Evidence feud over 'Perry Mason' tactics
Published: 20 Feb 2009 11:19 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Feb 2009 11:19 GMT+01:00
The Pirate Bay trial was interrupted on Friday morning as lawyers quarreled over admissible evidence, prompting a defence attorney to liken the proceedings to an episode of the classic US legal drama Perry Mason.
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Peter Danowsky, attorney for the recording industry association IFPI, questioned Peter Sunde, one of the four men charged in the case, and wanted to know Sunde’s views on an article published on the Swedish online magazine Realtid.se.
He then brought a copy of the article to Sunde, who sat on the witness stand, prompting an outburst from defence attorneys.
“This is starting to become an American trial where you toss in new evidence after the fact,” said Peter Althin, who represents Sunde.
Per E. Samuelson, attorney for Carl Lundström, also voiced his disapproval with the move.
“All the documents you’re hiding need to be put on the table,” he said.
The attorneys representing The Pirate Bay defendants also demanded that no new documents be introduced without the defence team being given access to them first.
The head of the court decided to call for a special deliberation to determine the court’s stance on the matter.
After the break, the court ruled in favour of the defence, meaning that all evidence which as cited in court must be handed over before questioning the accused.
“If you have documents which you eventually plan to use, you need to hand them over now,” the chief judge told Danowsky.
Danowsky proceeded to hand over eight documents to the court, most of them newspaper clippings, but also several blog citations, including some from Sunde’s own blog.
Afterwards, the court adjourned again so the documents could be photocopied.
“Proceeding in this manner is surprising, to say the least,” said Althin, who likened the trial to en episode of Perry Mason.
“Suddenly, the door opens and in walks an entirely new witness,” he said.
Danowsky refused to elaborate on his feelings about having the court compel him to share the evidence with the defence.
“I have no assessment of the court’s decision,” he told TT.