The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Floreat Etona

Posh lawyers don't spend a lot of time in the magistrates'court. A few young barristers who fancy a life of crime flit through the grubby end of the trade on their way to the Crown Court and the Old Bailey, but on the whole we get a different type of defence brief.

We were graced one day by the presence of an exquisitely pin-striped and beautifully spoken stiff-collared young man whose haircut was strongly suggestive of Eton College (or Slough Grammar as it was known at my provincial university).

He shimmered to his immaculately-shod feet. "May it please your worships" (running fingers through his mane, removing blonde mop from line of vision) "Due to a happy concatenation of circumstances we find ourselves in a position to progress my client's case this morning".

"Swipe me!" was my first thought. My second was to suppress a grin prompted by my having caught the eye of John Cochrane, a down-to-earth local solicitor who is a fixture in our court, and whose rolling eyes were a dead giveaway of his thoughts.

By chance I bumped into John a few days later in the local pub known as Court Seven. We could not resist talking about Mr. Pinstripe, and I finished up betting John a pound that he couldn't fit in the word 'concatenation' in front of me one day. I lost.

I have subsequently learned that advocates often challenge each other to introduce unlikely words in their address to the court without prompting a rebuke or a query from the chair. The daftest that I have heard of is 'hypostasis'. How the perpetrator got away with that I cannot imagine, but he did, or so he claims.