Just like an episode of Perry Mason it was today in my Court
A 64 year old man was accused of racially aggravated ABH and racially aggravated harassment.
The first thing we noticed about the defendant was that he was smartly turned out and stood with the bearing of a serviceman. In fact, during the trial, it became clear that he was an ex guards officer.
So, here was this chap, employed (which is remarkable in itself at Wolverhampton Magistrates' Court) as a commercial aviation sales director for a major multi-national company, charged with the above mentioned offences against an injured party who was a 22 year old Lithuanian woman.
The trial progressed and at the completion of the prosecution case, the defendant was called into the witness box. His manner and tone were as cultured as his turn out was impeccable.
The details of the case are not really relevant to my tale so I'll sidestep them. His attitude to the Bench and the advocates was one of old-world charm, if you'll allow an overused, but in this case accurate clichÃ©.
He told us that he was disgusted by any abuse of the fair sex (his choice of words) and the mere concept of racial abuse was anathema to him.
He told us of his upbringing and the values instilled by his parents with regard to the respect to be accorded to all.
I have to say that, at this stage, his comments were becoming just a little cloying.
The prosecutor, a seasoned and effective campaigner, nonetheless continued to chip away at the defendant, but seemed, by and large, to be getting nowhere with her cross-examination.
Then, with no warning at all, the defendant shouted out:-
"What the @uck would you know about it? Why don't you @uck off back to where you came from you @ucking filthy p*ki strumpet!"
At this point I can tell you that the prosecutor was, in fact a Sikh lady.
Talk about a "Perry Mason moment". The defence advocate just shook his head in disbelief and buried his face in his hands:lol:
After the shock had subsided, the defence advocate had a hurried discussion with his client and turned to the Bench, telling us that as the defendant refused to follow his advice, he found himself unable to continue to represent the chap.
The defendant, who was still in the witness box, insisted upon continuing the trial representing himself.
I imagine that it will come as no surprise that we found him guilty.
We decided upon a pre-sentence report and he was released on technical unconditional bail. I say technical, because he was then taken into custody for contempt.
Owing to the fact that we were busy with another trial, we were informed that he was brought before another Bench during the late afternoon and given a chance to expunge his contempt, which he refused to do, whereupon he was formally charged with contempt and remanded to Winson Green prison over the weekend.
In addition, he will be charged with a further racially aggravated harassment offence to which, it is hoped, he will plead guilty, considering the range and bona fides of the potential prosecution witnesses.
We don't half meet 'em. All human life is there