Examination-In-Chief of Benjamin Atkins


It is usual, in a large proportion of cases, to start with the witness whose evidence is first in time. This witness will be the first to be called by the Prosecution and the Court would not have heard any evidence before from any other witnesses. I cannot refer directly to any evidence of another witness and must also set the scene thoroughly to show as strong a case for the Prosecution as possible. As Benjamin Atkins would make a strong impression in this case and it is an advantage for the whole litigation process to start and finish with a strong witness.


The aims of conducting Mr Benjamin Atkins examination-in-chief would be to bring out all the relevant facts that relate to the charge of theft from Ms. Rose’s home, and to show that Mr. Atkins is a credible witness who paid sufficient care and attention to what was going on in the garden of his neighbour, Ms. Rose, giving a comprehensive account of events. Therefore, this witness was acting as instructed by Ms. Rose, acting reasonably, and that his assertions of fact have credible justification. These will be useful points to reiterate in my closing speech, as the facts stated by this witness are crucial to Mr. Morris’s culpability.


I have organised the key elements of the witness’s testimony in a logical order so that the person trying this case can understand how each part fits into the overall theory of my case. Therefore, I have all along maintained a strict chronological presentation of the evidence on which I intend to question Benjamin Atkins. Following, from Mr. Atkins’ statement in the order that he made it, I will go through the events that lead up to Mr. Morris coming round to his neighbour’s house on 1st November 2003, and the actual events of that day and thereafter. Towards the end, I would like to deal with the values of the items that were missing. The reason for this structure is clarity, as a chronological sequence together with careful eliciting of useful facts would provide an easily understandable overview of the facts and issues and would be the most persuasive way of conveying the Prosecutions case.

Potential Theory:

On 1st November 2003 at about 10.00 am, Mr. Morris went to 47 Hirschfield Drive, Acton to take, from the shed, not only the bike and the two chairs (armless), which were his, but also a dining table with four chairs (with arms) and wooden ladders. These were lined up against the fence dividing Ms. Rose’s house from Mr. Atkins’ and were taken not in one go but separately by Mr. Morris. This was done as compensation for excess charges, while he was her tenant, with a degree of  anger at Ms. Rose for asking him to end his tenancy. My theory is that Mr. Morris has kept the missing items somewhere, although not in his new home.

Questioning Techniques:

The questioning techniques I have chosen, include open and closed questions, transitions and points of reference. This leads to clarify of presentation and enable me to exercise control when required. I have avoided leading questions which suggest or tend to suggest the answer to the witness where the subject matter is in dispute.

Professional Conduct Issue:

I must not raise issues, which refer to the previous bad character of Mr. Morris, by disclosing that Ms. Rose thought that Mr. Morris and some of his friends were smoking cannabis regularly. I would further eliminate the items that Mr. Atkins didn’t see taken namely, a small lawn mower and a new grass trimmer from the shed, even though Ms. Rose claimed they had disappeared. Other than that, do not appear to be any other evidential issues as all the things said were directly heard and/or perceived by Mr. Atkins and did not involve disclosing any third party’s conversation.