As a precaution, this article was removed after reference was made to it by the defence at the trial. I decided that although the judge took no action, I didn't want there to be be any possibility of a mistrial being caused by the blog, even though the jurors had been specifically enjoined not to look for details of the case on the Internet. It is now being restored in its original form.
For most of the day the victim fielded questions from Maestri's counsel, Pearce's counsel and the prosecution barrister. The defence lawyers attempted to undermine his credibility and pick holes in his story. The victim presented himself well and remained calm throughout in spite of the way he was treated by the defence.
It was again suggested that the victim was simply after money and that he was on the "compensation wagon". He replied that he was not, and that if he had wanted money he would have taken his case to a civil court and not a criminal court.
The defence pointed out that since leaving the School, the victim had attended a funeral at the Abbey and a party at the School for a history master who was retiring. It was suggested that someone who had experienced abuse at the School would not have returned for these events. The victim said that the funeral was that of a friend and that he had a high opinion of the retiring history master.
A great deal of attention was paid to the rooms in which the abuse took place and the victim was asked to describe them in detail. In his original statement he had told police that the playground was visible from one of the rooms. In court one of the defence lawyers asked him if the playing fields could be seen from the window. The victim pointed out that the playing fields were in Perivale, about one and a half miles away.
Pearce's lawyer made great attempts to stampede the victim into giving specific dates for the abuse. It was claimed that Pearce had moved office at some point and the lawyer's strategy was clearly to try to get the victim to specify the wrong room. He went too far in his attempts and at this point the judge put him in his place very firmly.
Pearce's lawyer pointed out that the victim was fourteen when some of the abuse took place and asked, "why didn't you stand up for yourself?" He said that the victim claimed to have been abused by Pearce seven or eight times and found it strange that he returned to his office if he knew what was going to do be done to him. The victim talked about the controlling culture of the School and explained that in those days the boys were trained to be obedient to authority. He said that the abuse had petered out when Pearce lost interest in him and presumably turned his attention elsewhere.
Some of the issues raised on day two of the trial were revisited. There was further discussion of the interview with Fr Anthony Gee, and of this blog.
An email which the victim had sent to a friend was read in court, in it he described the abuse that he had been subjected to.
One of the defence lawyers asked if it was true that he had been in trouble with the police as the result of a fight with another boy on a bus while he was a pupil at the School. The victim admitted that it was true, said that he wasn't proud of it, that he had had to pay for damage to the other boy's clothes and that his own father had been very angry with him.
The next witness to be called was DC Christine Hobson who had carried out the recorded interview of the victim, which was shown to the jury on day two of the trial. She was asked about the interview and in particular she was questioned as to why it was so short (about one hour) and why the victim made claims in later statements that he did not make at the time. She said that this was the way that things were usually done, that it was an initial interview and that the victim could not be expected to remember everything. The purpose of the interview was to establish an outline of the allegations any to determine lines of questioning for later interviews.
The case resumes at 10.15 a.m. on Tuesday.