(CBS) - After covering countless trials in the Unites States it was a fascinating (and frustrating) experience to cover one in England.
Harold Landry, a millionaire businessman from Louisiana, was charged with the murder of his British wife, Lucy. He was tried at the Crown Court in Wolhermapton, England in February 2011.
There is something charming about seeing bewigged lawyers presenting their cases politely and quietly. There was not even one objection from either side in the entire trial. Can you imagine that happening in an American court?
The jurors are given all the evidence at the outset in what is called a 'jury bundle.' And it is just that..a bundle of paper documents and photos and recordings of some testimony taken out of court....about 400 pages in all, in this case. The jury gets it...reporters do not. That can make it hard to follow the trial since the lawyers routinely tell the jurors to turn to a specific page in their 'bundle' leaving observers to infer what the evidence shows based on what the lawyers say in court. Of course in this country, we can see all the evidence during the trial...in the U.K. we had to wait until everything was done.
The rules of a British court will look familiar to an American observer. But there are some stark differences. The defendant is kept in a glass enclosed room in the back of the court. There are, of course, NO cameras in the courtroom, and no sketching is allowed by courtroom artists. Our sketch artist had to take notes during the trial and then draw based on her recollections. It's hard to believe, when you see Julia Quenzler's drawings, that she did them that way. The sketches are remarkably accurate. What a talent!
One other difference in the British system: Like in America suspects have a right to remain silent. UNLIKE the American system, judges in the U.K. are allowed to tell jurors they can infer something from a defendant's decision to refuse to answer questions. The British defense lawyers have fought that...but it's still the rule.
You'll learn more about how the Harold Landry case unfolded on this week's 48 HOURS Mystery called Murder At The Manor. It's one of the most intriguing cases we've done in quite some time!