Thursday, 27 March 2008

Crown Court - Transcript - Day 14

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

Judge Jeffreys: Members of the Jury, you have now heard all the evidence that is to be given in this court case, and you have had the benefit of speeches from two very able and experienced counsel. It is now your duty to decide the facts of the case and it is my duty to decide the law. As for the law, I can safely tell you that the allegations contained in the article were libellous unless they were true.

Of course, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury it is for you to decide whether it was true or not. In law the libel was defamatory in that it was calculated to bring Uncle into public ridicule and would damage him in his professional capacity. The defendant admits publishing the document and admits that it is a defamatory libel, but he denies that he is guilty on the basis that he was justified in writing what he did. The issue then is did Uncle attack Mister Hateman without due cause and provocation, as reported in the article.

Plainly there is a direct contradiction in evidence – how do you decide who is telling the truth?

Mister Hootman has suggested that you should have no regard for Uncle’s fine personal and public record. Now, with all due respect to Mister Hootman, this is quite wrong. Such a record is a factor to be considered when you weigh the evidence. He is an elephant of immense achievement and reputation. Men, women and elephants who enjoy the respect of society are often very conscious that they can lose that respect by a single sideways step from the straight and narrow path of proper conduct.

You might think it very improbable that Uncle did what is alleged; knock Mister Hateman about, a bit, if so you should allow his good conduct to weigh the scales of justice in his favour.

The defence must prove beyond reasonable doubt, that Uncle did attack Mister Hateman in this uncharacteristic manner, and you must convict the defendant if you are not sure. Now that, Ladies and Gentlemen, of the jury is the test. Not much of one really.

As for all the talk of magic and fantasy, I ask you to bear in mind, as my friend, the noble astrophysicist, Mister Eric Idle has said, that you are standing on a planet that's evolving and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour, that's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, a sun that is the source of all our power. Furthermore, the sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see are moving at a million miles a day in an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour, of the galaxy we call the "Milky Way".

Of course, our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars and it is a hundred thousand light years side to side. Apparently, it bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick, but out by us, it's just three thousand light years wide. Also, we are thirty thousand light years from galactic central point and we go around every two hundred million years.
Members of the Jury, it is also important to note that, our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe.

I hope that has cleared up that point.

In conclusion, I need only say that if you are convinced of the dubious allegations of the defendant then you must bring in a verdict of not guilty but if on the other hand if you think it is a complete and utter fabrication you must find him guilty.

Now members of the jury will you kindly retire and consider your verdict. Should take you about five minutes, then we can all have tea.

Clerk of the Court: All stand.

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