Tomorrow (27 November 2018) Steve Hinder will say under oath that he did not assault Anthony Pullano by punching him in the chest on 20 March 2014.
Instead he will say he shook Pullano’s hand.
Giving evidence earlier today, Wanda Cena said under oath that she was at the Jane Twinney acclamation on 20 March 2014 and that she saw Steve Hinder strike Anthony Pullano in the chest causing him to stumble backwards. She said she didn’t hear anything that might have been said between the two because she was about 30 feet away. She had a clear uninterrupted view. Mr Pullano was facing her. Mr Hinder had his back to her.
After the altercation she saw Hinder go towards the VIP section. She was concerned about Pullano as he was “twitching and grimacing” but at no stage during the evening did she talk to him.
Cena was asked which hand Hinder used to punch Pullano, left or right, but she couldn’t recall.
“I wondered why you would hit someone hard enough to make them stumble back… it was a really quick punch.” (she demonstrates)
Hinder’s lawyer, Deborah Berlach, asks how long the encounter was.
“Just a few seconds.”
Berlach’s line of questioning is designed to suggest to the jury that Cena was distracted during the evening and she may not have seen what she claims to have seen.
She was privately tweeting to her friend Maddie Di Muccio (at one stage a candidate for the PC nomination) sometimes crouching down, sometimes standing up, while, at the same time, keeping an eye on the front door to see if she recognised people coming in.
Berlach asks at length about Cena’s relationship with Maddie Di Muccio and Anthony Pullano, how they got to know each other and how the friendships matured and developed. Berlach asks about the 2014 campaign for Newmarket Council when Cena was a candidate in Ward 1.
Twitter takes centre stage as tweets are analysed at great length for their true meaning. We hear about Twitter friends and Twitter feeds. And who was friends with whom.
Towards the end of the cross examination, Berlach goes to the affidavit sworn by Cena. In it Cena claims Hinder “without provocation” punched Pullano.
Now Berlach asks:
“What do you mean by without provocation?”
“How did you see the punch if Mr Hinder had his back to you?”
Wanda Cena says without missing a beat:
“Mr Hinder was slightly at an angle. His right side was facing me at an angle.”
Like everyone else I was looking at Wanda Cena intently, reading the expression on her face.
Did she look as if she was inventing this?
It seemed to me she was telling it as she saw it.
Tomorrow, Steve Hinder will no doubt be asked if his mighty handshake caused Pullano to stumble backwards two or three paces.
Or was there a punch?
Pullano and Hinder cannot both be telling the truth.