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[26] It remains to consider the technique to be followed in the examination of witnesses. The first essential is to know your witness. For a timid witness may be terrorised, a fool outwitted, an irascible man provoked, and vanity flattered. The shrewd and self-possessed witness, on the other hand, must be dismissed at once as being malicious and obstinate; or refuted, not by cross-examination, but by a brief speech from the counsel for the defence; or may be put out of countenance by some jest, if a favourable opportunity presents itself; or, if his past life admits of criticism, his credit may be overthrown by the scandalous charges which can be brought against him.

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