Thursday, 2 February 2012

Schamozzled defendants.

This is an excerpt taken from a publication in 2011 by William (Bill) Othams.  It is reprinted with permission.  

Possibly my most extraordinary success was to win a Magistrate’s verdict in favour of my client on an assault charge, when my client turned up drunk and spent the entire trial sleeping on the bench behind me (of which I was unaware until the faces the Magistrate was making obliged me to look behind me; as there was no guarantee that my client would not turn up equally drunk on any other day, I just shrugged my shoulders in response to the Magistrate’s facial contortions, and carried on). 

My client was alleged to have assaulted his girlfriend’s elderly mother, and he admitted hitting her but said that he was acting in self-defence after she had attacked him with a vacuum cleaner. 

My client’s comatose state allowed me to conduct my cross-examination of the alleged victim uninhibited by any concern about what my client might think about the line I took.  I accordingly put it to the witness that my client was an absolute prick, a parasite who bludged off her daughter and a total no-hoper in respect of whom it was only reasonable that she should be moved to beat him about the head with a vacuum cleaner.  We rapidly achieved consensus on the issue of my client’s many and manifest failings, and the witness then smilingly agreed that she had indeed attacked my client with a vacuum cleaner.   The Magistrate had to dismiss the charge against my client without him being obliged to give evidence. I woke him up, informed him of the outcome and he lurched off in the direction of the hotel whence he had appeared that morning.  However, he did come up to me the next day, to ask what penalty he had received.
I would LOVE to read the text of that cross examination!


  1. I wonder how well this would have worked had the defendant been awake? Would he have complained?

  2. Apparently the defendant, upon hearing how the cross examination went, proceeded to laugh uncontrollably, before downing the rest of his carton of goon.