Court Shorts

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BROUGHT to book BIBLICAL references had already become the flavour of the moment in the appeal court, and counsel George Gebbie kept the theme going as he searched and searched his papers for a particular document.

"As it says in the good book, seek and ye shall find," he said.

To which an increasingly frustrated Lord Wheatley responded: "Yes, Mr Gebbie, but the good book doesn't tell us it'll take this long."

What's in a name?

MINDFUL that he had been picked up for being overly reverential by referring to another lawyer as "your honour", the witness asked of Ian Duguid, QC: "How should I address you?"

Tempting fate somewhat, counsel replied: "Call me anything you like."

It could have been a lot worse, but the witness did no more than get the name wrong. "Mr Duggan it is, then," he said.

Freaky question

A MAN told the court he had "freaked" when someone with a pistol jumped into his car. With the benefit of mobile phone records, defence QC Jamie Gilchrist was able to justify his scepticism.

"So, you were able to 'freak', phone and drive at the same time?" he asked.

Better late than never

WHAT Lord Hardie saw after being ushered on to the bench was defence counsel Michael Anderson, a veritable picture of serenity, rise to his feet and calmly apologise if he had caused any delay.

The case had been listed for another courtroom at a later time, but he should have double-checked.

What the judge had missed just a few moments earlier was the harassed and jacketless Anderson scurrying through the court, struggling into his waistcoat and trying desperately to adjust the collar of his shirt.

The path to enlightenment

LORD Glennie had to learn about the history of a path in a right of way dispute, but he was wary of being given a little too much information.

"A track has existed for some time," he said. "Until fairly recently, it was not passable by vehicles, although even then, according to the evidence, cars would be driven across what is now the bellmouth and parked on the verge there, by the track into the woods, for purposes into which it is unnecessary to enquire."

Oh yes he is!

IT WAS the panto season and all that was missing were cries of "he's behind you" as solicitor-advocate Brian Gilfedder strode into the well of the court to announce that his client was not present, oblivious to the man at his back stepping into the dock.

No criticism of caffeine calling

PROSECUTOR John Scullion agreed with the judge's suggestion that the changeover of witnesses would be a good time to stop the trial for a few minutes and have a coffee.

It was no more than Lord Kinclaven had expected, telling the jurors: "Ladies and gentlemen, it is very rarely that counsel will stand in the way of a mid-morning break."

QC suffers barbs from bench

SOME judges and counsel just don't hit it off.

Years ago, Lord Milligan and Bill Taylor often appeared to engage in open hostilities, and until his recent retirement, Lord Nimmo Smith would not always see eye to eye with Chris Shead.

Friction can also be felt in the air when Aidan O'Neill appears before Lady Smith. During one joust, Lady Smith called a "time out" and left the bench to give the QC a chance to reflect on what she saw as his continual interruption before she had a chance to finish her question.

Then, after the court reconvened, Lady Smith took him to task for failing to furnish an apology, chastising him for showing a lack of respect to the bench and, as a senior counsel, for not setting a good example.

High court praise indeed for pair

YOU might not win every case, but it's at least good to know you have left a favourable impression on the court.

"With his customary candour, Mr Scott informed us…" the appeal court said of solicitor-advocate John Scott, while counsel Kenneth Campbell was described in an immigration case as having "outlined the respondent's position with characteristic clarity and fairness".

A bronze medal

CRAIG Connal QC was plainly putting more faith in his earlier submissions, by candidly introducing his next argument as "a poor third alternative".