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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Irrelevant Mud-slinging

Irrelevant Mud-slinging.

With the ostensible purpose of emphasising the difficulty of their task, and with the practical effect of injuring upon a side issue a man who provided neither counsel nor Commissioners with any other sufficient handle, the Commissioners declare that Mr. Meikle "has proved himself in his evidence before us to be utterly unworthy of credit in any matter affecting his own interests. The particular matter in which the claimant's reckless disregard of his oath was made clear to was with respect to illicit relations which he ultimately admitted that he has had for some years with a young woman named in the evidence." We have no desire to indulge in any special pleading on Mr. Meikle's behalf in this matter, but obtain a just view of an unpleasant and in the main quite irrelevant episode these facts must be borne in mind:—
(1)That the matter in question occurred twelve years after conviction and seven years before he was cross-examination upon it before the Commission.
(2)That it belongs to a class of wrong-doing-as to which, common as it is, an instinct of secrecy deeply implanted in nature dictates a different standard of veracity from which governs any ordinary issue affecting business, perty, or character.*
(3)That cross-examination upon such a matter in an enquiry which sheep-stealing is the subject appears to anybody a lawyer just as relevant and just as well calculated to elicit the truth as the thumb-screw or the rack.