Taylor trial under spotlight

25 August 2010 by Thijs Bouwknegt & Hermione Gee

For more than a year Charles Taylor’s trial has taken place in relative obscurity. But since fashion model Naomi Campbell and actress Mia Farrow were asked to give evidence about a diamond Mr Taylor was alleged to have given to Campbell that has all changed. The IJT asked lead defense counsel for Mr Taylor, Courtenay Griffiths, about the challenges of conducting such a case under the spotlight.

How do you prepare for cross- examination?

First, you put together as much material as  possible  that  you  have on a witness. Then you consider in which order you’re going to deal with the various issues. With the three witnesses called by the prosecution in rebuttal, we anticipated that Naomi Campbell would not come and say that she received them from Charles Taylor. But we knew that the other two witnesses would. So the strategy with Campbell was to use her to do as much damage to the other two, which is why I spent much of my time with Naomi Campbell putting to her the statement made by Carole White, so that by the time Carole White and Mia Farrow appeared there were already question marks about their accounts.

How is Mr Taylor holding up?

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