Sometimes I am not bright at all

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.


12 thoughts on “Sometimes I am not bright at all

  1. It's the bane of modern working life that some idiot can telephone you while you are working on B to put to you something about A.
    Of course it's difficult to switch, to clear your mind.

    I was lucky not to have had those distractions….but if I had, the bod on the other end of the line would not have to go to the doctor to clean out their ears as the volume of the invective arising from being interrupted would have done a first class job.

    But I've always been a curmudgeon.

    I suspect you are a far nicer person!

  2. Nice but dim, Fly.
    I am so cross with myself.
    I know the guilty verdict is – and always was- a certainty. But I have weakened the appeal with my stupidity.
    Identification of the 'weapon' would help my client of course. But all the same risks apply – a witness who has motive to lie isn't likely to tell the truth just because they are asked to identify the thing we want them to identify. Though the innocent bystander has no ax to grind – so may come up with the goods pro my client.
    Thing is – if I had refused then the AO would have decided based on a jaundice which my refusal would have increased. It was catch 22 – or that is what was going through my mind. I think.
    And the Burchell test – well – what's reasonable in a hearing is different from what would be reasonable in an ET.
    I'm not making myself feel any better…

  3. Don't be so hard on yourself ma'am…at least you've got company. Some tasks, some weeks, inexplicably, go that way.

    Even what, at first, seemed like clever solutions have blown up in my face this weekend. On top of all that I'm gonna have to explain why I spent ten dollars on an ice cream sandwich at the end of the month.

    Keep gettin' after it. It'll all shake out.

  4. Rubbish! Not dim at all, just taken aback.

    You'll pick it up and sort it out…we all do.

    Difficult to cope when the 'tribunal' is a lynch mob.

    I didn't have to cope with this stuff…I had judges, thank goodness!

    Chin up and a chinfull of Highland Park down….

  5. My dear, you wouldn't be human if you didn't occasionally make a decision that you regretted in retrospect, and this wasn't even a straightforward decision, as you yourself concede. Furthermore, a lesser person (or at least one with an oversized ego and an arrogance overload) would fail to own up to mistakes or learn from them. I am quite sure you're a rockstar lawyer, not least of all because you don't quite believe it yourself 🙂

  6. Thanks Katriina. I managed to rescue most of it today – and in retrospect I think I probably have a stronger appeal basis than if nothing had happened at all. Ironic! I just have to keep my eye on the ball – though it's good to know I still have lots to learn (isn't it horrible if you think you know it all!). Yx

  7. Hahaha – an ice cream sandwich- clearly essential!
    But I did get after it today – and rescued the most of it. Plus I am certain I now have stronger grounds for appeal than if nothing had happened at all.
    I've beat myself up e.f. – but have learned a lot and that's 'a good thing'.
    You're right though – sometimes it's been the things I have been so sure I've shone at that go up like a rocket in my hand.
    Hope the move is settling into 'this feels like home'…

  8. A great insight into your working world Yvonne. I agree with Divorced Lady that this makes compelling drama.
    One day you have to write a novel based on your working life.

    In the meantime I have found that I always learned most when I made mistakes. Galling at the time but always revelatory!

  9. Haha! I think I am the brainless one!
    But it really did swing my way – dramatically – today, when the Adjudicator called to say she wouldn't after all be re-opening the hearing (consequence of the fresh tactic I employed). Suits me just fine! And my appeal aganst the inevitable Kangaroo court result is now strengthened!
    It's all boring stuff really. Honest. And my career in court and before tribunals is a story of mild competence interspersed with occasional incompetence (mine). It was all child protection before this – abuse cases and sometimes harrowing evidence and photographs and expert witnesses. This stuff I do now – and get a bigger wage for! – is so much more straightforward.

  10. Thanks Chloe. In truth there ain't nowt interesting about it really. Though I do enjoy it – the adversarial stuff is just great fun sometimes.

    I make mistakes all the time… so life is just one big learning opportunity! Yx

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