MY ART OF CROSS-EXAMINATION:
CRACKING A TOUGH FALSE NUT
THIS MORNING, JUNE 13, 2013, AT RTC GENERAL SANTOS CITY, I AM HAPPY TO HAVE CRACKED THE NUT OF A FALSE WITNESS TO A MURDER.
As I always believe, I always conduct extensive cross-examination of a witness without any fear that the accusation would be bolstered.
As I did this morning, I consumed a good two hours cross-examining a false witness, stopping only when I saw the clock was at 12 o'clock. I was ashamed to myself because other than my two clients charged with murder there were about 16 other persons in BJMP yellow shirts and handcuffs whose hearings for this day (June 13, 2013) were cancelled because there was no more time time.
But it was not at all sad for the other men in yellow because I saw them enjoying, reacting, and watching intently with bated breath every question I would utter and every answer that the false witness would respond.
I felt I cracked the nut of this false witness because in all his answers, he would take too long to answer simple questions.
I drew first blood when my question packaged in another manner, "Why did you know it was the murder victim who was groaning?" The answer was: "I failed to get sleep."
This was a bull's eye because in his judicial affidavit the false witness said he was awakened by the groaning sound. If he was awakened, it means to say he should be asleep first so that he was awakened.
Then I pounced on, thinking that if he was after all awake he should know what happened before and during the stabbing incident.
I asked the witness what was the first event that he saw of the victim during or before the stabbing incident. His answer to this as written in his judicial-affidavit was that he saw the victim being held by my client while being stabbed on the neck by my other client. But during this cross-question, the witness said he saw the victim already wounded. When I asked him to clarify again, he changed his answer that he saw the victim already wounded and being stabbed again. These are damaging to the cause of the prosecution because the medical certificate showed that the murder victim only had one injury.
Then I asked him what acts were done by the victim that he saw prior to the time seeing the victim being stabbed and he said he did not see. I also asked him what he saw of the accused moments or seconds before the stabbing and he said none. Then I followed up that since he said he was after all awake, since when he was at his position in terms of hours and he said that from 10:00 p.m. of September 29, 2012 he was already there and he stayed there until 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. of September 30, 2012, what really did he see moments prior to the time seeing the victim already in wound or seeing the victim being stabbed, to which he took a long time thinking about how to answer. WITH THIS THAT HE WAS AWAKE AFTER ALL, it was impossible for him to have not seen the incident. So that he was lying when he said he did not see what were done by the victim and the accused moments or minutes before the stabbing.
Then I asked the false witness to explain why it took him to come out to testify only on January 20, 2013 when he witnessed the killing incident on September 30, 2012. He answered that he got sick and admitted to a hospital on October 9, 2012. I followed up that what did he do from September 30, 2012 up to October 8, 2012 when he did not execute any affidavit on the murder, to which he did not have a clear answer. IN OTHER WORDS, THE LACK OF CONVINCING EXPLANATION WHY HE DID NOT COME OUT IMMEDIATELY MEANS THAT HE WAS NOT AFTER ALL TELLING THE TRUTH.
Towards the end of the cross-examination, I asked the false witness when did he see the accused for the first time after the stabbing incident. He answered, a week later. I also asked if he saw the witness the second time after that and he said he saw the accused for the second time a week later and the third time another week later. I asked him what were the accused doing when he saw them and the witness said the accused were doing their jobs but he cannot say what jobs, welding or otherwise, considering that the accused have been all expert welders in ship repairs.
Then I asked him if he visited the wake of the victim and he said yes and it was on the day the victim was buried. I asked him if he saw the accused there and he said he saw the accused during the burial and the accused were doing things like what other mourners were doing.
The fact that the accused even attended the burial and were never running away means they were not guilty.
There were other questions with big impact in favor of my clients. But generally, they tended to prove our theory.