You can't trust anyone these days

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The Independent Online

It's time to test you on your knowledge of the news again!

It's time to test you on your knowledge of the news again!

Today I am bringing you a round-up of stories from the law courts, all about the current mania for people suing other people. One of them, however, is made up. All you have to do is spot the wrong 'un. Ready? Here we go, then!

1. A woman is suing a hotel in the Midlands on the grounds that they forced her to put food in her hair.

When Mrs Jessica Trainer washed her hair in the bathroom of Room 453 in the palatial Spaghetti Junction Hotel (motto: "Convenient for At Least Three Motorways"), she chose to use the free pot of lemon shampoo offered by the hotel. Far from making her hair clean, it seemed to make it sticky and leave it full of bits. On examination, she found that the pot contained, not lemon shampoo, but lemon marmalade.

The makers of the shampoo (Taiwan Hair Lotions, Chutneys and Furniture Polishes) admit that an error in the packaging department had led to a batch of pots labelled "shampoo" to contain clear lemon marmalade. They claim in their defence that there is nothing in lemon marmalade which could damage hair and indeed that it was probably good for it. The case continues.

2. Frank Sampson had been working as a CCTV monitor for the Midlands Police for a year and a half before he realised that he himself was being covertly observed. He is now suing his employers for invasion of privacy.

His job is to supervise a large bank of TV screens, covering public behaviour in the inner city area of Coventry. One day he noticed that behind him in the monitoring room at ceiling height there was a very small camera pointed at him. It turned out that he was under surveillance too.

"Oh, yes, we long ago adopted a policy of monitoring those who monitor others," said a senior officer. "Almost every activity undertaken by the police is now on film. This court case is being covertly recorded by untraceable cameras and microphones."

The judge ordered the court to be cleared and searched, but no trace was found. It later transpired that the officer himself had been wearing concealed mini-cameras on his person.

3. A man is suing the National Trust for invasion of privacy. Mr Hugo Whitewall bought several packets of National Trust seeds last year. He sowed them and duly they came up in his garden, making a fine show in his herbaceous border. However, he was not so pleased when he found a group of strangers in his garden admiring the flowers. He was even less pleased when he learnt that they were National Trust members, who were entitled under the conditions of sale to visit all gardens where National Trust seed was sown.

After his garden began to be visited daily by National Trust members, some of them asking for tea and biscuits or trying to buy tea cloths, Mr Whitewall called in solicitors to deal with the situation. As the visitors still came in droves, he pulled up all the flowers. The National Trust is now taking him to court for desecration of National Trust property.

4. A woman in Wiltshire who was injured by cattle is now involved in a court case with the farmer. The odd thing is that it is the farmer who is suing the woman.

Apparently Mrs Baker was jostled and rolled on by the cows in full view of witnesses, who all testified that Mrs Baker had done nothing to provoke them and was on a public footpath. Never fully recovered from the incident, Mrs Baker was expected to sue the farmer for damages. So far she has not taken him to court. The farmer's state of mind has been badly affected by the anticipation of the case, and he can now stand it no longer and has taken out an action against her for mental cruelty. He is thus said to be the first person in a British court who has ever sued someone for not suing them...


Well? Did you spot that the item about lemon marmalade was a load of hooey? Good!

Of course, so were all the others as well. Honestly, you can't trust anyone these days.