A pretend bad leg meets the long arm of the law

'Having a disability parking permit allows you to park in lots of inaccessible places. They are like gold dust'
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The Independent Online

Did you know that it is illegal to limp if there is nothing wrong with your leg? Well, that would seem to be the case, judging by a very odd trial going on at the moment in the law courts. It involves a Mr Harry Waxstone, who is accused of limping fraudulently in order to get a parking space. Perhaps an extract from the trial would clarify things.

Counsel: Now, Mr Waxstone, I believe I am right in saying that on 14 July last year you were connected with in an incident involving a broken window, a parked car and a chase down Kensington Church Street.

Waxstone: If that is what you believe, who am I to gainsay you?

Counsel: Will you please answer the question?

Waxstone: You didn't actually ask me a question, so I can't answer it. I, on the other hand, did ask you a question. You never answered it.

Counsel: What question?

Waxstone: If that is what you believe, who am I to gainsay you?

Counsel: I'm sorry?

Judge: If I may intervene here...

Counsel: Certainly, m'lud.

Judge: Mr Waxstone, if we were to wait for barristers to phrase their questions in the form of questions every time they wanted an answer, we would be here all day. You see, they get bored with asking plain questions. So they think of other ways of asking them, just to relieve the tedium. It is up to us to humour them. Do you understand?

Waxstone: Yes.

Judge: Good. Carry on, Mr Krewley.

Counsel: Thank you, m'lud. Now, Mr Waxstone, I take it you know which incident in Kensington Church Street I was referring to.

Waxstone: Is that another of those pseudo-questions you mentioned?

Judge: Well spotted.

Waxstone: Thank you. Yes, I remember it well.

Counsel: Would I be correct in saying that you had parked your car in a small street off Kensington Church Street, and were just returning to it when you spotted that the windscreen had been broken?

Waxstone: You would be correct.

Counsel: Why do you think it had been broken?

Waxstone: So that someone could steal my disability parking permit, which was displayed on the windscreen.

Counsel: Why would anyone want to do that?

Waxstone: Well, having one of these permits allows you to park in lots of otherwise inaccessible places. They're like gold dust. Especially in London.

Counsel: What happened next?

Waxstone: I saw the bloke running off with the permit, so I gave chase.

Counsel: Did you catch him?

Waxstone: I most certainly did. Nobody does the dirty on Harry Waxstone and gets away with it.

Counsel: This was a pretty impressive feat for a disabled man. Can you tell the court how disabled you are?

Waxstone: Ah, well, no, I can't really. You see the thing is...

Counsel: The thing is, Mr Waxstone, that you are not disabled at all. You bought your disability parking permit on the black market, didn't you? You affixed it to your windscreen and used it dishonestly to get disabled parking.

Waxstone: Is that a question?

Judge: Yes.

Waxstone: Yes, I did.

Counsel: Not only that, but we shall call witnesses who will testify that they saw you limping very badly as you approached the car, and that when you saw the windscreen broken and the man disappearing with your permit, you suddenly threw down your stick and miraculously regained the full use of your legs.

Waxstone: Was that a question?

Judge: No. He's just showing off at the moment.

Counsel: I therefore put it to you that not only were you perfectly able-bodied, but you were guilty of masquerading as a disabled person.

Waxstone: That's not illegal. It's not against the law to pretend to be ill.

Counsel: Oh, but it is, Mr Waxstone, if it is done for financial gain! If you were to pretend to an injury and claim insurance for it, would it not be an illegal act?

Waxstone: Yes, but I was entitled to chase a bloke who was stealing my parking permit, wasn't I?

Counsel: Ah, but it wasn't yours, was it? It actually belonged to someone you didn't know called Oliver Hardy (no relation), who suffers from Kromer's disease. What you also didn't know was that the man who had taken your permit was the same Oliver Hardy, so that in a sense he wasn't stealing anything, merely reclaiming his own property from the man he had every reason to assume had stolen it from him!

Judge: This is all getting far too exciting for me. Let's adjourn for a moment and see how the test match is getting on.

More of this tomorrow, I hope

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