*Spoilers ahoy! – Do not read if you have not seen episode 5 of The Trial: a Murder in the Family*
The verdict is in. And the hung jury, plus the revelation that Simon Davis did ‘actually’ murder his ex-wife, will be a surprise for most viewers of The Trial. However, even more eyebrow-raising than the result itself should be the sheer amount of work that went into crafting such an authentic crime story.
Over a year was spent constructing the fictional case, with legal advisors consulted, police interviews filmed, over 600 of pages of evidence created and much much more.
And it’s this authenticity that has made the case feel so real, even to professional lawyers – “It’s the type of case we come across again and again,” Danielle Reece-Greenhalgh, an associate at leading criminal law firm Corker Binning, told RadioTimes.com.
However, with so much evidence, not everything could make it into the scenes you saw on screen. The production team constructed ten times more evidence than the barristers used in the trial, according to co-director Kath Mattock. And then that two-week trial had to be condensed down to five hours of TV.
So, what was left out? And why? Here’s your answers…
The documents you didn’t see
Don’t worry, you saw all the main storylines on screen and nothing major was left out, says Mattock. But there were some documents that answered questions from eagle-eyed viewers.
Firstly, Lewis Skinner’s garage trip: if Carla’s current partner did actually pick up his car then there’d be a receipt, right? Why did nobody ask about it in court?
Am I missing something or wouldn't the police just check the time Lewis Skinner picked the car up from the garage?? #TheTrial
— Heidi Hawkins (@heidihawkins74) May 23, 2017
Short answer: they did. “There was garage receipts and then there was a whole conversation in the trial whether [Skinner] paid in cash or by card,” says Mattock.
And what about the bus timetable? Skinner claimed he decided to walk as there were no buses on the way – didn’t anyone check that during the trial?
Did anyone else wonder why the ‘late bus’ evidence wasn’t investigated?It may have been on time and boyfriend could have caught it #thetrial
— Alan Goulding (P) (@seagullqp) May 24, 2017
Again, yes. All this was discussed and extensively debated in The Trial, but there wasn’t enough time to fit it into the edit. That’s the same for the “many many maps” created by the production team, along with text message and email exchanges, more receipts, Simon Davis’ full statement when questioned by the police and more.
Basically, if you wondered why they didn’t talk about evidence in the court then they probably actually did.
Who you didn’t see take the stand
A few faces had to be cut from the final edit, but it’s likely they wouldn’t have you led you to the correct ‘guilty’ verdict. Most of the those chopped out were character witnesses in support of the defendant, such as Davis’s university boss.
And remember Johnny Quinn? Simon’s friend he attempted to call after the murder? Well, he appeared on the stand but was cut from the show. Why? Although Quinn provided some “insights” about Carla and Simon’s relationship, he mainly turned up to say he had a missed call on his phone from Simon, said Mattock. Interesting, but not necessary.
Also worthy of note: you only saw a small proportion of the footage featuring those characters who did make it to the dock. Simon Davis and Lewis Skinner only appeared for a few minutes, but they were up there for three hours during filming.
Was any of this vital evidence? Would it have swayed viewers at home? Probably not, says Mattock. Although “some sections of the story” were left out of the edit, the main evidence was included.
So, if you didn’t reach the correct verdict then you can’t blame what was left out. Case closed.