Sunday, 2 September 2012
A case I witnessed in Crown Court in Warwick (at the now defunct Shire Hall) in 1989.
For my Law A level we organised a trip to the public gallery of the local Crown Court for my 2nd year class. We were warned to stand for the judge who looked about 90 and appeared to be decomposing.
When we got to a case of Violent, Alcy Dad, the defending barrister clearly realised he was onto a loser and tried desperate methods to get clemency for his mullet haired monstrosity of a client.
He copped guilty for two more serious offences but NG to "Threatening to Kill". His brief asked that in light of his humility in admitting the two more howwid offences, would the court consider waiving TTK?
The judge agreed.
The brief then went on to some rambling pile of drivel about how his client fully accepted that he couldn't see his son without his ex's express written permission AND fully accepted that he shouldn't have turned up drunk to her house and forcibly taken the boy round to his place.
Further he was deeply sorry that he'd reacted to the police showing up with his ex...by dangling his 5 year old son out the upstairs window by his arms and threatening to drop him if the police didn't leave him in peace.
The barrister then paused and tried the next, rather distasteful line of reasoning.
"My Lord, my client was having a nice evening with his son and it was the presence of the police that caused him to react like this. Had they left him alone then he would not have done this. It was their fault for turning up and making my client angry. He loves his son very much my Lord and simply wanted to spend some time with him."
The whole time this piffle had been spoken, the judge had sat motionless looking like he'd dozed off. Suddenly like the Terminator coming back to life after a chip reset, he sat up and snapped the question:
"Counsel, does your client pay his ex any maintenance for his son?"
"Err...my Lord I don't see how this is relevant."
"Answer the question counsel."
"I don't believe so my Lord, no."
"How much money does your client make a week in his building job?"
"Errr...(inspects papers) I believe it's about £250 pounds a week my Lord."
The judge sneers and then says "Loves his son very much?!! Makes £250 a week yet doesn't pay any maintenance to support him?!! Rubbish!!! 3 months on top of the six already suspended. Take him down."