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A tale of two lawyers - an ongoing sagaMinimize

The protagonists in this on going saga of legal mayhem are:

ERASMUS SMITH: Erasmus is in his mid –thirties, single, an eminent barrister, who always works for the defence. He and his protagonist, Pontifex Jones, were at Law School together and hate each other with a passion.

PONTIFEX JONES: Pontifex is also in her mid –thirties, single, an equally eminent barrister, who always works for the prosecution. She thinks Erasmus is a male chauvinistic pig and does not care that he sees her as a feral feminist.

The Clerk to Erasmus is Belinda Grace and the Clerk to Pontifex is Claude Fellows; between them, they take an almost fiendish delight in ensuring that wherever possible, they help to ensure that sparks fly when these two meet in Court.

Today, we will recount the case of James Fish (no relation to the legendary Albert Haddock), who was charged with larceny and theft by finding, to wit, a quantity of fruit.

Pontifex, a vegetarian by choice, was personally appalled as much by the destruction of the fruit by the police, as she was by the alleged theft of the fruit. She held the police officer laying the information against James personally responsible and cross examined him to within an inch of his life.

When his turn came, Erasmus questioned the police officer very gently, soothing his shattered countenance and elicited a great deal of sympathy for James from the police officer.

The defence case was that James Fish came upon a quantity of fruit in an alley and that the said fruit appeared to have been abandoned. Being a civic minded person who did not approve of litter, he was putting the fruit into his van, for taking to the Salvation Army, when he was accosted by a man claiming to be the owner of such fruit, who accused James of stealing the fruit.

According to this alleged owner, he had been taken short and had left his fruit to go in search of a toilet. On his way back to the fruit he had met a friend and stopped of to have a coffee or two with this friend. Upon being accosted, James apologised and proceeded to unload his van, where he had placed the fruit, prior to taking it to the Salvation Army.

This thoughtful action did not placate the putative owner of the fruit, who rejoiced in the name of Quintas Fogg. This worthy then purported to place James under citizen’s arrest and instructed James to assist him in taking the fruit to the customer, for whom it was intended. James, being a law abiding person, did as he was requested and after the fruit had been delivered to the customer, accompanied Quintas to the nearest police station.

The constable on duty at the front desk of the police station had only recently graduated from the police academy and was very keen to do everything very properly. With James and Quintas, he went to the customer and impounded the fruit as evidence of the theft. Upon returning to the police station, he placed the fruit in the evidence cupboard and then proceeded to fill in all the required paperwork.

This brings us to the destruction of the fruit; due to the delay in bringing the case to court, the fruit lost its bloom and started to emit a somewhat less than pleasant odour. The young constable was instructed to photograph the fruit and then thoughtfully dispose of it.

Back to the trial; next up to bat after the constable was Quintas, a very volatile man of some sixty summers, who was led very expertly through his evidence, such as it was, by Pontifex. Erasmus, being aware that Quintas had a very short fuse, goaded him by suggesting that he had short changed his customer because it appeared that Quintas had not replaced the fruit impounded by the police, which fruit had been paid for in advance. In response to this, Quintas leapt out of the witness box and would have punched Erasmus if he had not been restrained.

This gave Erasmus the chance to compare this violent behaviour with the compliant behaviour of James, who was painted as a most reasonable man.
Pontifex, sensing that Erasmus was up to no good, asked the Judge hearing the case to censor Erasmus for his errant behaviour.

Erasmus responded that he was acting in the best traditions of the Bar and the Judge, being a traditionalist, agreed with Erasmus and refused to censor him.

Overcome by what she perceived as a male conspiracy, Pontifex let fly with one of her best feminist critiques of male paternalism, which did not help her case very much.

When such calm as could be restored was restored, James took the stand, replete with a note book, two pens and a collection of typed sheets. Pontifex questioned James as to why he was so equipped, to which James replied he had a poor memory, so he was proposing to write her questions down and then refer to the typed sheets to ensure he gave as true and thoughtful answer as was possible, seeing as how he had taken an oath to do just that. This did not find favour with Pontifex, who by now was out for blood and she went for James, subjecting him to a barrage of quick fire questions, which not only confused James, but also the Judge hearing the case.

At length, her venom spent, she drew breath and sat down. As it was now lunch time, a break in hostilities was called and peace reigned in the courtroom until the hearing commenced about an hour later.

Erasmus began his examination of James by asking why he James, had pleaded not guilty and thought he was innocent. Pontifex immediately objected on the grounds that Erasmus was leading the witness; Erasmus responded that it was important to explore whether James had the requisite criminal intent or not and the Judge agreed to allow the question. As James was expounding forth, Pontifex killed three innocent pencils by breaking them into small pieces, while at the same time grinding her teeth together, which only momentarily affected the eloquence of James.

After this, Pontifex and Erasmus summed up their respective cases and the Judge reserved his decision. Subsequently James was found not quilty and Belinda and Claude had their usual de –brief, over a good dinner and felt that everyone involved had got their just deserts.


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