"It was Craig who stabbed my brother."



"While you were at the other end of the alley, trying to hail a taxi."



"Yes, that's right," said Beth.



"And when the police arrived, they found Cartwright's clothes were covered in blood, and the only fingerprints they could identify on the knife were your fiance's?"



"I have already explained how that happened," said Beth.



"Then perhaps you can also explain why, when the police interviewed Mr. Craig a few minutes later, there was not a single drop of blood on his spotless suit, shirt or tie."



"He would've had at least twenty minutes to run home and get changed," said Beth.



"Even thirty," added Redmayne.



"So you endorse the Superman theory, do you?" said Pearson.



"And he admitted he was in the alley," added Beth, ignoring the comment.



"Yes, he did, Miss Wilson, but only after he'd heard you scream, when he left his friends in the bar to find out if you were in any danger."



"No, he was already in the alley when Bernie was stabbed."



"But stabbed by whom?" asked Pearson.



"Craig, Craig, Craig!" shouted Beth. "How many times do I have to tell you?"



"Who managed to reach the alley in less than a minute? And then somehow found time to phone the police, return to the bar, ask his companions to leave, go home, change out of his blood-covered clothes, shower, return to the bar and still be sitting around waiting for the police to arrive? He was then able to give a coherent account of exactly what took place, one which every witness who was in the bar that night was later able to verify?"



"But they weren't telling the truth," said Beth.



"I see," said Pearson. "So all the other witnesses were willing to lie under oath."



"Yes, they were all protecting him."



"And you're not protecting your fiance?"



"No, I'm telling the truth."



"The truth as you see it," said Pearson, "because you didn't actually witness what took place."



"I didn't need to," said Beth, "because Bernie told me exactly what happened."



"Are you sure it was Bernie, and not Danny?"



"No, it was Bernie," she repeated.



"Just before he died?"



"Yes!" shouted Beth.



"How convenient," said Pearson.



"And once Danny is in the witness box, he'll confirm my story."



"After seeing each other every Sunday for the past six months, Miss Wilson, I have no doubt he will," said Pearson. "No more questions, m'lord."



CHAPTER ELEVEN



"WHAT DID YOU have for breakfast this morning?" said Alex.



"Not that hoary old chestnut," said his father, his voice booming down the phone.



"What's so funny?"



"I should have warned you. Pearson has only two openings when it comes to cross-examining a defense witness; as a young barrister he worked out that only the judge will have heard them before, but to any unsuspecting witness, not to mention a jury, they will always come as a complete surprise."



"And what's the other one?" asked Alex.



"What's the name of the street when you come out second on the left of your front door to go to work in the morning? Few witnesses manage to answer that one correctly, as I know to my cost. And I suspect that Pearson walks the streets around the defendant's home on the evening before he opens a cross-examination. I bet you'd find him prowling around the East End right now."



Alex sank back in his chair. "Well, you did warn me not to underestimate the man."



"Sir Matthew didn't reply immediately, when he did eventually speak, he raised a subject Alex hadn't even considered. "Are you going to put Cartwright in the witness box?"



"Of course," said Alex. "Why wouldn't I?"



"Because it's the one element of surprise you have left. Pearson will be expecting Cartwright to be in the witness box for the rest of the week, but if you were to close your case tomorrow morning without any warning, he'd be on the back foot. He's assuming that he'll be cross-examining Cartwright some time towards the end of the week, perhaps even next week, not to be asked to sum up for the prosecution first thing tomorrow."



"But if Cartwright doesn't give evidence, surely the jury will assume the worst."



"The law is quite clear on that point," replied Alex's father. "The judge will spell out that it is the prerogative of the defendant to decide if he wishes to enter the witness box, and that the jury should not jump to conclusions based on that decision."



"But they invariably do, as you've warned me so many times in the past."



"Perhaps, but one or two of the jury will have noticed that he wasn't able to read that article in the Bethnal Green and Bow Gazette and assume you've advised him not to face Pearson, especially after the grilling he gave his fiancee."



"Cartwright is every bit as bright as Pearson," said Alex. "He just isn't as well educated."



"But you mentioned that he has a short fuse."



"Only when someone attacks Beth."



"Then you can be sure that once Cartwright's in the witness box, Pearson will go on attacking Beth until he lights that fuse."



"But Cartwright doesn't have a criminal record, he's been in work since the day he left school, and he was about to get married to his long-term girlfriend who just happens to be pregnant."



"So now we know four subjects Pearson won't mention in cross-examination. But you can be sure he'll question Cartwright about the playground incident in his youth, continually reminding the jury that a knife was involved, and that his girlfriend conveniently came to his rescue."



"Well, if that's my only problem-" began Alex.



"It won't be, I can promise you," replied his father, "because now that Pearson has raised the knife fight in the playground with Beth Wilson, you can be pretty confident that he has one or two other surprises in store for Danny Cartwright."



"Like what?"



"I've no idea," said Sir Matthew, "but if you put him in the witness box, no doubt you'll find out." Alex frowned as he considered his father's words. "Something's worrying you," said the judge when Alex did not reply.



"Pearson knows that Beth's father told Cartwright he had changed his mind about appointing him as manager of the garage."



"And intended to offer the job to his son instead?"



"Yes," said Alex.



"Not helpful when it comes to motive."



"True, but perhaps I've also got one or two surprises for Pearson to worry about," said Alex.



"Such as?"



"Craig stabbed Danny in the leg, and he's got the scar to prove it."



"Pearson will say it's an old wound."



"But we have a doctor's report to show it isn't."



"Pearson will blame it on Bernie Wilson."



"So you are advising me not to put Cartwright in the box?"



"Not an easy question to answer, my boy, because I wasn't in court, so I don't know how the jury responded to Beth Wilson's testimony."