Our blogger comes face to face with Ashley Muldoon in court seven and concedes that, yes, he is taller than Cleveland rival Brian Rogan.
For a long time now, I've been keen to have a face-to-face introduction to Multiplex project director Ashley Muldoon. Speaking to the guy on the phone, and hearing a raft of stories about his tough management style, the curiosity was only natural. However, I never expected that the conversation would begin with Muldoon striding over to me in court and saying ‘Gday, I'm Ashley. I didn't realise I was so short."
Mr Muldoon, it seems, has taken exception to the fact that I recently described him in Building as being five foot five tall. I'm not entirely sure why: granted, I may have carelessly lost an inch or so along the way, but even so the measurement still places him above Cleveland Bridge rival Brian Rogan, who has spent the week attempting to increase his stature by means of a fantastic looking spiked hairstyle. Nevertheless, Muldoon still feels hard done by, to the point that he's offering to dress up in heels for me sometime to prove a point. It's an interesting proposition, Ash, but not really while I'm working….
A week into the trial though, and I'm starting to feel quite at home in court seven. I've upgraded from a plastic red folding chair to a nice little cushioned number, and am on smiling terms with at least three people. However, there is a danger in too much relaxation. I've been reliably informed this week that it's possible to be held in contempt of court for chewing gum, so am now trying to enjoy my Wrigley's Extra in a covert manner every time the judge bows his head. I think it's a little unfair though - the woman in front of me last Wednesday was eating an enormous Pret luncheon while the hearing was continuing, and no-one complained about her.
It has been an exciting week, with a string of Multiplex witnesses taking the stand to launch scathing attacks on their former steelwork subbie. But the highlight, by common agreement in the court, has been the introduction of a new shiny clock to ensure parties stick exactly to their allotted times. This clock has been mentioned a remarkable number of times by Cleveland Bridge barrister Hugh Tomlinson, who is clearly dismayed that he can't gaze upon it all the time as it is positioned ‘far away from me and, indeed, behind me.' With such powers of deduction on its side, Cleveland Bridge surely has no need to worry.