Adams’ trial took place in March 1957. Sir Frederick Geoffrey Lawrence QC, who acted as Adams' defence, made a point that the charge was based mainly on testimonies from the nurses who had tended Mrs. Morrell.
It transpired that Mrs Morell had been cared for on a 24-hour basis by a team of four nurses. The nurses testified that it had been Dr Bodkin Adams’s practice to inject his patients with grossly excessive doses of pain-killing drugs such as morphine and heroin. Despite been deeply shocked and suspicious of this behaviour they felt that as nurses there was little could they do.
The situation looked bleak for Dr Adams until Lawrence cross-examined the first of the nurses who had given such damning evidence. Lawrence managed to procure from her the fact that all injections given to Mrs Morrell had been carefully recorded in a notebook, together with details of her condition at all stages during her illness. This procedure was standard practice for any terminally ill patient.
When Lawrence produced not just one but eight notebooks, overlooked by police investigations, they proved to contain every detail of Mrs Morell’s treatment for several years before her death. The nurses themselves had also written in them and during examination of the notes it was discovered that their memories failed to correlate with their verbal evidence in court.
Could it have been the case that these nurses had allowed themselves to be influenced by malicious gossip circulating in the town?
Also in Adams’ favour was the fact that only one of the prosecution's two expert medical witnesses was prepared to say that murder had been committed. Lawrence was also able to demonstrate that he was not a reliable witness.
Dr. Adams' defence had managed to prevent him being forced to appear in the witness stand and as a result no evidence from Gertrude Hullett's case, including the testimony of a nurse, was allowed to be produced in court. This particular nurse, who had worked with Adams while attending Hullett in July 1956, had allegedly remarked to him: 'You do realise, doctor, that you have killed her?'
On 15 April 1957, it took the jury only 45 minutes to find Adams not guilty.