(First published as a comment by Dr Shirley Prager on an article in Phillip Altman’s sub stack.)
Many years ago I recall a judge saying during an inquiry into how Australian law dealt with the standard of medical care, how important words are in the judicial process. Words are the legal bread and butter. Not all lawyers and judges will understand or attempt to understand the scientific approach. So how the lawyer who called an expert witness questions that witness and how that expert witness answers is vitally important. Where government policy states X, and X is wrong, and there is strong evidence X is wrong, then one could try stating that – “Although the words in the government policy state X, there is strong evidence that these words are wrong and the evidence is Z plus Y plus A“. There are then likely to be all sorts of objections by the lawyers for the other side, and the expert witness will get asked all kinds of irrational questions from a scientific point of view or the same question over and over again expressed slightly differently. But one has to keep answering the questions factually as simply and strongly as possible. In my experience this can go on for protracted periods. There are other methods to try and destroy the evidence by attacking the credibility of the expert witness. With issues related to covid and the vaccines it will be doubly difficult because many of the players in the legal process are likely to have a personal conflict of interest. Say the judge has received 3 doses of a covid vaccine and believes the narrative that these vaccines are safe, effective, and prevent transmission. Will that judge state this at the start of the legal proceedings? Would these beliefs and personal experience disqualify the judge? Or could the judge take the position that although I have personally received these vaccines into my body and I have these beliefs I am open to evidence that the vaccines may not be safe and effective and may not prevent transmission, and I can cope with the possibility that my own future health may have been harmed by these vaccines. The same problem may apply to all the players in the court process.