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This is a question I witnessed a crime

Freddy Woo writes, "A group of us once staggered home so insensible with drink that we failed to notice someone being killed and buried in a shallow grave not more than 50 yards away. A crime unsolved to this day."

Have you witnessed a crime and done bugger all about it? Or are you a have-a-go hero?
Whatever. Tell us about it...

(, Thu 14 Feb 2008, 11:53)
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In which Teenage Chickenlady Made a Solicitor Look a Fool
My Finest Moment - The Court Story

Many months passed after the flashing incident and the wheels of justice ground slowly in Thatcher’s Britain (yes, these were the Thatcher years).

The culprit had been caught and charged but only after I had positively identified him in his school car park running to his parents’ car – he refused to do an ID parade but foolishly ran right in front of the unmarked police car where I was waiting to pick him out.

The day arrived for me to have my say in the local magistrates court – juvenile of course. I went along in school uniform with my Vice House Captain badge proudly displayed (come on, this is Chickenlady – did you expect anything less that a Vice House?). I was accompanied by my dad – he didn’t even need to take time off work, what with being a non-uniform rozzer himself.

We were ushered into the staff canteen and plied with tea and custard creams while the prosecution lawyer explained what would happen. Of course, I already knew - I had grown up watching Crown Court.

I was excited – I had spoken to my headmistress (Sister Mary) and offered to tell the entire school about my experience during assembly but sadly she told me it would be unnecessary. Now I had the opportunity to perform, as it were, in court!

As I was the prosecution witness I got to go first – called to the stand and just like Crown Court I read out the promise to tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth, while laying my sweaty palm on a battered King James.

The prosecution lawyer stood and asked me to tell the court, in my own words, exactly what had happened on the day in question. I recounted the tale pretty much as in my previous post, although I did leave out the Kafka and Freud remark. He asked me some questions about details and then sat down.

Then my potential nemesis the defence lawyer stood and smiled with reptilian superciliousness – I believe it’s a module on most law degrees these days.

“Hello Miss Chickenlady. That was a terrible experience that you went through. I do hope you’re not finding today too stressful having to stand here and tell us all about it.”

*Thinks – Are you kidding?

“No, not at all, I’m fine thanks”

“So, you are in the Sixth form at the convent. You look a fit young lady, and I see you’re a Vice House Captain. Which teams do you play for?”

*Thinks – I know where you’re going with this sunshine and it’s a pathetic line of questioning. Richard Wilson wouldn't have done that in Crown Court.

(Yes, before he was Victor Meldrew he had been a barrister for Granada TV)

“I’m on the debating team” Ha! Take that!

Lawyer looks a little crestfallen. “Not netball? You’re a tall young lady – I would have thought you would make a good goal shooter! Haha!”

*Thinks – piss off – I can’t catch and I can’t throw

“No, I’m useless at sport” (Not entirely true but school didn’t let us do yoga, hiking or competitive arrogance, although I was on the competitive talking, sorry, debating team).

“Oh. But of course you go and support your school when they’re playing against other teams don’t you? Especially as you’re a House Captain.”

*Thinks – you can still piss off

“Erm, no actually I live a long way from school and get the school bus each day so I don’t attend any matches”

*Thinks – and why on earth would I? Just to watch the brainless bimbos running around and showing their knickers while chucking a ball at each other? (Although it had been known for me to watch the local boys’ school play rugby, but that’s another matter entirely….)

“I see. Now you said in your statement that the road was deserted for that time of day. Are you normally outside school at around 2.30?”

*Thinks – I can see what you’re doing here too…bloody hell, you’re a crap lawyer

“On a Friday afternoon I’m usually walking up from the boys’ school at that time – I take one of my A levels down there, so I know that normally it’s busy” Ha! Foiled you again!

“Do you know any pupils from my client’s school?”

*Thinks – you’re clutching at straws now mate

“No, no one. I live twenty-five miles away – that’s why I was catching the bus”

“Oh. Thank you. No more questions”

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. That’s what fifty pence and an old bus ticket gets you these days – a lawyer who can’t even better a seventeen year old (I’d had my birthday by then).

Soon Granny (the owner of fifty pence and an old bus ticket now passed to said crap lawyer) was called to the stand and she quietly perjured herself in the very best Ealing comedy style: “Yes sir, ‘ee wos wiv ‘is dear old gran all the time. 'Ee's a good boy 'ee is”
But isn’t that what grannies are for?

