You can breathe again: we now know what really happened in The Trial. And it turns out that Simon Davis really DID murder his (fictional) ex-wife. DUM DUM DUMMM.
Through a nail-biting dramatisation of the last moments of Carla Davis’ life, we learnt that Simon invited himself over to the family home. It was here where he saw the mother of his child, who told him she planned to move to Scotland without him.
This then led to an argument where Simon pinned Carla down, screaming at her to shut up as he strangled her to death. She tried to call out she was pregnant with his child, but it was too late. Carla was soon dead.
So far, so grim. But then it turns out Simon spent plenty of time calculating his next move, brooding in his car and outside the house, where he was spotted by a neighbour. He even stopped for a toilet break before calling up the emergency services.
As for Carla’s current partner Lewis Skinner? He was where he said, walking to the garage. And the shopping dropped on the kitchen floor? Carla had done that herself before Simon arrived. Case closed.
— The Trial (@thetrial) May 24, 2017
But the jury got it wrong. Well, not completely: they couldn’t make a decision, with eight jurors reaching a ‘not guilty’ verdict. Only four of the panel – all women – said Simon was guilty. Final result: a hung jury.
Viewers at home didn’t get it right either. Well, 70 per cent of viewers, according to our daily polls (see below). Throughout the week we asked our online jury which way they’d vote and most days they represented a hung jury. Most leant towards a ‘not guilty’ verdict on the final day, but not enough to deliver the supermajority decision needed in court.
Interestingly, there was one day of The Trial where our online jurors reached a majority verdict (just). On day three – the show where we heard Lewis Skinner on the stand – the poll showed an 80% vote (roughly the equivalent of 10 out of 12 jurors) for a not guiltily verdict.
That means it’s likely Simon shot himself in the foot: he might have been set free if he didn’t take to the stand.
So, we now know what ‘actually’ happened in the fictional crime, but there’s still a few more questions you might need an answer to…
What would happen to Simon Davis after a hung jury?
He’d be back to where he started before the show. He wouldn’t be completely free and it’s likely he’ll face another retrial in future (series 2, anyone?).
The show’s close showed that Simon was let out on bail, but remember: he’s not a real person. Calm down.
Was The Trial trying to make a point by showing Simon ‘actually’ kill Carla?
It’s an interesting idea: was The Trial constructed in such a way to demonstrate failings in the jury system? Was it made to show jurors are afraid of convicting guilty men?
Absolutely not, according to co-director Kath Mattock. “Nobody tried to make that verdict happen – there was no trick in that,” she told RadioTimes.com. “And the outcome didn’t have me lose faith in the system.
“A hung jury doesn’t surprise me, as the circumstantial nature of the case made it difficult for jurors to reach a decision beyond reasonable doubt. I could see where those not guilty verdicts came from.”
Plus, some trained lawyers expected a not guilty verdict. “It had some flaws, but I think the defence introduced enough alternatives, doubt and suspicion that the jury would not be sure of guilt,” Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh, an associate at leading criminal law firm Corker Binning, told RadioTimes.com.
In other words, don’t feel too bad if your verdict was wrong.
Did all the cast know Simon Davis was guilty?
Of course, Michael Gould (the actor who plays Simon) and Emma Lowndes (Carla) knew the defendant was guilty from the start. Kevin Harvey (Lewis Skinner) was also let in on the secret, joining his co-stars during a two-week workshop before the trial.
However, all other members of the cast, including those who played Carla’s sister and friends, didn’t know what would happen in tonight’s dramatisation (which was shot after the trial).
And no, there was only ever one version of who killed Carla – they didn’t film an alternative ending.
Could a defendant really walk out of court between sessions?
Some viewers spotted shots of Simon Davis reading notes at home and munching on a sandwich outside, but he would have to be locked up when court wasn’t in session, right?
#thetrial is pretty strange – who'd of thought the accused could walk around so freely out of court session
— Jason Brown (@Jason_Brown_) May 24, 2017
Not necessarily. “Whilst it is more difficult for a defendant in a murder case to be granted bail and therefore be allowed to freely walk in and out of court, it’s certainly not unheard of,” says Reece-Greenhalgh.
Could Simon Davis really have consulted with his lawyers after taking the stand?
Well spotted, any amateur barristers out there: no, that wouldn’t happen in a normal trial. Simon would not be allowed to consult with his barristers while giving evidence on the stand – even if he did it over a number of days, confirms Reece-Greenhalgh.
So why did we see Simon speaking to his lawyers during a break? The answer probably lies in how The Trial was cut: the conversation that Davis had with his lawyers before he was on the stand was spread throughout the show.
Would a real jury be that animated?
Not only has The Trial given us a fascinating look at how the jury operate outside the courtroom, but inside too. We’ve seen jurors nodding to each other, staring suggestively and even there’s even been a gasp or two. Would that be typical courtroom behaviour?
Yes, it’s completely normal, according to Reece-Greenhalgh: “I think that juries do get animated. They do react to pieces of evidence – especially in a case like this. They suddenly realise they’re a player in the process.”
So, there are your questions answered. Court dismissed.