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: Would you like to call another witness for the prosecution, Mr Badger?
Mr Badger: Yes, your honour, I would like to call Mister A.B.Fox.
Usher: Call Mister A.B.Fox.
Mister A..B. Fox is duly sworn in.
Mr Badger: You are Mister A.B.Fox, of Homeward Castle, formerly an employee of the Wolferton Detective Agency.
A.B.Fox: That is correct, Sir.
Mr Badger: And you are employed by Uncle as his personal detective, is that correct?
A.B.Fox: Yes, Sir.
Mr Badger: I am correct in thinking that you have an exemplary record in the detection of criminal activity and the apprehension of those that indulge in such activities.
A.B.Fox: I have such a reputation, I believe, Sir.
Mr Badger: Ah yes, down these mean streets a fox must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete fox and a common fox and yet an unusual fox. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a fox of honour -- by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best fox in his world and a good enough fox for any world….
Mr Hootman: Objection, M’lud… this is pure conjecture on the part of my learned counsel…
Mr Badger: I was merely attempting to show the good character of the witness M’lud.
Judge Jeffreys: Yes, well I think we have heard enough, please proceed with your questions Mr Badger.
Mr Badger: You were asked by Uncle to investigate the theft of the Wizard’s Dressing Gown?
A.B.Fox: That is correct.
Mr Badger: Whilst searching the museum premises you discovered a number of skewers in the bucket which acts as a means of exit?
A.B.Fox: Yes, I knew skewers to be the weapon of choice of Hitmouse, a member of the Badfort gang, and it was later discovered that they were covered in his fingerprints.
Mr Badger: Ah, quite so, is it possible that they had been left there whilst on some visit to the museum by Mister Hitmouse?
A.B.Fox: Well, they were not there before the theft – they could only have been left there on the evening of the theft.
Mr Badger: What about the defence's argument that Mister Hateman and Mister Hitmouse ‘accidently’ came to be locked in the Museum.
A.B.Fox: Quite frankly, that is ridiculous, we thoroughly searched the Museum that evening – they could only have been hiding and then made use of the stolen article to effect their escape.
Mr Badger: You were present when the art theft was discovered at Homeward Gallery?
A.B.Fox: I was, Sir, and we discovered a scrawled handwritten text that said: The Tyrant of Homeward - hit him where it hurts!
Mr Badger: Indeed, you recognised it as the hand of Mister Hateman?
A.B.Fox: Yes – I have seen many examples of his handwriting on blackmail notes and the like.
Mr Badger: Thank you Mister Fox, I have no further questions.
Mr Hootman: Is it not true, Mister Fox, that you rely on Uncle for a great deal of your work?
A.B.Fox: He is one of my major clients, yes.
Mr Hootman: So in all the time you have worked for him I expect you have come to understand his paranoia about certain individuals?
A.B.Fox: I do not know what you mean?
Mr Hootman: I mean that he has a pathological hatred of my client, and that as an employee you would be expected to do all you can to put him behind bars ?
A.B.Fox: I merely follow the clues and collect the evidence, it is for others to decide the course of action to be taken.
Mr Hootman: Come, come a clever fox like yourself, you know how to manoeuvre the evidence?
A.B.Fox: I don’t know what you mean.
Mr Hootman: Have you heard the expression “fitting someone up”?
A.B.Fox: If you are implying…
Mr Hootman: You have had many encounters with Mister Hitmouse, have you not?
A.B.Fox: Unfortunately, yes.
Mr Hootman: And in those encounters have you not, on occasion, forcibly taken such items, that Mister Hitmouse uses at the many barbecue parties he holds for the inhabitants of Badfort, for instance…skewers?
A.B.Fox: I have, but these skewers were not being used for culinary purposes they were being used as deadly…
Mr Hootman: So it would be a very easy matter to take them from your copius mackintosh and place them in the bucket?
A.B.Fox: Well, of course, if one were unscrupulous…
Shout from the Gallery: Yeah you stick it to him…bent detective fox!
Judge Jeffreys: If there are any more outbursts like that I shall clear the gallery! Have you any more questions for the witness.
Mr Hootman: I would just like to ask the witness to look at exhibit A. It is a handwritten article that my client was preparing for his newspaper. A review of a restaurant.
As you can see I have picked out certain words that appeared on the note found in the Gallery.
The Tyrant, of Homeward, is one of the best restaurants what we have ever dined at – a real hit. But my dining companion seemed in pain so I asked him where it hurts. He said only in his wallet !
Is it not true that this note could have been used to forge the note that you claim was written by Mister Hateman?
A.B.Fox: Well yes, but there is no knowing when this article was...