Douglas: Something happened to me last week in the course of this trial that had never happened before. I had to call a recess that went on for more than an hour while I tried to recover myself in my chambers and in the gentlemen’s toilet, and I couldn’t conduct the trial because it was just beginning to overwhelm me, my rage, and I am worried I am going to lose my judgeship actually.
Susie: Do you know what – can you remember what exactly happened before you called the recess? Douglas Yes. Susie What was going on in the trial?
Douglas: This man’s counsel has called what I laughingly call a character witness, and he was cross-examining him on the stand. I found the machinations of the defence counsel completely intolerable, the excuses, the mitigations, the excuses for this low-level, violent bully and this character witness who, as it turned out, hadn’t actually met or seen the man whose character he was testifying for, for a matter of twelve, thirteen, fourteen years, um, and I stopped the – I actually lost my temper in court and shouted at the defence counsel. I abused the witness verbally and I, as it were, saw a red mist descending and I just had to leave, because the thing is, this defence counsel, he is a very clever, very sly man. He knows me from other cases and he will, if he can, call for a retrial if I lose myself in that way again, and I am fearful that I will. He has told his client that he might get away with a suspended sentence.
Well, he is going to find that he might end up with a life sentence and I am just worried that if it is appealed, which it will be, I might…
Susie: Because of your anger.
Douglas: Because of my anger and because of certain other instances in the courtroom where the defence counsel could make a case that the judge is unbalanced.
Susie: Douglas, could you tell me what the defence’s argument is briefly?
Douglas: About his client?
Susie: Yes, about their client.
Douglas: He is saying that he is not really violent, that the instance of violence for which he is on trial was an aberration, that he had a difficult upbringing, that he is a family man with children who would be deprived of their father if he was in prison, that he actually – and this is the one that really got to me – he actually put him forward as caring for the girls that he is trafficking and being a protector father figure if you will. And I mean, the thing is, I really want to kill this man.
Susie: So beyond the ethics or the politics, which I can empathise with, is there anything else that might be leading you to want to kill him? Is there something in his story that resonates at another level?