The jury were told that they would be shown a video of the victim telling police officers about the offences that Pearce and Maestri had allegedly committed against him. They were told that the victim would be appearing in court in person but would be shielded by partitioning.
The video equipment and the partitioning were set up and then the prosecution outlined the allegations that the victim would be making in the video.
The jury watched the video (it lasted for about an hour), after which Maestri's barrister was given the opportunity to question the victim.
Unsurprisingly he tried to find daylight in the evidence provided. Days, dates, differences in what was said. “Did you have friends at school?’ ‘Why did you not confide in them about the abuse?’. There were detailed questions about precisely when the abuse happened, the barrister seemed keen to get the victim to commit to certain months, but it was clear the victim could not remember specific dates.
Maestri's barrister asked whether the victim was motivated by a desire for financial compensation. The victim replied that although he was aware that others had been awarded compensation, he was not looking for money.
The barrister asked for details about the beatings that Maestri had given the victim:
- How many times had he been beaten?
- What clothing had he had to remove?
- Was the door locked?
- What was he beaten with?
- What was the temperature in the room?
- Was there central heating?
- Was anyone else present in the room?
There were questions about the tea parties to which the victim and other boys were invited by Maestri. It seems that on these occasions the victim and Maestri were never alone together.
The barrister noted that the victim now made a living as a lifestyle counsellor and asked him if he had ever studied psychology. The victim said that he had.
Repeated mention was made of this blog, emails to me, and the report of the Times in April 2010.
The victim said that in spite of achieving good O-level results he decided not to go into St. Benedict's sixth form. His form master was surprised that such a capable pupil didn't want to stay at the school and sent him to see Father Anthony Gee (the headmaster). When Father Anthony asked him why he was leaving, he told him about Pearce and Maestri. Father Anthony became very angry and said that his stories were untrue and malicious. He threatened to blacken the names of the boy's father and grandfather if he repeated his allegations. The interview had ended with the victim and the headmaster shouting at each other.
The victim said that he was very fond of his father and grandfather and so he never told them anything about it. His grandfather is now dead.
The case resumes at 10.15 on Friday.