A valuable reminder from the Michael Lynn €27m theft trial about cross-examination

I am keeping an eye on the media reports about the Michael Lynn trial in the criminal courts going on at the moment.

Lynn is a former solicitor, now struck off, who is accused of the theft of approximately €27 million from various banks. He was heavily involved in property development and investment at the height of the Celtic Tiger property boom in Ireland.

His wife gave evidence in his defence yesterday and the senior counsel acting for Lynn took her through her life with Lynn, children, family, health, living in Brazil, and so on.

But when her evidence was finished, and she was available for cross examination from senior counsel for the prosecution he declined to question her.

This reminded me of a piece of advice in a book I read recently, “Devils Advocate”. In that book the Queens’ Counsel who wrote it advised not to cross examine unless you really needed to. (Read my blog post about the cross-examination lessons I gleaned from that book).

And that is the tack taken by senior counsel for the State, Patrick McGrath SC, regarding cross examination of Mrs Lynn.

A less experienced legal professional, or lay litigant in a forum like the WRC, would not have resisted the temptation to question Mrs Lynn.

There is a sound lesson here for anyone trying to run their own case at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

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