The judge has sent the jury out following Helen’s claim that she was repeatedly raped by Rob. He has to decide whether to allow it as evidence considering that it wasn’t in Helen’s original documentation, and Rob hasn’t had the opportunity to respond. Tom, Kirsty, Pat ,Tony and Peggy are shocked by the news, and find it difficult to comprehend that none of them knew anything about it, not to mention how any jury could be expected to disregard it. Peggy realises it could be why Helen found it so difficult to bond with Jack. Pat goes into meltdown and Tony suggests that it would be better if she didn’t go back into the courtroom. Good idea Tony, perhaps we could then listen to proceedings without her running commentary. “Helen needs me!” wails Pat. I beg to differ.
The judge isn’t happy either as it’s upset the smooth running of his court. Anna explains that it was news to her too but a point of law is on her side. Julian Bywater, for the prosecution, protests that this must be a recent concoction, but the judge slaps him down by saying that he will have his own opportunity to examine Helen’s version of events, and that Rob will be recalled so that the court can hear his side of the story. Anna agrees with Rob being recalled, as she will be asking the judge’s permission to call a new witness who has just come forward, and Rob will need the opportunity to respond to them as well. Is this the person who was the subject of the note passed to Anna yesterday?
The jury is brought back in and JB starts laying into Helen. He tries to discredit her by dissecting her evidence and applying logic to a sequence of events where logic obviously didn’t apply. Helen manages to keep her cool in the face of JB’s sarcasm and increasing volume until he reaches the end of his tirade and she shouts “it wasn’t like that”, sounding exhausted.
Meanwhile in the canteen, Kirsty has been forcing coffee down everyone’s throats, and Pat has come to realise the part she unwittingly played in helping to facilitate Rob’s abuse of Helen. She goes back into the courtroom resolving to ‘be there’ for Helen, in a way that she hasn’t been up to now.
JB sinks even lower in his questioning by asking Helen how Henry was conceived, suggesting that the use of a sperm donor showed that she didn’t think a father was important and therefore Rob became dispensable when Jack was born. At this point I wished for Anna to give us her best Perry Mason impression and shout “Objection, Your Honor! Incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial!” but instead the judge came to Helen’s rescue and brought JB under control. In answer to JB’s final question, as to why she hadn’t mentioned the rapes before, Helen answers; “How could I, when I could hardly admit it to myself”.
Leaving court at the end of the day, Pat, Tony and Tom are stopped by Anna who reveals that the mysterious last-minute witness is none other than Jess, Rob’s ex-wife. Her conscious has been pricked by the news coverage and has decided that she needs to speak out.
Things are hotting up nicely and I hope that, not only is Helen found not guilty, but that Rob is indicted on counts of perjury, perverting the cause of justice, GBH, child cruelty and now, of course, rape. I think the Judge will have heard enough to justify dusting off the black cap when it comes to sentencing and I reckon there are millions of Archers fans who would be willing to pull the lever.
Let’s end with a question - the trial is obviously a major factor in the Titchener family’s existence and Rob is being supported by Ursula and Bruce. But where is brother Miles? Does he really exist? Did Rob kill him and bury him in the garden when they were younger? I wouldn’t put it past him.