Here is an excerpt from an exciting moment yesterday, when Scroop was being cross-examined by Jettison's counsel.
Counsel: You are Gavin Scroop?
Scroop: That is quite correct.
Counsel: Unusual name, isn't it?
Scroop: Not at all. Gavin is quite common these days, not to say fashionable. It's a sort of up-market version of Kevin.
Counsel: I dare say. However, I was referring to 'Scroop'.
Scroop: Not at all uncommon. In its various spellings such as 'Scroup', 'Scrope' and 'Scroupe', it reoccurs throughout history. One of Lord Byron's bosom friends was, I believe, called Scrope . . . .
Counsel: So it's quite common?
Scroop: Yes . . . .
Counsel: Have you ever met anyone else called Gavin Scroop?
Scroop: Er, no.
Counsel: What age are you?
Scroop: I am 39 years old.
Counsel: You have been alive for 39 years, more than half your allotted life-span, and yet in that time you have never met another person called Gavin Scroop?
Counsel: You would have known of his existence, had he existed, would you not?
Scroop: Yes . . . .
Counsel: So, in all your life you have never known of anyone else called Gavin Scroop. Yet you insist it is a common name] You are, as far as you know, the only person with that name. Yet you maintain it is common] Do you honestly expect the court to swallow such mendacious behaviour?
Scroop: Well, I . . .
Judge: Excuse me, but may I ask where this is all leading? You've been questioning the witness for five minutes, and all you've done is elicit his name.
Counsel: A bit more than that, m'lord. I have also established that he is totally unreliable, even about the commonness of his own name, and I believe I have succeeded in badly unsettling him, thus softening him up for the next round of questions.
Judge: Good] This is more like the confrontational system. Wear the witness down till he breaks, that's the stuff. None of your bloody continental search-for- the-truth stuff here, thank God]
Counsel: No, m'lord.
Judge: Right. Do we now get to the bit about the chap knocking on the other chap's door?
Counsel: Yes, m'lord.
Counsel: Now, Mr Scroop, on 14 July last was there a knock on your door at 10.30am?
Scroop: Yes, there was.
Counsel: Did you open the door?
Scroop: I did.
Counsel: Is it an inward- or outward-opening door?
Scroop: Er, it's, let me see . . .
Counsel: DOES IT OPEN IN OR OUT, YES OR NO]]
Judge: Is this important, or is it merely more of your unsettling technique?
Counsel: The latter, m'lord. I'm still getting him rattled.
Judge: Jolly good. Keep at it.
Scroop: I now remember that I opened the door inwards.
Counsel: Your memory is returning, is it, Mr Gavin so-called-common-name Scroop? And whom did you see on the other side of your inward-opening door?
Scroop: I saw the man I now know to be Ron Jettison.
Counsel: Can you describe him?
Counsel: Remarkable. Had you seen him before in your life?
CounseEl: Or again since?
Counsel: So, you caTHER write errorn describe accurately a man you have seen only once in your life, yet you ask the court to believe you cannot remember whether you pull or push a door you use constantly?
Scroop: If you put it like that . . . .
Counsel: What did Jettison say?
Scroop: Er, he said that he was selling things door-to-door to try to beat the unemployment problem and would I like to look in his bag of merchandise.
Counsel: To which you said?
Scroop: I said I wouldn't and that I was fed up with junk callers.
Counsel: What did you mean?
Scroop: It was by analogy with junk mail. Junk mail is unwanted, cheap rubbish that you get through the post and which you normally throw away. I classed this call in the same category.
Counsel: You admit you called my client unwanted, cheap and worthless, fit only for the dustbin?
Scroop: No. I put his visit in that class, not the man himself.
Judge: That's clever. You haven't got him rattled enough yet, Sid, I feel.
Counsel: I fear you may be right, m'lord.
(More of the trial next week, I hope . . . .)Reuse content