Legal drama. Barrister Sol Ridley gets his first murder case, defending a man who helped his terminally-ill partner end her life. The trial begins, and Tony takes drastic action.
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HEART MONITOR FLATLINES
'Mr Powell, I'm arresting you on suspicion
'of the murder of Saskia Stanley.'
You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned
something you later rely on in court.
Anything you do say will be taken down and used in evidence.
-Morning, Mr Ridley.
-You heard it was coming?
-Gordon. I'm eternally grateful, I really am.
I know you pulled a lot of strings for this.
Nonsense, it's entirely deserved. Any thoughts on your junior?
-Yeah, I think Julie can cope.
You've just landed your first murder. She's a pupil. And a very inexperienced one at that.
Well, she's good. And she learns quickly. I think she's ready.
Can you look through these and find every divorce settlement
of over £5 million from the last 10 years?
I'm doing work on three different trials for three different people already. I'm sorry.
I know it sounded like a question, but I'm not asking you, Julie.
Well, you won't be getting them any time soon, I'm afraid.
It will if you prioritise it.
-Your pupillage is up soon, isn't it?
-Vote's not far away.
-I knew I could rely on you.
-If I could have that by morning.
-Of course, Valerie.
"If I could have them by the morning"(!)
Oi! What's up with you?!
-I just pulled a cracker, Jules - Murder.
-That's your first, right?
You can't really say that, somebody died, but you can say,
"Mr Ridley you've got work to do, how about I make you a cup of tea."
-You can make your own cup of tea!
-That's my girl.
Eh, less of the "girl"! I'll have you done for sexual harassment.
Well, it would be a shame.
I was rather hoping you'd be my junior on the case.
-Are you having a laugh?
-Why would I be?
Seriously? Thank you!
Seriously, thank you so much. Oh, my God!
This is going to put you under a lot of scrutiny.
Oh, I don't care about that. I really want this. Bring it on.
-All right, Tony, how're you feeling?
-How we doing?
The pick-up's finished. The Mini's just waiting for that pump.
-What about the MOT?
No doubt the copper's been spreading my name like muck around town.
-I'd stop worrying about what he thinks.
-Neil Stanley's the reason I'm in this mess.
-Well, I can see why he'd be upset.
I'm not saying you shouldn't have done what you did.
But they're going to be angry. They might jump to conclusions.
-Have you forgotten what I'm accused of here?
-Not for a moment, mate.
I know you loved her.
I really miss her.
Way out of your league.
-I think we'll let her decide that.
-I think I've a got a puncture.
-You couldn't squeeze me in, could you?
We'll see what we can do.
Nearly there, Mrs Stanley.
-That's it done.
-That was quick. What do I owe you?
How about dinner?
OK. The basics.
Saskia Stanley divorces her husband, Neil, a copper.
She finds love with a garage mechanic, one Tony Powell.
The family hate him, the relationship falls apart
until she finds out she has terminal bone cancer.
-Tony nurses her until her dying day.
-Good. The basis of the murder charge?
Well, Tony claims that Saskia wanted to end her life,
he assisted her, whereas the family argue that he murdered her
-in order to get his hands on her will.
First thing I want to know when I look at Tony Powell is will a jury believe him?
See if he'll look me in the eye, especially when the questions get tricky.
I don't always look people in the eye, doesn't mean I'm a murderer.
No, but it will make you a poor barrister. You need to get over that sharpish.
See. It's not that hard, is it?
Dad, when did you say you were being called into court?
I've been called for tomorrow,
I expect you guys will be contacted any day now.
-I got my letter from the CPS today.
There's nothing to worry about. You stand up there, you tell the truth.
-I haven't had a letter.
-Well, it must be on its way.
-I rang to check.
-I'm not being called as a witness.
-Why the hell not?
I imagine we'll all end up saying the same thing anyway.
You've got to give evidence! I'll look into that.
Right, I'm off to work, bye.
I don't think you should stand up in court if you don't want to.
Of course I want to! I want to see him rot in hell!
What if Dad's wrong?
-What if Tony did what Mum wanted?
-She would have told us.
But what if she didn't want to?
Now, Mr Powell, I need to ask you some fairly difficult questions.
