On our Facebook Page we have a link to a BBC programme entitled “Prisons, Drugs & Drones “.
However, to clarify my interest in this programme, it is the role of Eran Cutliffe, the Senior Crown Prosecutor in the English Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS) that has caught my attention.
Ms Cutliffe was admitted to the Law Society on 1/10/08 and has worked in London and Stoke-0n-Trent as a solicitor for the CPS.
Ms Cutliffe is remarkably a sharp, able and obviously successful solicitor – who just happens to be blind and it is refreshing to see Ms Cutliffe’s blindness treated as an incidental to her very serious work.
In the programme we see her at work, collating facts and giving legal advice to Police Officers in the Complex Case Unit as she prepares a case against a team of ten suspects involved in using drones to fly contraband into prisons all over England. . Using a work –mate to describe surveillance video evidence and ask pertinent questions, she has a remarkably fast typing ability using a Notepad to take observations and facts when meeting with the Police. Later we see the Notepad “reading” her notes or other case papers back to her.
The programme was made in conjunction with Gold Star Productions and the Open University and a yet more difficult human slavery case is presented in the second programme on Thursday 9 August 2018..
What I found intriguing was how Ms Cutliffe used her blindness like an asset in her work. Unable to see suspects, and therefore unable to make assumptions about each person based on race, nationality, class, or whatever; she simply “ sees” the evidence against each suspect and has no inbuilt bias, and does join up the dots in assuming anything. .
There have been studies showing how witnesses to sudden events will see and report different things and describe what they truly believed they saw. The problem with that is that people’s inbuilt assumptions and bias will affect how their recollection of events is recounted.
Ms Cutliffe’ s very sharp and forensic brain cuts through all that noise surrounding evidence presented to her, and we see a Prosecutor “ who just happens to be blind” get on with her day job , her blindness being incidental to the job in hand, and utilising her abilities and the lack of her sight, in a way that shows her exceptional skill and professionalism.