Thursday, 26 May 2016
Harassment Trial: Part 1
Last night I found out that my counsel had overrun on another trial and couldn't represent me today, which meant we had to get someone else last minute.
Yup, so today I am going to be represented by someone who only just read the case papers last night. The problem is this is a very complex case. You need a week to get to grip on everything. This whole thing has been going on for 3 years and 6 months.
I am feeling generally quite nervous.
I stayed up late last night going through the papers and this morning I got up early to go for a 5 mile run.
It has helped calm the nerves, but still there are nerves.
I am also worried about the press taking a bad photo of me. When I came to court in January there were press all over the place, snapping away. One hour later my photo of my outside court was all over the internet.
I put on my Sunday best and head over to court in a pre booked taxi. Everything was good. I was on time and in fact I was early.
I got out of the taxi round the corner from the court so that the press couldn't see me and then gently meandered towards to the double doors. I was relieved there was no press.
I was about to walk into the court building when I realised the doors are shut. I had arrived too early. Ten seconds later I was spotted by half a dozen photographers. Snap snap snap.
I felt like an idiot as all these photographers snapped away.
After five minutes the court doors opened and in I went. I went to a briefing room where I met my counsel for the first time. Yes you heard me right. I was on trial and I hadn't even met my own lawyer.
Thankfully I also had my defamation lawyer Colin there. He knows the case inside out but he:
a) Doesn't specialise in criminal law.
b) Has never acted as counsel at trial before.
My plan is to use Colin for everything apart from Dave, who knows less about the case but he knows how the criminal courts work. Colin my libel lawyer is very nervous, but I know he'll be fine.
In we go to the court and it is jam packed full of press. Literally every seat in the court room is taken. the press are even sitting on the benches where lawyers would normally sit.
I go and take my place in the dock, which in this court is a glass box. There is a speaker and I can hear the proceedings via the speaker.
The lawyers take their positions and the prosecuting lawyer opens the case. The prosecutor is a guy called Bill Emylyn Jones QC. He is 6 foot 5 with size 13 feet and quite lanky. Tall and slim with a big nose. He looks like a shark.
The shark is very clever, he is very intelligent. The shark is no ordinary prosecutor he is what is called "Treasury Counsel". That means he was hand picked by the Attorney General to prosecute the most serious cases at the Central Criminal courts in London.
The shark is usually prosecuting murderers and terrorists at the Old Bailey. He hasn't been in a magistrates court for years. Even though the charge of harassment against me is relatively minor in comparison, the case has a lot of history. It is actually quite complicated and that's why they have employed him, someone with a good memory who can quickly explain things to the judge.
The good news is that the more experienced the prosecutor the fairer they are. That applies here in the UK, although probably not in the USA. When you have trial lawyers starting off in their careers they try to win every criminal case, they need to prove themselves. Once they have some experience they realise it's actually about justice. They realise they are there to present the facts and allow the court to decide.
Obviously the shark is going to lay into me and accuse me of harassing Mr de Freitas but the shark is reasonable. As he gives his opening speech he explains that David de Freitas accused me of rape in the press. Quite honestly the opening speech could have been a lot worse.
Some parts of his opening I just want to burst out laughing though. Part of the prosecution case is that I've made a website (like this one) that has images of the sex toys that Eleanor and I bought together and that it caused enormous distress to David de Freitas to see those images of his daughter buying sex toys.
The whole thing is crazy because obviously all I was trying to do was to show his daughter was lying. I only did it after he went to the press and after my name was trashed on Google. Anyone wrongly accused of rape would upload material to show they were innocent - if it was available.
The shark went though the names of the sex toys. I couldn't believe it. He then went on about the CCTV I had uploaded and the various sections of the website, including 'homepage', 'CCTV', 'police refusing to investigate'.
He said the website published "completely gratuitous" references to the purchases of sex toys, including "three jars: nipple rub, pussy rub and cock rub" and "anal glide lube".
When he started going through the list of jars I almost laughed out loud. I had to bite my lip so hard.
He said that I had posted screen shots on the website of Miss de Freitas appearing on a website called Tantric Temple, in which she is listed as a "high-class escort" called Goddess Portia.
Quite honestly that opening by Mr William Emlyn-Jones QC was the best advertising ever for my website which was still up and running during the trial. That website was similar to this blog, in that it showed the evidence against Eleanor de Freitas and showed her to be a liar.
It received so many website hits that day.
The press were writing everything down and I was delighted. I wanted this detail to be out out there. So far the press had kept quiet about the evidence but now they had no choice.
All I ever anted was the truth to get out there and it was. The evidence on my website was going to be in every paper by lunchtime.