I spent a couple of days last week in Inverness. Work. A Disciplinary Hearing.
I had an overnight to prepare what – in reality – wasn’t a hugely complex case. A normal ‘did he?/didn’t he?’ type of thing that involves me highlighting an alternative narrative and muddying the waters.
I encountered the usual HR/Management mis-management. Incompetent handling highlighting all the usual ‘natural justice’ issues which press my buttons.
The managers involved were rookies. Virgins of the Disciplinary Hearing process. Most likely they had never been trained to do what they were being asked to do. And the HR wallah wasn’t helping them.
In lay person fashion they also didn’t have a clue about evidence or what my own defense role is or what their own role is or what it is legitimate for them/me to do/say.
This is frustrating and I am increasingly blunt. I tell them what their role is; explain that what I am saying is not my opinion but that it is my client’s case; point out the erroneousness of their belief that they can change the narrated offence mid-hearing…
I left the hearing knowing that I had put in a solidly good performance. That I had rattled them. Got one of them angry. And begun building enough of a case to appeal the inevitable ‘guilty’ verdict.
I drove home feeling a bit too happy with myself. Feeling it had gone well. Patting myself on the back. Good smart oh so clever clogs me.
Here’s the rub.
A call from the Adjudicating Officer on Tuesday during a conference I was attending found me making my first mistake. And I now cannot believe I did this.
I agreed to let them test evidence – evidence which they had always had (from my client) and which they had omitted to test prior to or during the Hearing.
I should not have done this. I made the decision too quickly – and I made it despite being absolutely full of qualms.
I did request that I be present during the testing of this evidence – and this was agreed to. And I did reason that negative inference would be drawn, in any event, from my objection to their proposal – along the lines of ‘what’s she got to hide? what’s she got to fear from testing of this evidence if this is true?
I’ve acted on the advice of a pal and will now open up another approach that I really didn’t want to have to go near.
But it wasn’t a smart move on my part.
I have a way to go before I am good at this.