Thursday, 26 May 2016
Harassment Trial: Part 2
The prosecution finished their case and then my counsel Dave, who I had only met that morning, got up and started submissions on my behalf.
It went seriously badly but I couldn't do anything about it. I was stuck inside this glass box (the dock) and couldn't give any instructions to my lawyers from inside there. I just had to sit and listen to this car crash.
My counsel didn't know my case at all.
Colin, my other lawyer stepped in and requested a further 30 minutes to make some copies of papers that we needed to give the judge. He granted us 70 minutes and court was adjourned for lunch.
We all left the court room and I went into one of the briefing rooms with Colin. "Dave is fired!", I said "I don't want him anywhere near my case". I was furious about the situation.
Colin was very nervous. If Dave was fired that meant he would be running the case and cross examining Mr de Freitas and other witnesses.
I decided to keep Dave in a procedural role but Colin would be running the show from now. My civil solicitor Colin who usually conducts commercial litigation from behind a desk would now turn into a criminal barrister (trial counsel) in the space of 70 minutes.
The next 70 minutes were crucial, in that 70 minutes:
1) Colin had to prepare for cross examination of David de Freitas.
2) I had to copy 50 pages of documents, four times over.
But where would I find a photocopier? I ran around the court building in desperation carrying these two massive files, trying to find a photocopying machine.
I saw there was one in the lobby, no one was using it. I switched it on and started to copy. I was on my fifth copy when I got pounced on by six security guards "What are you doing!" they shouted.
It was chaos, time was ticking by and we seriously needed these documents. Another five minutes was wasted whilst i tried to explain to them my situation. They didn't care and pulled the plug out and told me I couldn't use the machine.
I was desperate. There was only 45 minutes left. I Googled photocopying shops and jumped into a taxi. 5 minutes later I arrived at the nicest photocopying shop I have ever been to on Marylebone Road.
As I entered the shop Classic Fm was playing in the background and all was calm. I was the only customer in the shop. Amazing. I told them what I needed and they set about creating four copies of everything. After 20 minutes we had four bundles of documents neatly bound together. The bill came to around £100, that's how many documents there were, but this was worth it. I did not want a criminal record.
I raced back to the court building, went through the security checks, back through he X ray machine and up two floors to the court room. I gave the documents to Colin and took my place in the dock.
As soon as I put my foot in the dock the Judge walked in. We had made it by the skin of our teeth.
Colin had his documents and he had his questions. We were ready for cross examination.
Witness no. 1 was David de Freitas.
He was a lot shorter than I expected. Up to this day I had never seen him in the flesh. He took the witness stand and first of all the prosecution asked him some questions. Because he was a witness for the prosecution he was giving his "evidence in chief", as opposed to cross examination. With evidence in chief counsel will ask open ended questions, such as "and then what happened" or "did you notice anything unusual that day" they are not allowed to suggest anything. The evidence must come from you.
Evidence in chief is very different from cross examination, is when the other side ask you questions. Only the opposing side can cross examine and ask leading questions.
I had already read David de Freitas' witness statement, so I knew what he was going to say in curt. It was terribly over exaggerated.
His first complaint was that I had sent him a letter and he found it threatening. In fact the letter didn't threaten anything apart for "legal action. I sent the letter when the press started to come out. I did not need a lawyer to tell me the press was defamatory. Also there was no time. The press came out at 7pm and I was tipped off to a Radio broadcast that was happening at 8am, so no time to seek legal advice in any case.
The letter actually gave David de Freitas a list of the CPS evidence and told him that I was the victim of a serious crime and that should he twist the facts then I would make my own statement and take legal action.
There were also other messages I had sent, (because he would not stop his press campaign) and there was the website that I had created.
His complaint was that it caused him alarm and distress. He did not want contact from me, and he did not want to see photos of his daughter buying sex toys (the morning after the alleged rape).
It was so dramatised. De Freitas continued to give his evidence in chief and was crying at every opportunity. "My poor daughter... she's all I had."
Sure he was upset that his daughter had died, but that wasn't anything to do with me. All he had to do was to think of his daughter and he would burst into tears.
There were lots of tears and I was thinking "My god, I haven't got a chance. Who are you going to vouch for, me of the father of the dead girl". He was making me out to be some kind of demon.
In one instance he even had to leave the room, this was not good.
When his evidence in chief was over my lawyer Colin cross examined him. Colin was good, he stuck to the most important things. De Freitas was trying to be clever and avoided many questions instead he would answer back with these old fashioned catch phrases like "words don't but tears fail me" it was "too little too late", a sort of pompous talk.
Next witness was David de Freitas lawyer, Harriet Wistrich. She again was very short, much shorter than I expected.
Harriet Wistrich is an anti rape campaigner. She founded this group called WAR or Women Against Rape. This organisation is particularly unpleasant. They say that "all men are rapists" and are feminist extremists.
Again her evidence as exaggerated. All that had happened is I sent De Freitas and her warning letters and set up a website to counter the bad press. Nothing more. But they were framing it was "this man lost his daughter because of Economou, and then he bombarded him with messages and photos of his daughter buying sex toys, how could he do such a thing, he did it on purpose to upset Mr de Freitas".
The true context was that David de Freitas had accused me of rape in the press and I had told him to shut up, and exposed the truth which was that his daughter was a liar.