Nottingham Magistrates’ Court is the setting for a classic anecdote of early days in the law from Richard Bullock. ‘I was fairly newly qualified and ran what I knew to be a heavily technical defence. Judging from the shouting match in the adjacent retiring room between the chairman and the clerk, my defence was unwelcome to the bench.
‘When they came back into court the chairman looked at me in a way which suggested I should not be in his court too often in the future. Announcing the inevitable not guilty verdict he could not resist looking at my client and adding “but don’t do it again!”. With an implicit understanding that if next time he were found guilty he could look forward to an extended spell in a very difficult place.
‘The coda to the story came weeks later when I was in the magistrates again and saw my client in the foyer. He assured me he was not in trouble but only there to give moral support (yes – the mind boggles) to his friend. I am now long since retired so I can say without fear of allegations of self-advertisement that as I walked away I heard my client explain my status by giving my name and adding: “He gets you off when you’ve done it.”
‘I could only hope for everybody’s sake (including mine) that the chairman from the previous hearing did not hear the exchange.’
Keep those memories coming: email@example.com