20 December 2010

Report from Day 4

Day 4 - 15 December 2010

Hardly anyone is there – only 4 members of the public and 4 press. Additionally 3 innocuous looking men are sitting there, more interested in observing the public than the trial.

An argument develops about whether the press should be allowed to make drawings in the court room (cameras have already been banned), because again, one newspaper published a drawing that clearly showed one defendant.

The judge continues with the objections to the expert witnesses. He takes a 15 minute recess to discuss his findings with the three jurors. When he comes back he spends an hour reading his 12 page decision not to grant the objections. It's impossible to transcribe all of this, but the reasons were mostly formal.

As I listen to all this I wonder what the interpreters are saying. I hope they are speaking nice stories into the headphones of the accused.

Counsel Jung asks the judge how it was possible to discuss the 12 page document with the jurors in just 17 minutes. The judge declares that is not going divulge where and when he discusses with the jurors.

The judge continues with the examination of another expert witness, Dr. Helmke from the University Hospital. He explains the procedures. “This patient didn't have an interpreter, and we didn't try to communicate in English or French with him”. He wants to quote from a dissertation, is asked by whom, he doesn't know. He says he read it on the internet. He talks a lot about the growth of bones in the hand and the difference in development between girls and boys.