13 July 2012

Court Report Day 94 – The Prosecutor's Apprentice

Court Report, 12 July 2012.

Today, a further witness from the German federal police was heard. L. works at Frankfurt airport and he participated in the conversation with the Indian journalist R., who had interviewed the crew of the dhow Hudhud. The officer's statement was supposed to resolve discrepancies between R's recollection of the conversation and the notes taken by the other officer, B.

L. stated that he was asked by B. to accompany him to the TV station, but that he had no idea what it was about. His area of responsibilities were kidnappings. Why he - 'the driver', as he was called by one lawyer - ended up signing the file notes remained a mystery.

He said that the conversation had taken place in a friendly atmosphere and that the journalist had volunteered all the information about his interview with the crew, without having to be asked. He could not confirm that R. had told them that the crew had been tortured by the Somali, as the notes had said.

Tennis or Football?
The only thing L. was sure about was that R. had mentioned the name of the accused who had made his statements in court, and that his family in Wimbledon had been behind it. R. had vehemently denied having mentioned the name. “Wimbledon or Wembley”, the judge asked, “tennis or football?” The witness decided on football and changed his statement to Wembley.

Then it was back to declining applications. Several defence lawyers had submitted a catalogue of 100 questions to be asked of the 'crown witness' by the court. Since he had declined to answer questions from  the defence but had been happy to answer questions posed by the judge, the other defence lawyers saw this a way to get their questions asked. However, the judge disagreed and declined the application.

Next was a new bail application by a defence lawyer for her client. She quoted a ruling by Germany's highest court that a court should not waste time while the accused are held in custody. Here the opposite had been the case. She said that the supposed flight risk of her client was not real, referring to the 3 under-age accused who had been on bail for 3 months now. Their conduct had been exemplary. The court reserved its decision on that matter.

Finally, the 'crown witness' made a statement. He was against the application the court had just heard. The court was doing a good job and the application should be declined!

Is he turning into the prosecutor's apprentice?