January 28, 2014 Leave a comment
The defending counsel rose to his feet.
“Miss Andrews, thank you for your testimony. I just have one or two questions for you. Your job title is …,” he looked at the notes in front of him, “… Prospect Identifier. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” said Miss Andrews, nodding.
“Could you tell the court exactly what that entails?”
“I telephone prospective customers, inform them of our product line and qualify them for Sales.”
“And how do you know they are prospective customers?”
“I’m sorry?” she asked, confused.
“You called them ‘prospective customers’. What have they done in order to earn them that sobriquet? How,” he asked, faced with her blank look, “do you know that they are ‘prospective customers’?”
“Oh!” she said, comprehension dawning. “We have a script, questions we ask them, and if they are interested they are routed through to second-line sales.”
“So they become prospective customers after you have phoned them?”
“Yes, I suppose.”
“How do you choose who to telephone? Have they already contacted you?”
“Oh no,” she replied, surer of her ground here. “We cold call. We buy a list of names and telephone numbers and work our way down the list.”
“And how many people do you call in a normal day?”
“We have a list of 500 per day that we are targeted with calling, but normally we only get to speak with about 100, because people are out or the phone number doesn’t work or something.”
“And how many people do you refer to your sales department in one day?”
She shrugged. “Maybe half a dozen.”
The solicitor looked again at his notes. “So when my learned colleague asked you if you made the call in the ‘expectation’ of a sale, the chances were 100 to one that you would make a sale, and even after he answered the chances were still about one in twenty?”
She looked nonplussed. “I guess.”
“Then ‘expectation’ is a little strong, don’t you think? Wouldn’t ‘hope’ be a better term?”
She looked at the magistrates’ bench, then back to the counsel. “I suppose so.”
The defence counsel nodded, as though finally understanding something.
“Now, Miss Andrews, I want to ask you some questions about the transcript of this conversation, which your employer so fortuitously recorded.” He picked up a sheaf of papers. “You exchange pleasantries, you identify yourself and your company, and inform my client that this conversation is being recorded for training purposes.
“Then my client says, I quote, ‘Damn, but you have a sexy voice. Are you as gorgeous as you sound?’ Is that correct?”
Miss Andrews looked stern, “Yes.”
“Did you find this obscene, Miss Andrews?”
“Were you offended?”
“Not at this point.”
“In fact, the transcript at this point records that you laughed and called him…” he checked the paper, “… ‘a cheeky little monkey’. Is that correct?”
She looked uncomfortable. “Yes, but I didn’t realise he was a perv at that point.”
He smiled at her. “Please restrict your comments to answers to my questions, Miss Andrews. At this point, did you give my client any indication that you were uncomfortable with the conversation?”
“No, I suppose not.”
“No, indeed. In fact you proceeded to ask him questions about double glazing. Was this according to the script you mentioned?”
“And in reply to your question asking which of the range of products your company manufactures my client was interested in, his reply was what?”
“He asked me what I was wearing,” she replied, shifting awkwardly in the witness box.
“Did you think this was appropriate?”
“No!” she said, emphatically shaking her head.
“Were you offended?”
“Too right indeed, Miss Andrews. In fact you told him to mind his own business?”
“Yes. He had no right to ask me that.”
“Yet you repeated your question about what he was interested in. Why did you not hang up at this point?”
“I can’t hang up at that point in the script.”
“I see.” He perused the transcript again. “He appeared to be interested in windows… how many… colour… Ah here it is. In reply to ‘Do you have replacement doors?’, he answered, ‘Wait one. I’m going hands-free.’ What did you think he meant by that?”
Prosecuting counsel rose to his feet. “Objection, Your Worships. It calls for conjecture.”
“My client is accused of making an obscene phone call, Your Worships”, he answered. “I am trying to establish what Miss Andrews considered to be obscene.”
“Proceed, Mr Smith, but please take into account Miss Andrews’ sensibilities.”
“Thank you, Your Worships. Now Miss, Andrews. What did you think he meant by ‘going hands-free’?”
She looked uncomfortable. “I thought he meant he was going on speaker-phone, so he could… you-know…”
“And you found this offensive?”
“Too bloody right I did. He’s got no right to perv me like that.”
“And yet you proceeded to talk to him about replacement doors?”
“Yes. It was in the script.”
“And when he said, I quote, ‘Yeah baby, tell me about those deadlocks. I love deadlock talk.’, what was your reaction?”
“I was disgusted,” she said, shooting the defendant a dirty look. “He was making me feel cheap.”
“But according to the transcript, Miss Andrews, it was you that brought up the subject of deadlocks, not my client.”
“Yes, but he was getting all… excited.”
“Indeed. And customers have no right to be excited about your products.”
“Not like that. Not all pervy.”
“And then you terminated the conversation with…” he checked the transcript, and raised his eyebrows in apparent surprise. “… with an admonition to perform a sexual act that I am fairly certain is anatomically impossible.”
Miss Andrews blushed.
Counsel turned to the magistrates’ bench.
“Your Worships, my client is charged with making an obscene phone call pursuant to Section 43 of the Telecommunications Act 1984. I ask that the charge be dismissed forthwith for the following two reasons.
“Firstly, according to the transcript offered in evidence by the prosecution, the only obscenities uttered were by Miss Andrews.
“And secondly, by Miss Andrews own admission, she made the unsolicited call to my client. As far as I can ascertain, there is no legislation outlawing the receiving of an obscene phone call.”