Nigella and the Grillo claims - the truth.

One would have thought that 'real' world news such as the death of Mandela would have managed to monopolise the media agenda but no, even amidst the global news stories the spectre of and questions over Nigella's alleged cocaine use continue to permeate the headlines. 

What is essentially a fraud trial at Isleworth Crown Court has been (as Mediabeak has previously commented on) hijacked and turned into a trial by media that sees a witness (Nigella) placed in the position of a defendant. The PR machinations (and, in this regard it appears that all parties are at it) are (as I have commented on) running amok with the legal process. 

While the respective parties may decide to ride a PR wave that skirts the boundaries of contempt laws, I shall not go there. To comment on my opinions over the defence in this case could put me in contempt of court. So I won't. To comment on what I think team Saatchi or Cupcake are up to (in relation to these proceedings) could do the same. So, while there is a great opportunity to analyse and state some of the obvious, that is one to reserve until after this case concludes.

What I can say and what this case does show is the danger and the difficulty in dealing with facts and surrounding evidence that are played out in public and create a dramatic tension both in and outside the courtroom - someone is lying but who - and, in relation to the actual proceedings, is that lie relevant.

What I can also say is that Saatchi was alleged to have been behind the suggestion that Nigella was a 'habitual drug user' but then went on to backtrack from that in court. Nigella has not denied using drugs. Her use of drugs, to the extent proven, is not at issue in this trial - which seems to have been forgotten. Today's evidence suggests such use as was evidenced in the 'household' was every three days - does that constitute 'habitual use'...that's one for the trial and jury so the contempt buzzer has been pressed.

What is emerging from the trial (subject to the substantive evidence to back this up) is that (a) the alleged sums of money (aside from by whom and with what authority - either direct, implied or inferred) were spent and (b) according to Grillo's testimony, various drugs and drugs related items were seen in the household and it was concluded (by Grillo) that based on this, drug use was taking place every third day.

While tempting to offer my analysis I better not. But what can be said is that according to the prosecution, the sums of money alleged were being spent were either spent or not (as a matter of fact). So with the fact of the spending not in doubt, the key question is about the entitlement to spend (or in agency law terms, bind agent to principal). Irrespective of what drug presence may (on a three day basis) have been observed, the case for the defence is that a desire to 'cover up' the alleged drug use led to an entitlement to spend.

Today also saw court time wasted over the defence's mitigation in terms of anyone having bothered to read the Spectator. The judge was at pains to diffuse the Cameron effect but to be fair to Cameron he was (though his advisors should have intervened) seemingly coming out with a natural response based on Nigella (as seen on TV as opposed to Nigella as appearing in court). If the Spectator was trying to lure him in to be aligned to and supportive of 'Team Cupcake' then it did a good job, otherwise the interview was all a bit too 'led'. The nub of Cameron's piece is that he did reference the court proceedings (so would have been aware proceedings were ongoing) and was also led (by the journalist) into a team cupcake endorsement which, not surprisingly, the Grillo defence pounced on.

As one says, the case continues.

1 comment:

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