In Language, before the winter holidays, we started working, in groups, on the criminal story by Jeffrey Archer of ‘An Eye for an Eye’. We had to develope some questions as regards vocabulary and a role-play between Sir Mathew and Mrs. Banks, and later, write a diary entry independently. I did it along with Trinidad Porretti and Abril Terán Frías. This is our asignment:
1- Plea of not Guilty: A defendant’s answer to the declaration made by the plaintiff in a civil action (H)
2- Manslaughter: The unlawful killing of one human being by another without express or implied intent to do injury (J)
3- Plaintiff: A lawyer or group of lawyers giving legal advice and
especially conducting a case in court (B)
4- Counsel: The party that institutes a suit in a court (I)
5- Barrister: It refers principally to a British trial lawyer (F)
6- Instructing Solicitor: An attorney who is not a member of the bar and who may be heard only in the lower courts (G)
7- Chambers: A suite of rooms, especially one used by lawyers to
consult privately with attorneys or hear cases not taken into court (D)
8- Motive: An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action (C)
9- Evidence: The documentary or oral statements and the material
objects admissible as testimony in a court of law (E)
10- Proof: The result or effect of evidence; the establishment or denial of a fact by evidence (A)
Exercise 2: Role-Play
Sir Matthew Roberts: Hello Mrs. Banks. I will be pretending to be a counsel for the prosecution and I will ask you a few questions about the crime so that you can be prepared for what the witness box will be like. Are you ready?
Mrs. Banks: Hello Sir Matthew. I am ready indeed because, as I have told you before, I am telling the whole truth. You can proceed.
Sir Matthew Roberts: We will begin with a very simple and obvious question because it’s part of the procedure. Have you killed your husband, Bruce Banks?
Mrs. Banks: No, I have not. As I have said countless times, I am blind and powerless, so there isn’t any possible way in which I could have chopped him with an axe, or either carried his corpse and buried it, because I don’t see or have enough strength to do that.
Sir Matthew Roberts: And why is it then that the police has found your hairs in the handle of the axe?
Mrs. Banks: I use that axe daily to do farm chores and I used to carry it over to where Bruce was for him to use it.
Sir Matthew Roberts: If you can explain that, you should also be able to explain this, why was your blood all over Bruce´s shirt?
Mrs. Banks: You will find my blood over many things in that house. Bruce mistreated me and harmed me, my blood is spilled in places of the house you would not imagine, and it isn’t strange that his shirt was one of those.
Sir Matthew Roberts: You will have to work on that answer because it isn’t very convincing. Besides, if that’s your answer, they will search your house to find proof if that is true.
Mrs. Banks: Then I would be glad to welcome them. You can continue.
Sir Matthew Roberts: What I do find really strange is the fact that you have purchased strychnine, a substance which was found in Mr. Banks blood after his death by pathologists, shortly after he was murdered. How can you disclose that?
Mrs. Banks: I live in a farm, is it strange for there to be rats in a farm? Our barn is full of rats and strychnine is efficient and never fails to kill them all. Bruce had told me to buy it a few days ago and when I didn’t do what he said, he would get really angry at me and sometimes he would even hit me. Of course, I wouldn’t risk on taking the chances of being harmed by him.
Sir Matthew Roberts: Fair enough. Still, why would you buy such a large amount of this poisonous substance and drive such a long distance to reading in order to buy it?
Mrs. Banks: I drive to Reading and buy stuff there regularly. Plus, there aren’t any local suppliers who sell it here. As regards the large amount, many of our chickens were being killed by rats, and we couldn’t afford to lose more of them. Therefore, we figured that using a large amount of it would fix the problem once and for all.
Sir Matthew Roberts: Well, this will be my last question and then we will have a little break. Which is your alibi? Regardless the fact of your supposed blindness and weakness.
Mrs. Banks: You still do not believe me when I say I’m blind?
Sir Matthew Roberts: My opinion does not matter now. We are here to talk about you. Answer the question please.
Mrs. Banks: I was at a hospital which is five miles away when he was murdered. You can check with the hospital record whenever you want.
Sir Matthew Roberts: The time of the murder is uncertain to the forensic doctors. The time of death might not meet the time when the corpse was found. Nevertheless, we will work on that answer when we get back from the break. I will see you in fifteen minutes here.
Mrs. Banks: Here I will be.