-I hope you understand that it's... It's nothing personal.
OK, why do you think that your late partner's family would consider
you capable of her murder?
-Because her ex...
-Err, Neil Stanley, is it?
-Yeah. The copper.
Cos he thinks I'm the devil incarnate for nicking his missus.
I wouldn't be sat here accused of anything
if he hadn't pinched that bloody videotape.
He knows I'm innocent. He just wants to see me get sent down.
Yeah, I understand that you claim to have videoed Mrs Stanley
-explaining her decision to take her own life. Is that right?
-Yeah. It was her idea.
And why would she want to do that rather than talk to her family?
Because they didn't like the idea of her taking her own life.
They were disgusted when she raised it.
-I don't know if you're familiar with bone cancer?
-No, not really.
-Well, she was in unbearable pain.
-Though the family dispute that.
The family dispute everything,
cos they hate the fact that I was closer to her than they were.
Our problem, Mr Powell, is that that videotape has never been found.
Now, we don't know why that is. But I can tell you that
if you stand up in court and throw unsubstantiated accusations
at a police officer, it won't play well.
I don't care! That's what happened. He stole the tape.
I know this is, erm, this is daunting, Mr Powell.
But we are here to defend you. We are on your side.
OK, now, is there anything that you haven't mentioned
that I need to know? Anything at all?
-Anything, Mr Powell, I can do without surprises.
-Better here than in the courtroom.
-You've got everything.
You need to get me out of this.
-So what will the prosecution throw at us?
-They've got some pretty strong cards.
He didn't mention the videotape until after he was arrested.
They've got a graphologist lined up to prove the goodbye note was faked.
And there's a motive - he got the lion's share of the will.
So we need to undermine some key prosecution witnesses if we're to win this.
-I want you to go through every single witness statement, every assertion, every piece of evidence.
-Mark Metzler. Smug, arrogant...pain in the arse.
I hear you got a murder, Ridley.
Always trying to upstage me, aren't you?
-It is my sole purpose in life, Valerie.
-I would congratulate you, but it'll only encourage you.
Please tell me you haven't just used the last of my soya milk.
There's normal milk.
Which I would happily drink if I didn't have a lactose intolerance!
Or a people intolerance.
Julie, I wondered if you might pick up my dry cleaning for me.
It's the one on the corner of Rundle Street, you know it?
-I'm not a servant!
-Course you're not, but picking a fight with her is a big mistake.
-No way, that's wrong!
I'm sorry, I can't run your errand.
We all had to do things we didn't want to when we started out.
-You do know that's how it works?
-I'm afraid I'm busy.
I'm giving you an opportunity here to respond reasonably to my request.
I wouldn't get above yourself.
I know you're assisting on a murder case, but I'd take a moment
to reflect on why Ridley chose you.
-In what way?
-Work it out, sweetheart.
-Gobby little madam.
-And here was me thinking you liked the girl.
Turner's still stuck in the fraud trial from hell.
I need you to take this on.
Client with a temper problem. Could be right up your street.
You deny that you assaulted Miss Salter at the bus stop?
The whole thing was ridiculous. I accused her of pushing in, right?
She totally lost it with me and she hit me. I tried to defend myself,
-next thing, she's saying I attacked her.
-Did you touch her at all?
I put my arm up to stop her whacking me.
-That was it.
-Two witnesses claim you hit her.
-They were her mates. Yeah?
When the cops turned up, they pretended not to know her.
-It was a farce.
-Did you tell the police?
I tried, but nobody would listen. I can't believe it's come this far.
If I get done for this, I will lose my job!
-Valerie's got my card marked.
Do you want to know a secret?
-You know how she lost it with Judge Palmer a few weeks back?
Well, apparently she went on an anger management course.
-She thinks no-one knows, but of course we all do.
-Who said that?
Oh, she did. Yeah. It's classic Valerie.
Isolate your weakness, deal with it, move on.
Still, you should take it down a notch with her.
So, what, I roll over and let her treat me like crap?
-I don't think so.
-No, I'm just saying you need allies
-if you want to get voted into chambers.
-Look, I just want to get up in court and do my job.
I'm not interested in the politics.
OK, let me put it another way. How badly do you want this?
