Case: Rex vs Mister Beaver Hateman, Criminal Libel
Presiding Judge: Sir George Jeffreys
Counsel for the Prosecution: Godfrey Badger K.C.
Counsel for the Defence: Mister Hootman G.H.O.S.T
Mr Badger: You are Uncle, owner of Homeward Castle, is that correct?
Uncle: I am.
Mr Badger: Now you must be aware, members of the jury, of whom this elephant is. He is extremely well known in the locale, he has been involved in local politics and has taken a leading part in the social and official life of the area for many years and is respected as a benefactor…
Mr Hootman: Objection M’lud, where is my learned friend going here?...he is leading the witness and presenting opinion as fact…
Mr Badger: Your honour, I was merely attempting to fill in the background of the elephant…clearly allegations such as those made in this publication are extremely important to an elephant such as this. It is not only Beaver Hateman who is on trial here but the immense public reputation of the illustrious owner of Homeward.
Judge Jeffreys: I quite agree, you may continue your questions, Mister Badger.
Mr Badger: Thank you M’lord. Sir, Is it not true that you have bestowed many gifts on the populace?....I am thinking in particular, of course, of the great Dwarf’s Drinking Fountains…
Uncle: Yes, that is true, I do like to give aid to the less fortunate, although I do not wish to make a great fuss about these gifts…
Mr Badger: Of course not, because you are a modest elephant who only wishes to do his part for society…
Uncle: I do my best.
Mr Badger: Let us move onto the events that have led to this trial today. It all started when a Wizard’s Dressing Gown went missing from the Homeward Museum at The Pleasure Palace formerly known as Montague Tower ?
Uncle: That is correct.
Mr Badger: It was deduced by your detective that Mister Hateman was responsible for this theft?
Uncle: Yes, the evidence was clear.
Mr Hootman: Objection M’lud – this is pure conjecture – my client denies theft of any such object.
Judge Jeffreys: You shall have your chance to refute this claim. Mr Badger would you care to rephrase that question?
Mr Badger: Certainly your honour, It is your belief that Mister Hateman is responsible for the alleged theft of this dressing gown?
Uncle: It is.
Mr Badger: Following the disappearance of the dressing gown it was discovered that it had unusual properties?
Uncle: Yes, we found out that it conferred on the wearer the power of invisibility.
Mr Badger: Shortly after this, there was a raid on the Homeward Art Gallery and all the paintings were taken?
Uncle: Yes, and it could, clearly, only have been achieved under the dressing gown of invisibility – the paintings were seen to ‘float’ out of the gallery.
Mr Hootman: Objection M’lud, this is clearly the fantasy of a deranged mind.
Judge Jeffreys: I admit that this appears a somewhat strange tale – but it is clearly a key point in the prosecution.
Mr Badger: It is indeed M’lud, for we now come to the odd events that took place in Uncle’s Treasury. Can you tell us of the events of the day in question, Sir?
Uncle: Certainly, I knew that Mister Hateman would be unable to resist a chance to get into my Treasury, so I asked the King of the Badgers to pretend to make a request for funds…
Judge Jeffreys: This somewhat complicates matters, given that the prosecution has been taken in the name of our great King – is he to be called as a witness as well?
Mr Badger: It is an unusual situation but I gather the King has agreed to appear as a witness M’lud.
Judge Jeffreys: We are truly honoured, then, to be bestowed with his presence…continue…Uncle…
Uncle: Well, knowing that Mister Hateman, under the dressing gown of invisibility, would overhear this conversation and therefore be aware that he would be able to gain access to my Treasury by hiding amongst us – I prepared a trap. Cowgill, my engineer, sprayed the area around the gold with treacle an lo and behold the miscreant appeared!
Mr Badger: Yes, but he made an escape?
Uncle: Yes, he made use of a previously excavated tunnel.
Mr Badger: Then a few days later this scurrilous article appeared?
Uncle: Yes, a complete travesty of the events that had taken place.
Mr Badger: An article that has caused you both a great deal of personal hurt and public humiliation?
Uncle: I try to rise above this kind of abuse, but in this case I felt deeply wounded.
Mr Badger: Thank you, Sir, I have no more questions for this witness M,lud
Judge Jeffreys: Thank you Mr Badger – I shall now adjourn the court until tomorrow morning when defence counsel can cross-examine the witness.