You the jury lady wyatt accused of shop-lifting

Ex. 50 Lady Wyatt, a wealthy woman well-known in her neighbourhood, stands accused of shop-lifting, as the store detective of the Hall’s has seen her take a scarf from the store without paying.

A Read the statements given by Lady Wyatt and the store detective to the police.

Lady Wyatt: On Wednesday morning I went to Hall's Department Store to do some shopping and to meet a friend for lunch. In the Ladies' Fashion Department I bought a belt and a bag and paid for them. As I was waiting for the lift to go up to the Rooftop Coffee Lounge, I saw a silk scarf that I liked. I tried it on and decided to buy it. I looked around for an assistant to pay but couldn't see anybody. The lift came and as I was late for my appointment, I put the scarf with my other purchases, intending to pay for it later on my way out. Unfortunately, I forgot to pay and was stopped at the door by the store detective who asked me to go to the manager's office where I was accused of having stolen the scarf. It's quite ridiculous. I simply forgot to pay.

Sstore detective: I was on duty on the second floor when I observed Lady Wyatt trying on a scarf. She looked at herself in the mirror, looked round several times and then put the scarf in her bag. She then went up in the lift to the top floor cafe where she met a man. I kept up my observation and when they left together, I followed them to the door. She had made no attempt to pay so I stopped her and asked her to accompany me to the manager's office. She became abusive and refused to go with me until a policeman arrived on the scene.

B Read the reports on the evidence given by four people.


David Wilton said that he was an old friend of lady Wyatt and that he had been the Wyatt family’s accountant for fourteen years. He had arranged to meet Lady Wyatt for lunch at 12 o’clock to discuss some family business. He said that he had not noticed anything unusual about lady Wyatt’s behaviour except that twice during the lunch she had taken a pill. He added that he did not know what the pill was for and had not asked. He stated that he was astonished that anyone could think that Lady Wyatt might steal as she was a very wealthy woman who could afford to buy anything she wanted.


The store manager said that he did not know lady Wyatt as a regular customer because he had only been in his present job for two weeks. He said that the store lost hundreds of pounds worth of goods every week which was why he had appointed a store detective in whom he had the greatest confidence. He added that it was not only the poorer members of the community who resorted to shop-lifting.


Soames, the Wyatt family doctor, stated that he had been prescribing pills for Lady Wyatt for some time. She had been suffering from regular bouts of depression. He said that a side-effect of the pill could cause erratic or unusual behaviour though he knew of no case where moral judgement had been affected.


The shop assistant said that she had worked at Hall’s for seven years and knew Lady Wyatt as a regular customer. On Wednesday morning Lady Wyatt had bought a belt and a handbag and had paid by cheque. She said that Lady Wyatt behaved quite normally. She said that she hadn’t seen Lady Wyatt trying on the scarf as the scarf counter was on the opposite side of the store. She added that there had been two assistants on duty that morning and that neither of them had left the department.

C Now listen to Lady Wyatt being cross-examined, first by the Prosecution, and then by the Defence. Answer these questions.

Prosecution's cross-examination

What did she say she had intended to do?

Why hadn't she done it?

Why didn't she spend more time looking for an assistant?

Is she usually punctual?

How long had she been taking the pills?

Had she ever suffered from loss of memory?

Had she ever stolen anything?

Defence's cross-examination

How wealthy is she?

Does she need to work?

Is she a regular customer?

How much does she spend there a year?

What would she have done if she hadn't been caught?

D Listen again to the cross-examination. Write a report similar to the four above.

E Read through the four reports again. Role-play Prosecution, Defence and Witness. Try to recreate the situation as each of the four gave evidence and were cross-examined.