You better not be looking for me,
because I've got nothing to say to you.
I want you to know that I loved your mum so much.
-I can't have this conversation.
Have you any idea of how angry I am?
I didn't kill your mum.
Whatever happened, you were involved in a decision
-we weren't part of.
-And I'm sorry.
But it's what she wanted.
I need your help.
Will you stand up in court and say what you believe?
I think that you know that I would never, ever hurt your mum.
Are you serious?!
I can't do that. Dad'd never forgive me.
What about ME?
That's the only kiss you're getting while you're that mucky.
-I'll take what I can get.
-The flowers were gorgeous.
-I'm glad you liked them.
-So what's all this about?
-Does there have to be a reason?
I'm just...it's a shock having someone in my life again.
Mate, you got a sec? Oh. Hiya, love. S'all right, it can wait.
Err, still think I'm out of his league?
Listen, I want this to happen. And I want you to meet the kids soon too.
I just need to clear the way.
Well, not just with them. It's Neil, too.
-Oh, God, Neil you scared the life out of me then.
Neil, I've told you before, this isn't your house any more,
-you can't just come and go as you please.
-I know. But we need to talk.
-Now isn't a good time.
-We made a big mistake splitting up.
-Just hear me out.
What if we gave it another chance?
I mean, we...
Neil, this is Tony.
Trial's coming around soon. You must be nervous.
-I think we'll be ready.
-Boyfriend must get a bit miffed though.
-Can't imagine he's seen much of you.
-Goes with the job. We manage.
Well, that's good to hear.
-Gordon, about the vote at the end of my pupillage.
-Is there anything I can do to...
-Sway the doubters?
To influence the outcome?
I just want to make my case the best I can.
I really want to join these chambers.
Are you asking me to put a good word in for you?
Yes, I guess I am.
I'm afraid I have very little influence in these matters.
-Hi. Have you noticed the date that Mrs Stanley changed her will?
It was only six weeks before she died.
AND Mr Powell accompanied her to the solicitors.
Yeah, but he wasn't in the actual meeting where the will was changed, was he?
Yeah, but still. She changed it so that he became the main beneficiary.
-They've already got a graphologist saying Saskia's goodbye note is faked.
Mr Powell is going to get hammered over this.
OK, let's talk to him again.
So how was dinner with grumpy boyfriend?
Um, yeah, yeah, it was good, thanks, yeah.
Listen, I knew it was a bad idea.
She was too ill. And I didn't want to do it. But she was adamant.
Did you know she changed her will to benefit you at the expense of her family?
Well, that's a nice way to put it. No, I didn't have a clue.
Mr Powell, you drove her to the meeting.
-You must have had some inkling as to what she was planning?
-Oh, and that gives me motive, does it?
I know these questions are tough, but it'll get tougher in the courtroom.
Do you really think that I wanted to end her life?!
I didn't even want to help her.
I loved her.
But she begged me.
How could I say no?
I can see that from the wrong angle, this looks bad.
But I only did what Saskia wanted.
That's all I ever did.
You weren't honest with me last time, were you, Mr Armitage?
The witnesses were not friends of the complainant.
I think they were.
And this isn't the first time you've had a violent loss of temper, is it?
In 2007, you assaulted a postman.
And in 2009, you received a community order after attacking a 13-year-old in a skate park.
Hang on, no, I didn't attack him, I defended myself. He was a yob.
He needed 12 stitches in his head after you "defended yourself".
-Are you on my side or what?
-I'm here to represent you, Mr Armitage.
And in doing so, I have to be realistic about what we can achieve.
There's a common theme running through your story,
-and that is you losing it with complete strangers.
I told you what happened, right?
I didn't do nothing and I'm not going to prison for this
so why don't you try doing your job properly, you useless cow?!
If you ever speak to me like that again, you'll be getting a new barrister.
And I'll make sure my replacement is the lousiest halfwit I can find.
Trust me, I know a few.
Morning, Mr Powell.
It's quite normal to be nervous.
It's not in my hands any more.
Scares the life out of me.
No, I haven't found anywhere yet.
You can't just throw my stuff out on the street!
Ah. You're Ridley's new rising star. We haven't been introduced formally.
