Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 10. 23rd May 1973
Two recent cases in the Rama tenants dispute have been thrown out of court.
The main feature of both cases was the utter failure of Mr Buddie (Rama's lawyer) to elicit any coherent information from his client in the witness box. Giving evidence Rama stated that his flat at 168 Kings Crescent had been let to Mr Campbell at $30 a week. He claimed that Campbell had left without notice, $362 being outstanding. In the chaotic examination that followed Rama produced no proof that this sum was actually owing to him. He first stated that he and his son both kept the accounts. His second version was that his son had kept all the accounts himself.
Rama claimed not to have advertised the flat after Campbell had left, wherepon Mr Hart (acting for the tenants) produced a photocopy of a newspaper advertisement for the flat. Rama immediately claimed that this advertisement was the work of his son.
Rama seemed unable to decide whether it would be more advantageous to state that he worked in close collaboration with his son Bhika or not. He compromised by shifting his position and contradicting himself until it became clear that the process of unravelling the truth of his testimony would not be worth the effort involved.
Rama was not assisted in his efforts by his counsel Mr Buddie. Buddie was repeatedly told by the magistrate Mr Patterson S.M. to 'examine the witness properly' and to refrain from putting loaded questions to his witness. Both Rama and his son Bhika were prevented from trying to refer to documents which they had not written. Both men attempted to read such papers in the witness box. These documents were furnished by Mr Buddie, who was reproached for doing so by the magistrate. However although Mr Buddie was many times asked to carry out his duties in the proper manner the most surprising thing about the proceedings was the fact that Patterson allowed the farcical antics to continue for so long.
Finally, however Mr Patterson decided that the cases had not been properly prepared or put forward and were accordingly not worthy of consideration.
Rama Madhav has made a mistake not unknown to his class, that of lifting up a rock only to drop it on his own feet.