is all about. This is only of Henry Cecil's classics: full of courtroom scenes and cross-examinations, this is where Henry Cecil is at his best. The way the witnesses justify what they saw and how they're affected by their own personal prejudices and feelings and how Olliphant breaks their evidence down to essentials is what this novel is about. Of course, the Cecilian twist comes at the end! Read it yourself and be fascinated at this legal drama.
I finished it in one sitting and it's certainly a light read, although the dialogues can (and does) drag on occasions. However, it enhances, rather than detracts from the humour and gives us an insight into how the minds of people who give evidence at court work.
Yet again, I highly recommend this book.