No doubt he's told you what a ruthless scumbag I am.
-No, not at all.
-Oh, well, he should have done because I am.
Oh, don't worry, it's all good clean fun.
Ridley and I go back a long way...
But I bet he makes out that he's squeaky clean to you, does he? Bet I could tell you few stories.
I'm not comfortable with having this conversation, sorry.
Of course, of course. I apologise. That was quite wrong of me.
Anyway, see you in court.
What the prosecution will seek to prove is this...
That Anthony Powell, prematurely and deliberately,
ended Saskia Stanley's life.
Crippled with debts, his business struggling to stay afloat,
he met Saskia, a modestly rich and successful businesswoman.
When she discovered she was dying from bone cancer,
Mr Powell isolated her from her own family,
forcing her to rely on him exclusively.
In doing so, he tried to persuade her that he could help her
end her own life more quickly,
so she would avoid the pain of the last stages of cancer.
But as he did so,
he successfully pressured her into changing her will,
so that he became the main beneficiary.
When, finally, she rejected his plan...
..he took her life, callously
and in cold blood, with an overdose of diamorphine
which he then bogusly claimed
was Mrs Stanley's idea all along.
Did your mother ever talk to you about taking her own life?
She mentioned it.
-In a very vague way.
-And how did you respond?
-I was appalled.
I couldn't believe she was even saying such a thing.
-But I don't think she was being serious.
-And why is that?
Well, she never mentioned it again.
Might that be because she knew what your reaction would be?
-I... I don't know.
-Mr Metzler, do you have any further questions?
-Yes, Your Honour.
-How close to your mother would you say you were?
-And how often did you discuss the illness?
You know, we're a very close family, we talk about stuff.
It's ridiculous to say that she'd end her own life without telling us.
-I just know it's not what my mother wanted to do.
-You seem very definite about that.
-Yes, I am.
-Why is that?
-It was the will.
I was always suspicious, but that's when I realised.
That he'd made her change the will. Then, it all made sense.
-And that is your own view?
-Not anyone else's?
No, of course not.
Why didn't you push Dan? He doesn't even know what he thinks.
It wouldn't have looked good, believe me. I think we explored his feelings as best we can.
Mr Powell, look I know it's hard to hear those things,
but you have to remember that's just the prosecution doing their job.
We're on your side, Mr Powell.
He seems volatile.
Metzler's going to have fun with him.
Let's get some lunch.
And once Saskia met Tony, everything changed.
She seemed to hang on his every word, be completely in his thrall.
Which was particularly difficult for the kids, because they didn't like the man.
-Neither did I.
-And why was that?
Well, it seemed obvious to me,
he wanted her for her status and her money.
He would always go on about the size of the house or how well her business was doing.
And how was the relationship with your ex-wife during this time?
I'd always tried to maintain a friendly rapport,
I thought that was important for our son and our daughter.
But Tony made it clear he didn't want me around,
and Saskia did as Tony asked.
Did you or your children talk to Saskia about these problems?
We did, and eventually I think she saw sense.
Just before she fell ill, she realised he was using her
and she broke it off.
So why do you think she got back with Mr Powell?
Well, obviously she was feeling vulnerable,
she'd found out about the cancer.
And he had made promises about nursing her,
then the situation became much worse.
-In what way?
-She was dying slowly, and she was shutting out her family,
because that's what Tony wanted her to do.
Did she ever talk of taking her own life?
Saskia would never entertain such a notion.
And without telling her children? Not a chance.
I want to turn our attentions to the afternoon
when you discovered your ex-wife's body.
What was the scene you encountered?
I knew she was dead as soon as I laid eyes on her.
To me, it all looked too arranged.
It was all too neat.
I noticed the syringes at the side, I heard the front door go.
And what happened when Mr Powell walked into the room?
During my time as a police officer
I've looked into a lot of guilty faces.
That's what I saw in HIS eyes. I knew he'd done it.
-Objection, Your Honour, that's pure speculation.
-Please do try and stick to the facts.
-Thank you, Mr Stanley.
See how long it is before he mentions his profession again.
So what's the score, Ridley? 7-4, isn't it?
It's 7-6, Mark, you know that.
But you always choke on the big stage, don't you?
