Croydon? Sorry, I was on another planet

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The Independent Online
The most amazing case is taking place at the moment in the High Court, where, for the first time in British law, a defendant is offering an extra-terrestrial alibi as a defence. Drew Webster, 26, is accused of shoplifting in a store in Croydon but he claims that it is impossible as he was on Mars at the time.

Here is some of the intriguing testimony, given when Webster himself was on the stand.

Counsel: Your name is Drew Webster?

Webster: That is my name on Earth, yes.

Counsel: You have another name elsewhere?

Webster: Yes.

Counsel: Would you care to enlighten the court as to what it is?

Webster: Yes. On Mars I am known as Zick-Zack.

Counsel: Are you, indeed? Uncommon sort of name, isn't it?

Webster: Not on Mars.

Counsel: And why are you not called Drew Webster on Mars as you are here?

Webster: It is a difficult name for them to pronounce. They have trouble with Rs and Ws.

Counsel: Do they indeed? So what sort of names do they have on Mars, Mr Webster?

Webster: Mig-Mog, Tank-Top, Lib-Lab, Dim-Sum, Tick-Tock, Flip-Flop ...

Counsel: All double-barrelled names, are they, Mr Webster?

Webster: The ordinary people have double-barrelled names on Mars. Only the posh ones have single names.

Counsel: I see. Now, before we come to the subject of your alibi, perhaps you could tell the court what it is you do for a living?

Webster: Certainly. I am a Hugh Grant look-alike.

Judge: May I interrupt here for a moment? You may think me very out of touch, Mr Webster, but who is Hugh Grant and what exactly is a Hugh Grant look-alike?

Webster: Hugh Grant is a film star, M'lud. It would be very expensive to hire him for personal appearances. Luckily, I look a lot like him, so people hire me instead.

Judge: And when you turn up, do people think you are Hugh Grant?

Webster: No, M'lud.

Judge: Good. Because we might have you up for false pretences if they did.

Webster: When someone looking like Hugh Grant turns up to open a laundromat in Croydon, most people realise that it is not him. Film stars do not open laundromats in Croydon.

Judge: I see. Is there much money in this look-alike business?

Webster: While it lasts. Of course the risk is that I will stop looking like Hugh Grant.

Judge: Or that he will stop looking like you.

Webster: Indeed. By the way, M'lud, has anyone ever pointed out to you that you have a remarkable resemblance to the Duke of Edinburgh?

Judge: It has occasionally been suggested ...

Webster: Could be sitting on a gold mine, there, M'lud.

Judge: Could I? Hmmm ... Carry on, please.

Counsel: Now, Mr Webster, where were you on the afternoon of 17 July last year?

Webster: On Mars, sir.

Counsel: I see. And what were you doing on the planet Mars?

Webster: I was at a party.

Counsel: Oh - they have parties in the afternoon on Mars, do they?

Webster: No, sir. It wasn't afternoon on Mars. It was early evening. It was only afternoon in Croydon.

Counsel: May I ask if it was a good party, this party on Mars ?

Webster: All parties on Mars tend to be good.

Counsel: May I ask why?

Webster: Well, nobody has ever heard of Hugh Grant, for a start, so I don't get people coming up and asking me how Liz Hurley is, or how Divine is ...

Judge: How divine what is?

Counsel: My Lord, I don't think it would profit us to go too deeply into the matter of Miss Divine. It would not mean much to you.

Judge: You may well be right. The only Divine I ever met was a large cuddly Californian prostitute. Carry on!

Counsel: May I inquire how you got to Mars?

Webster: I was taken aboard a large spacecraft and whisked there.

Counsel: Quick journey to Mars, is it?

Webster: Travelling first-class, yes, sir.

Counsel: I see. And how many classes are there?

Webster: Eighty-six altogether. Mars is a very class-ridden society.

Judge: Very like the Duke of Edinburgh, you say?

Webster: I think so, M'lud.

Judge: Hmm ...Well, try this, then ... A maniac with a gun is no more dangerous than a maniac with a cricket bat! Recognise that?

Webster: The resemblance is breathtaking, M'lud.

Judge: Thank you. Carry on!

More of this disturbing trial tomorrow.

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