Poor ClichÃ©Clanger . There’s always been something of the am dram about this particular solicitor but today his performance really took the biscuit. Not that there should even have been a performance. You see, we both turned up at court on a case and then just before the client arrived ClichÃ©Clanger turned to me and said,
‘Look, BabyB, I’m sorry I didn’t mention it earlier but I’ve always dreamed of being a barrister and actually doing the performing in court and this could be my chance. The case is small enough not to matter so why don’t I just take it from here? I’ll still pay you your brief fee. It’s just that todayâ€¦well, I feel anything is possible.’
He seemed slightly hyper and I wondered if maybe his doctor had changed his combination of drugs. But I wasn’t exactly in a position to argue. He was, literally, the boss, and so I sat back and watched. At least I watched until I had to turn away, for it was just too painful to do anything else.
Let’s just say that he’s probably watched a few too many Perry Mason episodes and his opening was packed full of exaggerated hand gestures, long rambling sentences and theatrical pauses. One of his more laborious pieces of cross-examination of the other side’s witness went along the following lines,
‘Do you accept that you were driving a lethal weapon?’
‘Er, not exactly,’ the witness answered a little confused. ‘As you can see from my witness statement I was driving my Jaguar XJ6.’
‘But do you accept that a car is a lethal weapon.’
‘What, like your cross-examination?’ he replied sarcastically.
The judge smiled at this before pretending to look stern and saying,
‘If you could just answer the questions please.’
ClichÃ©Clanger repeated his question very slowly and with a staccato on each word as if he was punching the witness each time.
‘Do you accept that a car is a lethal weapon?’
‘No, My car is an extremely luxurious way of transporting me from A to B.’
‘But do you accept that it still has just as much killing power as, say, a sawn-off shotgun?’
‘Well, I’d prefer to think of it more as a classic Purdey side-by-side in those terms. But nevertheless no, I don’t accept what you are suggesting.’
‘Ah ha, but you accept the possibility that it might be like a Purley shotgun?’
And so it went on. When he eventually emerged from that particular quagmire he said to the witness,
‘You say in your witness statement that my client, and I quote, “came out of nowhere”. Is that correct?’
‘Do you still say that now?’
With this revelation he almost jumped in the air like a footballer celebrating a goal as he then bellowed,
‘But no-one comes out of nowhere, now do they?’
Then he added with a smile and a wink (honestly) at the judge,
‘Unless he’s the invisible man of course.’
It will perhaps come as no surprise to hear that ClichÃ©Clanger lost.
BabyBarista is a fictional account of a junior barrister practising at the English Bar, written by barrister and writer Tim Kevan. For more information and to read posts from the last few years visit babybarista.com. Cartoons by Alex Williams, author of 101 Ways to Leave the Law.