8-6 after this, I think. Walk in the park.
Mr Stanley, do you recall the first time you met Mr Powell?
-Not off-hand, no.
-Oh, perhaps I could jog your memory.
Is it true that you were so angry that your wife had met another man
that you punched a hole in her wall?
We did argue occasionally, Mr Ridley, as ex-partners do.
So you did punch the wall the first time you met Mr Powell?
I don't recall.
But it's fair to say you...
You took against him from the moment you set eyes on him.
I don't think that's fair to say, no.
Wouldn't it be normal for someone to want to distance themselves
from an ex-partner when they'd fallen in love with someone else?
I don't accept that she'd fallen in love with him.
Even though she told you,
and your son AND your daughter that she did?
You get the sense of a guy, doing my job.
I gave him a fair crack of the whip. He came up short.
Mr Stanley, you punched a hole in the wall the very first time you met him.
That's what you call giving someone a fair crack of the whip?
You couldn't bear seeing your ex-wife with someone else, isn't that it?
-And you'd like to see Mr Powell found guilty
-regardless of the truth of what happened...
..because you wanted her back and she chose him.
And that, Mr Stanley, that wounded your pride.
Right, Mr Armitage. I've had a word with the CPS
and if you were willing to plead guilty to the lesser charge,
I think we can persuade them to drop the more serious offence.
I'm not changing anything.
Then, I'm minded to tell you that your case is not looking good...
Not if you did your job properly!
-Sit down, Mr Armitage. Sit down!
-I'm not listening to another word you say.
Get me another lawyer who'll get me off and isn't as stuck up as you!
Feel free! Find someone else.
Because get this, you jumped up little man -
it doesn't matter who represents you,
there's no jury who won't send you down! You've been found guilty three times and still you live
in a ridiculous little world where it's everybody else's fault and not yours.
There's no need to speak to me like that.
Well, that's how you speak to everybody else, so now you know.
Shall we start again?
And this time let's be respectful and calm and honest.
I went on one of those anger management courses.
It was a load of rubbish. I'm angry for a reason. I'm angry because my wife left me.
And they won't fix that with some fancy techniques, are they?
How do we reduce the charge?
If you plead guilty to common assault,
I think we can get them to drop the ABH.
-Probably just a fine.
You want to watch that temper of yours. It's not professional.
-He's just a good, old-fashioned ambulance chaser.
Oh, God, here comes Valerie.
Good news about your graphologist.
-About to be discredited, if rumours are true.
That corporate fraud case based on his evidence.
You did know there was an appeal?
Judgement's due tomorrow, I assumed Julie knew about it.
Just let me get this straight.
There's a key prosecution witness appearing tomorrow who claims
that the handwriting on the goodbye note is not Saskia's. A really damning expert witness.
And in a landmark appeal, his reputation may be about to crumble.
And if that judgement comes through in time, we can rubbish the guy, and you hadn't even checked?
Neither had you.
I asked you to check the background on all the witnesses.
Gordon's got a lot of friends in High Court. You'd better beg him for some inside news.
Don't let them prove me wrong about you.
I'll go and see if Gordon's in his office.
Gordon's gone home, so...
-I'm sorry that Valerie's on your back.
-Look, I screwed up.
-I deserve everything I get.
-That's a little melodramatic.
Yeah, it is.
I've split up from my boyfriend, I'm living in a crummy hotel
and he's about to throw my stuff out on the street.
-Doesn't sound much fun.
-I don't even know why I care.
I don't even love him anymore.
Good riddance, seriously.
Guess I'm young, free and single.
I can't even remember what that's like.
How long have you been married, if you don't mind me asking?
Oh, God, no.
Must be hard with the hours you work.
Yeah, yeah, it is. But...
..maybe you use that as an excuse, you know.
I thought we'd grow closer the longer we were married.
But that's, er...
That's not happening.
Why did you offer me junior on this case?
Because you're the best person for the job.
Is that only reason?
Do you want there be another reason?
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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Barrister Sol Ridley gets his first murder case, defending Tony Powell. Tony admits assisting his terminally-ill partner, Saskia, to end her life, but Saskia's family think he killed her to get his hands on her money. After the first day of the trial, a stressed Tony takes drastic action.