There was an early victory for the plaintiff and the judge handed over a fiver

Share
Related Topics
A most extraordinary case is going on in the High Court, which has been brought by a newspaper reader against his newspaper. If the reader wins the case, it could cost the newspaper millions of pounds. The reader claims, simply, that the newspaper is no longer a newspaper in any meaningful meaning of the word, and should cease passing itself off as such.

You will get some flavour of the trial with this extract from Monday's proceedings ...

Counsel: Your name is Higgs?

Higgs: It is.

Counsel: And what is your first name, Mr Higgs?

Higgs: Higgs has always been my name. There was never any other name which I had before it. It always has been and still is my first name.

Counsel: No, I don't mean first name in that sense. I mean, in the sense of a first name being a Christian name. What is your Christian name?

Higgs: There is nothing unChristian about the name Higgs, I hope.

Counsel: No, I suppose not. In that case, what is your forename?

Higgs: George.

Counsel: So your name is George Higgs?

Higgs: Partly.

Counsel: How can your name be partly George Higgs?

Higgs: Because there is more of it that you have left out.

Counsel: You mean - your full name is longer than that?

Higgs: Appreciably.

Counsel: So, what is your full name?

Higgs: My full name is George B. R. Higgs.

Counsel: What does the B. stand for?

Higgs: I'd ... I'd rather not say.

Counsel: Why not?

Higgs: Because you might laugh.

Counsel: Mr Higgs, there is no danger of that. This is a very serious court of law.

Higgs: Then I can tell you that the B stands for Brenda.

Counsel: Brenda?

(He roars with laughter).

Higgs: My Lord, is he allowed to laugh at my answers?

Judge: Only if they are funny. If laughter were not allowed in court, who would ever laugh at my jokes?

Counsel: That's very good, my Lord! Nice one!

(He roars with laughter again.)

Judge: That wasn't a joke, you fool. Now get on with it.

Counsel: Very good, my Lord. Now, Mr Higgs, are you seriously asking the court to believe that the B in your initials stands for Brenda?

Higgs: Yes. I was given a girl's name among others because my parents hoped I would be a girl.

Counsel: Come, come, Mr Higgs. By the time you were named you had been born and they must have known your gender.

Higgs: Ah, but they never gave up hope. They wanted a girl very badly. They thought that one day I might grow up to want to change sex, and have an operation, and become a woman, and then they would have a girl after all. Called Brenda.

Counsel: I see. What does the R stand for?

Higgs: I'd rather not say.

Counsel: Ah! Another girl's name, is it?

Higgs: No.

Counsel: Boy's name, then?

Higgs: No.

Counsel: Come, Mr Higgs! It must be one or the other!

Higgs: Not necessarily.

Judge: Mr Higgs, I have presided over many many trials, and seen many witnesses, plaintiffs and defendants give their names, but I have never yet come across one which could not be assigned to either sex. I am prepared to wager that the name concealed by the letter R is no different.

Higgs: How much?

Judge: pounds 5. Now, I am extremely curious to hear what the R stands for. Come - tell us!

Higgs: It does not stand for anything. It is merely an initial. My full name is George Brenda R. Higgs.

Counsel: But why on earth would your parents give you an initial instead of a name?

Higgs: To save me embarrassment. If they had not inserted an "R", my initials would have been G.B.H.

Judge: That is true. Here's a fiver.

Higgs: Thank you, my Lord.

Counsel: Now, Mr George Brenda R. Higgs, it is your contention that the Daily Post, which styles itself a national newspaper, is in fact no such thing. Am I correct?

Higgs: Indeed. Most of its contents is not news, and what little there is is inaccurate. If the Daily Post took as much trouble over investigating anything as you have showed merely in checking my name, then I would have a little more faith in it.

Well, I'm afraid we joined the trial a little early to get any of the full meat, so I think we'll have another extract tomorrow from this fascinating test case.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

KS1 Teacher

£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The influx of hundreds of thousands of eastern European workers has significantly altered the composition of some parts of Britain  

Immigration is the issue many in Labour fear most

Nigel Morris
The Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf heads the inquiry  

Why should Fiona Woolf be expected to remember every dinner date?

Mark Steel
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?