Court Shorts: Humble over hearing hoo-ha

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SETTING a date for a hearing in a case cut across counsel Kenneth McBrearty's busy diary, and clashed with his other role as junior to the Dean of Faculty in a separate action.

"I think the Dean might manage to soldier on without me," he suggested modestly.

Prisoner gets sent down, and down

THE client, no doubt, had been feeling a bit down to have received a jail term.

But it would hardly merit a rethink by the appeal court, and an apologetic defence lawyer Iain Paterson was quick to assure the judges that a typing mistake was to blame.

"The written ground of appeal, which reads that the sentence was 'excessive and depressive,' should be that it was 'excessive and oppressive,'" he explained.

The revolving door of justice

THE macer heralded the arrival of the presiding judges with the customary bellowing of "Court", before leading them into the courtroom.

But as they entered, Lords Reed and Clarke did a double take before swiftly exiting via the door of Court 2 through which they had just arrived.

A couple of seconds later, their Lordships emerged through the door of adjoining Court 1 and, having found their correct location, settled down for the day's business.

Judge being cruel to be kind

THE complaint detailed in the appeal was that the sheriff had constantly interrupted the defence during the original trial.

But appeal judge Gordon Nicholson, QC, suggested that, far from being prejudicial, the interjections may actually have been for the accused's own good.

"The sheriff thought the solicitor for the defence was thoroughly incompetent and felt the need to interject," mused Nicholson.

Medium rare in murder trial

DEFENCE QC Paul McBride told the appeal court that there had been some quite bizarre evidence given at a murder trial in Glasgow

But there again, he stated, the witness in question had been a psychic.

"An unusual occupation in Possilpark," McBride added sagely.

Optician's case no sight for sore eyes

THE Court of Session judges will be hoping it is third time lucky for the National Health Service Tribunal which, for the last two years, has been attempting to discipline an errant optician.

The man appealed and the appeal judges agreed that inadequate reasons had been given for the tribunal's decision to disqualify the man as opposed to offering a conditional disqualification.

The case was sent back for the tribunal to have a second go, and it came to the exact same conclusion.

Unfortunately, its reasons were no more expansive than on the first occasion and another appeal has been upheld.

A weary Lord Clarke said: "Regrettably, particularly having regard to the length of time the proceedings have already taken, the tribunal must be directed to apply their mind, once again, to the question of the appropriate disposal and to set out clearly their reasons in support of their conclusion in that respect."

Judge's wig rigmarole

EVERYTHING went without a hitch at the installation ceremony of Valerie Stacey who, unlike the other two most recent appointments – Paul Cullen (Lord Pentland) and Iain Peebles (Lord Bannatyne) – stuck to tradition and adopted her surname in her title.

That, however, is more than can be said for Lady Stacey's first day on the bench. Entering the courtroom, she exchanged the usual courtesy bow with the lawyers, only for her wig to be sent tumbling from her head by the forward motion.

In future, Lady Stacey would be well advised to bow less vigorously, or invest in a packet of kirby grips.

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