Then Mum got up there and if ever the cliché Rabbit in the Headlights was personified it was this poor woman. Except she didn’t appear to have even the gumption of a rabbit – a harvest mouse was nearer. She too perjured herself, nodded a great deal and whispered that her dear son would never do anything like that to a nice young convent girl – he’s frightened of girls you see….And she appeared frightened of the entire world.

Father of the perv remained at the back of the court room throughout and he was perhaps the most interesting character.

He was over six foot tall, still had the look of a 1970s striking worker who hasn’t seen a hot meal in months, Del Boy car coat in grease brown, Teddy Boy hair slicked by latent dirtbag and brylcreem, and the memory skills of a doting parent on the opening night of the school play when their child has the leading part.

Finally said perv was called and his treatment by the fifty pence bus ticket lawyer was similar to mine with the prosecuting lawyer – “Just tell us your version of events son, all everyone wants to hear is the truth, okay?”

Perv boy’s eyes flick over to Father who nods in encouragement. Perv boy begins to tell the story of leaving school early because he goes to keep his dear old granny company and granny lives in the other direction from the bus stop and he didn’t even walk past it and he didn’t see the young lady and he's never seen her before today and he's an honest boy who never lies and he's good to his granny too, honest.

His eyes continued to flick to Father.

I look over at Father….yes; he really is the doting parent, why he’s even helped his beloved boy to learn his lines. In fact he’s reciting them along with Perv Boy.

I nudge the police officer sitting next to me and nod over towards Father. The police officer sees and nudges the other officer sitting next to him. One of the magistrates sees us nudging and nodding – think Churchill on speed (the insurance dog not he of WW2 and cigars – although I dare say he also did a fair bit of nodding in his time, but was of course more known for sticking his fingers up at the Nazis).

The magistrate then realises what’s going on and starts his own nudging and nodding.

Soon enough it was all over – the magistrates retired to decide on Perv Boy’s fate and I went off to eat more custard creams with the friendly rozzers.

We were called back within half an hour – the magistrates had also had a custard cream or two while deciding the outcome I dare say.

The verdict was as everyone, except Perv Boy and his family, had expected – Guilty.

I returned to school high on biscuits, smugness and a rather short lived belief in the fairness of the British Justice System.
(, Wed 20 Feb 2008, 21:26, 7 replies)
How evocatively and eloquently told :o)
Now I want custard creams and you to tell me a bedtime story EVERY night...

Except I still wouldn't sleep for giggling.

3 cheers for justice!

Never mind throwing 'the book' at perv boy, throw a roll of Izal! That'll show him good & proper. HMF!

Yeah, I used to watch Crown Court too, at my Granny's - twas pay-off for being allowed to watch Trumpton / Chigley / Camberwick Green.
(, Wed 20 Feb 2008, 23:21, closed)
Click as well
HOwever, you failed to mention what happened to the little...erm...tosser.


(, Wed 20 Feb 2008, 23:36, closed)
I failed to mention what happened to Perv boy
because I don't know.....

I realise I should simply have asked my dad a few weeks later - they put aside sentencing until 'reports' had been carried out - the lad was quite clearly screwed up in a major fashion not least of all by his horrible father. But for some reason I have never mentioned this episode to my parents again, ever.

My dad did tell me on the day of the trial if anything like that should happen to me again then I should grab their balls and pull and twist like hell. Except my dad didn't mention the word Balls - instead he said "There'll be something hanging down behind their willy" - bless him he thought I was an innocent little thing.
(, Thu 21 Feb 2008, 8:31, closed)
A wonderful story but I'm now desperate for a custard cream.
(, Thu 21 Feb 2008, 9:54, closed)
A wonderful tale! I salute you, chickenlady.
(Crackhouseceilidhband - President of the school debating society, Prefect, and total geek.)
(, Thu 21 Feb 2008, 9:56, closed)
Justice is served! *click*
(, Thu 21 Feb 2008, 10:22, closed)
I feel
sorry for the lawyer, being remembered as useless. Quite often you'll get a client facing a mountain of decent evidence (e.g. Convent school house captain with no reason to lie!), who simply refuses to plead guilty, and even though you know the witnesses are telling the truth, you have to do your best to discredit them. It's proabably no reflection on the lawyer that they made no headway in cross-examining you.

But still, *click*, and HUZZAH for justice (although you certainly wouldn't get custard creams round my way!).
(, Thu 21 Feb 2008, 10:49, closed)

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