THE ADVOCATE 115
VOL. 78 PART 1 JANUARY 2020
By R.C. Tino Bella*
Cross-Examination: Science and Techniques (Third Edition), by Larry
Pozner and Roger J. Dodd. LexisNexis, 2018. 707 pages (hardcover), $310.
Reviewed by Dale Robert Pedersen1
The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbour comes and examines him.
Proverbs 18:17 King James Bible
Marcus Aurelius wrote of the curious tendency of people to love themselves
above all others. Yet he observed that people often value others’ opinions
over their own opinion. It seems an instinctive character trait in almost all
of us is to be our harshest critics, so as to guide our own behaviour in society
and maybe avoid the negative opinions of others. The cross each person
bears in our modern society is not torture, but the stigma of public condemnation.
This revelation of Marcus Aurelius also speaks to the power of ideas,
clothed in words. This power is particularly pronounced in the courtroom.
For instance, a criminal conviction is merely a firm conviction on the part
of the trier of fact that the accused is guilty. The word “debt” historically
refers to guilt, a throwback to the days when we had debtors’ jail. It is
accepted that words may be powerful conveyors of the truth or equally
work to distort that truth.
Cross-examination has long been considered the greatest engine for
exposing the truth in our judicial system. But a common complaint among
counsel is the perplexing difficulty in adopting a practical method of
preparing and delivering effective cross-examinations. A comprehensive