In defending two reprobates who went out drinking and ended up stealing food from a supermarket, I innocently described to the court how the two men went out with their dog drinking beer.

Every time they drank a pint, they put down a bowl between them and gave their dog a half.

Consequently, at the end of the evening while they were swaying about unsteadily on their two feet, the dog was quite stable as it had four legs.

The bench absorbed this remark with a straight face, but a moment later the clerk saw the joke and burst out laughing. Unable to contain herself, she fled into the next room where we could all still hear her breaking up, to intense embarrassment.

Some 20 minutes later she was at last able to contain herself and the case resumed, though I seriously avoided her eye.

I was never able to appear again before her without a reminder of that notorious occasion. I learned a rather vital lesson that day.

John Greenwood, Retired criminal lawyer, Chippenham, Wilts