Yes, I'm starting to explain. It's quite a lengthy explanation. The Prosecution outbalance the Defence in terms of resources, in terms of available attorneys, in terms of the number of years that they have been involved in the preparation of this very important trial and I would also add in terms of lack of cooperation and transparency. We have been entirely cooperative and we have been transparent in our dealings with the Prosecution. We have not had that reciprocated.
And the way in which this witness has now been, or it's being proposed that this witness be bounced into court, not once but twice, when the Prosecution were fully aware of Mr Griffiths's other commitment, a commitment that was already in place when he took on this brief, a commitment that his professional ethics obliged him to adhere to and a commitment that Mr Taylor was well aware of and consented to, the Prosecution knew all of that. They had a witness order, that's to say a list of the order in which witnesses would come. They've shifted that order around and we have been agreeable to that.
I'm not going to repeat what I said yesterday when this issue was raised, but I do want to restate it. I don't need to spell it all out, but I invite the Court to take into consideration all the matters that I raised yesterday.
However, I did not outline the full history yesterday because at that stage none of us was entirely clear as to the course that the Prosecution were proposing. The full history, Madam President, and your Honours, is that Mr Griffiths in my presence discussed with members of the Prosecution bar the fact that he was going back to London for this retrial and discussed witness arrangements with them, including Brenda J Hollis, in my presence and sought their cooperation in the order in which witnesses were to be called. That cooperation was offered.
In fact, that offer would appear on the face of it to have been a sham and I say that for this reason: I can't at the moment give you a precise date but no doubt someone will check it for me, when I spoke yesterday of an occasion a couple of weeks ago on a Friday when I happened to bump into Mr Koumjian in the canteen I didn't give you the full history of that week. That week I had spoken to Ms Hollis on the Thursday at the end of court business and I asked her when they were proposing calling the witness 399. I know it was a Thursday late afternoon because I actually had to ask my learned friend opposite to remind me what day of the week it was and she said to me, "Wednesday or Thursday of next week at the earliest". That was when that witness was due. Mr Griffiths made arrangements as a result of my calling him that night.
The next morning, Friday, and I think it's now two weeks ago, if that assists with the date - the next morning - I should say on the Thursday night I believe that's the evening when we were then all hustled out of court in a hurry because a, what we were told, very important witness had to have his court familiarisation session. So the Prosecution even when they were telling me that they didn't think that witness was going to be reached until Wednesday or Thursday at the latest had him lined up outside the Courtroom and were clearly contemplating calling him on the Monday.
We then move to the Friday. At the end of the Court day on the Friday, or at some time anyway in the morning of the court day on the Friday, I spoke to Ms Baly and again I simply said to her, "I want to give Mr Griffiths an update. Is it still Wednesday or Thursday at the earliest?" Her reply, her opaque reply, was as follows: "Well, the next witness has been ill". The next witness was one whose name I'm not allowed to mention but whose number I can't off the top of my head remember, 362. That was all I was told. So I said to her, "What are you telling me? Are you saying she isn't well now?" And Ms Baly, who I have to say looked very embarrassed, simply said, "I'm just telling you she's been ill in the past".
Now that was all we knew until we left this Courtroom, and as I explained yesterday and I don't need to repeat, by pure chance several of us chose to go and eat in the canteen and by pure chance I bumped into Mr Koumjian who said to us, "We are likely to call 399 on Monday". Now I may be innocent and I may be naive but I do not believe for one moment now, in the light of everything that has transpired, that I was getting honest answers on the Thursday or the Friday morning from my colleagues opposite in court and I do not say that lightly and it's happened not once but it's now happened twice.
On that Friday we then contacted Mr Griffiths at - I gave you the time yesterday. I think from memory it was 4.33 p.m., but it was certainly late in the afternoon on the Friday. We then got an email from Leigh Lawrie, who seems to be used as the post mistress for these messages - an email from her saying that the Prosecution intended to call 399 on the Monday morning. Sorry, I think it might have been on the Tuesday. Whatever happened on the Friday, it was clear they were going to call this witness at the latest on the Tuesday morning and indeed Mr Griffiths came here on the Monday afternoon and we were in court ready for that witness on the Tuesday morning.
You then gave an oral decision on the application of I think 14 January by the Prosecution for special measures for that witness and also witnesses 532 and 388 to have special measures. The decision appears to have been given in writing on 26 February 2008. You made the decision known orally in court on that Tuesday morning.
Interestingly, the Prosecution intend to call 532 and 388 without special measures. So despite the fact that the Prosecution applied on 14 January in the same, at times I would suggest, histrionic terms of the need for special measures for all of these witnesses, the moment that the Court says you can't have those special measures two out of the three say, "All right, the security situation is not so terrible that I can't give evidence without them". So two of the three witnesses are going to give evidence without the need for special measures and panic such as has now been evinced. One of those, we understand, is available to give evidence on Monday. This is what we were told in an email last night and I'll tell you about that in a moment.
But in terms of the chronology we're still on the date of your oral decision. Mr Griffiths spoke that same day to Mr Koumjian who told him, "We are considering appealing the Trial Chamber's decision in relation to witness 399" and we heard no more about it. Mr Griffiths then stayed for a couple more days and then went back to London to resume the retrial.
During the course of this week it is perfectly obvious that a great deal of activity has gone on behind the scenes. We have been told absolutely nothing about this. The Court has been told, as far as I'm aware, nothing about the proposal to bounce this witness in again. No proper formal application in writing has been made. The idea that extraordinary measures for the witness's family security could have been put in place in just 24 hours is patent nonsense in our submission and it is perfectly obvious that the Prosecution have been planning this for some days.
They tell us yesterday afternoon at 28 minutes past two, when they know perfectly well that they've been planning this for some time, and they know perfectly well the difficult position that it puts Mr Griffiths in in terms of dealing with this witness. They also know perfectly well that from everything they've been communicating to us that the next witness that was going to be called was 532 and that is the basis on which we have all been working as professionals.
It ill behoves the Prosecution opposite to say to us that this is the most important trial in the world and yet one of their most important witnesses can be tossed over the course of a weekend to another member of the Bar. We are saying to you as experienced professionals who follow our domestic and indeed our international codes of ethics to the letter as well as in the spirit, that is not proper or appropriate for that witness to be passed over to somebody else. The Prosecution would not do it and we would not expect them to do it. We have cooperated from start to finish with the Prosecution in all that they have tried to do to adjust their witness arrangements and we have been treated with a very obvious, embarrassed in some cases, lack of transparency by members of the bar on the opposite side of this Court. It is quite wrong in our submission to attempt to juggle this witness in this way for the reasons that I've outlined.
Furthermore, it is extremely unlikely that that witness will be finished in the course of four and a half court days which is what we have next week. And for the benefit of anybody who might make any further proposal, extremely unlikely that witness will be finished in five court days. So that witness is bound to go beyond the Easter vacation.
And the idea that that witness's extraordinary security measures for his family cannot be put into place again at some point during the next court session is frankly absurd. You've had no details of these extraordinary measures. You've had no details of why they've suddenly been put in place. You've had no details of why they can't be put in place again and you know how long has been allocated for this trial.
It is a manipulation of the Court. It's a manipulation of the Defence and we invite the Court to say that the proper practices and procedures of the Court should be upheld and the witness list not be manipulated in this way. And furthermore that when the Prosecution are contemplating moves such as this they not give us embarrassed excuses, but have the guts and the professional strength to actually inform us in proper time of their planned changes in the witness order.