Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The expert witness, or God’s locum

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 11 March 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1384
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    I once asked a Dutch professor of law who had experience of the English system whether she thought the inquisitorial or adversarial system was better from the point of procuring justice. She said she thought they were about the same but that the English system was vastly more fun for lawyers.

    It is true that a good cross examination can be a thing of beauty, one example of which occurred during the trial in 1925 of Norman Thorne for murder. (The classic account of this trial is in The Trial of Norman Thorne (1929) by Helena Normanton, who was the first woman to practise as a barrister in the United Kingdom.)

    Norman Thorne was a 24 year old man who ran …

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