Louise Milligan is no stranger to the Courts of Law; as a journalist she was for a time a court reporter, then she did a Law course, developing her investigative skills. Some of the cases she followed closely had verdicts passed which were unfathomable. Gradually as she delved deeper into the cases, she found that the victims had been bullied atrociously by the defence lawyer.
A young eighteen-year-old innocent girl celebrated her birthday with a girlfriend. They finished up in a nightclub having had much to drink. The nightclub owner’s son told her he would show her the VIP area but took her out into a lane and raped her. This was a life changing event for the girl, who reported the act to the Police. When the case came to court, the girl told and retold the prosecuting lawyer what had happened. His bullying and harassing treatment of her ensured her humiliation and degradation would never be forgotten. The perpetrator was found not guilty as he said he hadn’t heard her say no!
With a view to changing the treatment of witnesses, Louise has researched other cases and found similar tactics used on confused, overwhelmed and unsupported people. But then she was called as a witness with information about Cardinal Pell. She had been told, by a victim, exactly what had happened to him. Louise took the stand nervously but confidently and was cross examined for hours. .” A court is required to disallow improper questions put to a witness,” but during that day Louise could not think of one question that was not asked in an insulting or belittling tone. To destroy the credibility of the witness would knock the case out at committal stage. The actual court transcript is given here, and it is outrageous!
In the five years Louise has taken to compile Witness, she has honed it into an eminently readable piece. It is shameful, that in our time witnesses and victims are still treated with so little regard. This is a social issue which needs strong action now. Pass this book around; better still give everyone a copy for Christmas, as everyone should be aware of these issues.