Cross Examination

Oscar Wilde was one of the eminent men of letters of England, famous as great a controversialists and for wit.

Wilde befriended Alfred Douglas, a younger son of Lord Queensberry. The Lord disliked this odd association and tried to put an end to it but in vain. During the friendship the Lord wrote some remarks about Oscar Wilde that became a basis for a law suit against Lord Queensbury. (Lord Queensberry had written “Oscar Wilde posing as a sodomite” on his visiting card and left it in a club.)

When Lord Queensberry’s attorney Edward Carson was to cross examine Oscar Wilde after his statement in the court during the proceedings of the case, friends cautioned Edward Carson that he will not be able to match the sharpness of Wilde and it may result into a hilarious situation. Hence he should withdraw fro the suit. Of course Edward Carson did not agree.

Carson had drawn blood during the proceedings of the case. He had not only succeeded in proving that his client was not guilty but also turned the table against Oscar Wilde and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

If anything, this single knockdown trial carved a permanent niche for Edward Carson in the annals of law history.


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