My opinion is that aside from defence counsel, no one saw this storm of impeachment forthcoming: not the Crowns, not the police, not the complainants’ lawyers, and perhaps not even complainants themselves. I would hazard a guess that even the defence was surprised to the extent of which the storm kept coming.
This is not to say that the alleged victims did not know the evidence existed.
Rather, the odds of this evidence being discovered, retained, and presented so skillfully by a master of evidentiary sublimation was so far removed from reality that perhaps it was a risk each were willing to readily accept.
Or, perhaps I am wrong and their explanations will be found compelling by the presiding judge. Time will soon tell. Regardless, it need not to have gone the way of such devastation. These omissions need not to have had the explosive power they did.
If, for example, the alleged victims had told the police, (presumably) their own lawyers, or the Crown Attorneys. Then, these incalcuably important details that would form the basis for countless points of contention upon their veracity may have faltered.
As to be expected under cross-examination, explanations were offered as to why they appeared to be concocting evidence, colluding, holding back on salient details in police statements, amending statements, providing last minute disclosure, authoring provocative letters, and attempting to continue relationships with their attacker they now so throughly reviled.
Explanations can be offered, but that did not stop Ms. Henein from arguing soundly in the circumstances that these explanations are not worthy of belief.
As one commentator so succinctly put:
Henein didn’t take her eye of the soft underbelly of their narratives, each replete with towering inconsistencies, reversals, hastily retrieved memories, amended police statements, pungent fabrications, reluctant disclosures and grudging admissions adduced under cross.
Many believed that these explanations fell short of the overarching narrative they had each cast so intractably in the dye of their previous testimony and statements. As pointed out by Ms. Henein towards one example, it is not per se the after the fact behaviour and actions that impeaches their credibility – it is that the behaviour and actions contradicts their sworn evidence.