How to do a three-point turn in court

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The Independent Online
Today I bring you more of the fascinating High Court case in which Mr Sidney Delba stands accused of more than 6,000 parking offences, which is believed to be a world record (not counting offences committed by diplomats and embassy chauffeurs).

Counsel: So, Mr Delba, if I may sum up the case so far, you stand accused of leaving your car in a parking space in or near Kensington High Street for a period of over two years?

Defendant: I think that sums it up fairly well.

Counsel: In a space marked "DISABLED ONLY"?

Defendant: That is so.

Counsel: With a ghastly green plastic baby chair on the back seat?

Defendant: Correct.

Counsel: And a Frisbee and a pair of trainers?

Defendant: I believe so....

Judge: May I inquire whether learned counsel has any purpose in detailing the contents of this car? Are we going to be taken through an itemised tour of the glove compartment?

Counsel: No, my lord. I am simply lulling the defendant into a feeling of false security with a series of easy questions so that when I finally bowl him the inswinger, he doesn't see it coming.

I also wish to paint a picture of the defendant as an able-bodied man who has children and goes jogging, and is the last person who should deprive disabled people of their parking spaces, and thus turn the court against this evil monster.

Judge: Fair enough. I shall enjoy that. Carry on.

Counsel: So, Mr Delba, you go jogging? You enjoy the open air life? You have Frisbees at the ready wherever you go?

Defendant: Yes, indeed. I also find it deters car thieves to see such valueless objects lying around in a car.

Counsel: You are not, though, what one might call disabled?

Defendant: Not in a Panglossian sense.

Judge: What sense is that?

Defendant: Pangloss was the non-eponymous hero of Voltaire's work, Candide, m'lord. He was a philosopher who maintained that all was for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

Judge: That is clearly nonsense. If all was for the best, we would not have Michael Howard as Home Secretary.

Defendant: Of course it is nonsense, my lord. But Pangloss would have said that all disablement is for the best.

Judge: Would he have said that Michael Howard is all for the best?

Defendant: Pangloss was only a fictional character, my lord. But I feel sure that his creator, Voltaire, would have taken a dim view of Mr Michael Howard.

Judge: How can you be so sure?

Defendant: During his life, my lord, Voltaire was forced to flee from France, after publishing some works critical of the establishment, and take refuge in England, where he found a safe asylum. I fear he might have felt that this would have been harder with Michael Howard in charge of the Home Office.

Judge: Hmm. We seem to have strayed from ... What is the case about?

Counsel: Leaving a car for two years in a "Disabled Only" space, m'lud. May I ask you, Mr Debla, what form your disablement takes?

Defendant: I am dyslexic.

Counsel: In what sense?

Defendant: In the usual sense. I get letters in the wrong order.

Judge: You mean, you get the final demand first and the bill later??!

Counsel: Very droll, m'lud.

Defendant: Well, I don't think that is at all funny! How can a judge make caustic comments about the defendant which, coming from a defendant about a judge, would have him liable to contempt of court?

Judge: Are you accusing me a committing contempt of court?

Defendant: Yes.

Judge: Hmm. That's a new one on me. I don't think a judge can actually commit contempt of his own court. It's like the Queen being accused of lese-majeste. Or God being accused of blasphemy. I'll have to think about this one.

Defendant: Look, could we PLEASE get on with this case? My car is parked in an "Ambulance Only" space outside and I can't leave it there all day.

Judge: Court is adjourned. Let us hear in 20 minutes, after Mr Delba has moved his car, how dyslexia justifies parking in the wrong place. I shall look forward to that.

Tomorrow - the final thrilling instalment of this trend-setting court case.