A D A M A N T
B L I N D
W I T N E S S S T A N D
F R Y I N G P A N
D O L E
F O R E N S I C S C I E N T I S T
S O C K E T
P R O S E C U T O R S C I E N T I S T
A C Q U I T T A L
M A N S L A U G H T E R
B R I E F
S T R Y C H N I N E
A X E
1. Impervious to pleas, appeals, or reason; stubbornly unyielding
2. A stand or an enclosed area in a courtroom from which a witness presents testimony
3. A shallow, long-handled pan used for frying food
4. The distribution by the government of relief payments to the unemployed; welfare
5. The scientist that interprets or establishes the medical facts in civil or criminal law cases
6. A hollow or concavity into which a part, such as the eye, fits
7. One that initiates and carries out a legal action, especially criminal proceedings
8. Judgment, as by a jury or judge, that a defendant is not guilty of a crime as charged
9. The unlawful killing of one human being by another without express or implied intent to do injury
10. To give concise preparatory instructions, information, or advice to
11. White crystalline alkaloid substance used as a poison for rodents and other pests
12. A tool with a bladed, usually heavy head mounted crosswise on a handle, used for felling trees or chopping wood
1. The forensic scientist found a piece of glass into the body found in the crime scene after analyzing it.
2. The last case was considered a manslaughter when it was discovered the woman was aiming to treat a plant with the drug.
3. The man had already been executed when the case was considered, finally, an acquittal.
4. The woman was strolling along the gangway when her glass eye popped out of its socket.
5. The man looked to and fro to confirm nobody was watching before he entered the witness stand.
6. This case had been discussed in chambers before it was taken into court.
7. The woman stood up and went to his seat after finishing his plea of not guilty.
8. I heard the barrister talking in the British Parliament, yesterday, on TV.
9. The judge hit the wood hammer against the table after the man finished explaining the evidence.
10. As soon as the counsel entered the court the case judgment started.
Exercise 4: Diary Entry
Write a diary entry from Mary Banks as if you had just returned to your prison cell after your interview with Sir Matthew. Narrate the events that took place from your perspective. Include your feelings, impressions and future prospects.
Lately has been a very hard and stressful time, hiding a very serious secret. My husband, Bruce Banks, was murdered one night three days ago and allegedly by me. However, at that time a was supposedly on hospital due to an incident that caused my sightless problem. Since my defence solicitors Sir Mathew Roberts QC and Bernard Casson wanted me to get used to being into the witness box, they decided to interrogate me as if they were the counsels for the prosecution. And I’ve just come from my interview.
I was already overwhelmed with my nervous thinking, when a man opened my cell door and guided me to a table in the middle of a different and shady room, and later I saw the attorney, Sir Mathew, for the first time, Mr. Casson and another man who I didn’t know, entering the interviewing room of Holloway Prison. Although I was greeted by both men, I tried cautiously not to divert my eyes from Mr. Casson’s direction. Afterwards, I was asked and stated some questions and evidence at which I attentive and conscientiously responded as regards my alibi, and always, suppressing my fearfulness with a calm mood.
I was answering a query, when suddenly Sir Mathew accidentally, or on purpose, made the cup hit and shatter on stone floor, which created a clattering noise, but I was resistantly not looking at. Some time had gone on when my little baby, Rupert, entered the room, grinned at me and reserving my temptation of crying and hug him as hard as I could, I prevailed unmoved.
Subsequently, occurred the most terrifying episode that I have witnessed in my whole life, at which, particularly, I couldn’t react. While Sir Mathew and Mr. Casson asked me questions as the barristers of the prosecution, there was the third and unknown man sitting silently in the middle of the two. Nevertheless, at a last instance, the man put gentle his right hand over his left eye and, still quietly, extracted it out of its socket and placed it on a small silk panel on the table, then, to start polishing it. At that moment, I was almost succeeding until my distress began to pop out from every pore of my forehead. It was not enough to perspire but to turn away when the man eased the eye right back into its socket, staring at me.
Finally, my plan and plea of not guilty failed. Nevertheless, Sir Mathew and the crew stated that the plea of guilty might be reduced to manslaughter and even into an acquittal if the jury was packed with women, due to the unfortunate eleven years of my marriage that I was subjected.
Hoping good luck,
Mrs. Mary Banks