Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Q: How does a barrister know when someone is lying when giving evidence?

A: Body language...

If you briefly study Callum Tuckett's evidence at 14:54:40, 15:19:20, 15:28:00, 15:48:31, 16:05:57 and 16:06:35, you will see he uses his hands quite freely to express himself.


Now Mr Tuckett didn't get to the top of the construction industry pay chain without picking up a few tips about body language, but if you study him closely around 16:08:57 when Simon Reevell starts questioning him about Roger Robinson, Carillion and NCS you'll see a noticeable change.

Q1: Hands on desk playing with pen, moving to raised hands clasped

In this specific evidence, Mr Tuckett states that Roger Robinson has "now retired from the business, was most recently chief executive of the European hub business, responsible for pretty much half of the business".

It is at the end of this sentence where Mr Tuckett's hands become clasped in the raised position.

Now I don't know if Roger has now retired from the business, but all the press releases state that he was standing down as Chief exec of the European business, but was remaining in a senior role.

Quote Construction News 24 March 2014

"Mr Robinson will remain in the company as “a senior executive with responsibility for a wide range of important relationships and aspects of the business including Laing O’Rourke’s joint venture with Bouygues at Hinkley Point C”, according to a Laing O’Rourke spokesman."

Q2: Hands clasped, face down

In this specific evidence Mr Tuckett states that he was on the same board as Roger from 2010 to 2012, but a simple search on reveals them both to be on the same board of Laing O'Rourke PLC until 14 March 2014.


I don't intend to go into any further detail breaking down the rest of Mr Tuckett's evidence in this brief exchange with Simon, but his body language continue as:

Q3: Puts one hand on top of another and draws hands close to body
Q4: One hand on top of another close to body
Q5: Hands clasped in front
Q6: Hands clasped in front
Q7: Hands clasped in front

Mr Tuckett's hands return to playing with his pen when Lindsay Roy takes over.

Now you can go and make your own inquiries into what this body language means, but quite simply, clasped hands denotes anxiety and is the act of holding oneself in place to suppress the tension inside.

Body language coach, Nicolas Fradet describes clasped hands as follows:

"Clasped hands with interwoven fingers indicate great anxiety and frustration. That person is thinking, things are going really bad"

Thankfully, being a barrister, Simon knows all this.

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