Saturday, September 30, 2006
Thinking about the procession of judges that is to take place on Monday, I am reminded of a tale of the old days of Assizes, when the Sessions were opened by a procession of civic dignitaries and judges, mace bearers and all. As the gorgeously robed and bewigged judges approached the court building a man in the crowd made a traditional two-fingered gesture at the leading judge. The judge promptly ordered a police officer to arrest the man, and to bring him into court when required.
A young barrister was sent down to the cells to take instructions, and later in the morning, after his client had been placed in the dock, he delivered his mitigation.
"My Lord, my client wants me to say on his behalf how upset and shocked he is at having caused you offence. Of course he does not deny making a coarse gesture, but he does deny making it at your Lordship. He mistakenly assumed that you were the Mayor".
His Lordship graciously agreed to accept the apology and ordered the man's release. What the Mayor thought about it all is not recorded,.