Saturday, February 27, 2021

From PeterMac's FREE e-book: Chapter 267: The Crown - v - McHaggis and McHaggis

 The Crown - v - McHaggis and McHaggis

Foreword

Regular readers may be surprised to find that I have a sense of humour, even if by some standards it is somewhat strange if not downright cruel, and on this subject it might be felt inappropriate and unfeeling.
Why would I ‘stoop’ to satire and mockery?
Let me quote what others have said about the power of humour and ridicule.
  • Ridicule is society's most effective means of curing inelasticity. Truth will prevail over it, falsehood will cower under it.      C Stone
  • One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. Ridicule is the most powerful technique the least powerful have against the more powerful.      H.L. Mencken
  • Laughter is the one thing that pomp and power can do nothing about.      C Hitchens
  • Ridicule strips the adversary of his mystique and prestige, it eliminates the adversary’s image of invincibility, and when properly directed, ridicule can be a fate worse than death.
And here are we,
powerless – in that we have no free access to the most expensive lawyers in the land;
inarticulate – in that we do not have free access to media backing;
penniless – in that we are not backed by millionaires, nor by public subscription on false pretences;

What we share is a sense of Justice and Right, and of Duty to the Truth, whatever that might turn out to be.

(Discerning readers may detect a faint aroma of Beachcomber and Private Eye.)

The Crown - v - McHaggis and McHaggis 

Preposterous Legal Disclaimer
Like most of this case, this is a work of fiction.
Any resemblance or similarity to any person invented, alive, or dead is purely coincidental.
It is based on the faithfully and accurately recorded accounts from the eye-witnesses, and the fully researched articles detailing the diligent enquiries made by experienced and reputable investigative journalists whose word is never to be doubted, disputed, or criticised in any way, even if they should individually give four different “versions of the truth”, each contradictory of the other, and even if the different journalists’ versions conflict violently and irreconcilably one with another, and with the witnesses of first-hand. Their word is to be accepted absolutely and unconditionally. 

It will therefore model itself on the “Official Story” and use exactly the same cast list of pantomime characters, imaginary baddies, contradictory and invented scenarios. It will use argumentorum ad absurdam, ad falsum, ad impossible; and the Socratic dialectical method of addressing absurdity by asking apparently naïve and simple questions – the ‘elenchus’. In this way the essential spirit of the “official story” and of the journalism may be preserved intact.

****

It is the year 2037, and the case has now entered its fourth year. 
The first three years were dedicated to opening submissions. The jury was dismissed at the end of year 2 after a series of suicides (the hangings in the Court room being particularly distressing) and severe sudden-onset mental illness had reduced the numbers to three, one of whom was stone deaf, one could communicate only in Aramaic, and the third on examination turned out to be a witness for the Defence who had walked through the wrong door some years before, and felt too embarrassed to say anything. 

We open the Court Extract at day 94 of the resumed hearing

***

The date Thursday 3rd May 2037
The Place; The Central Comedic Court, London
The Case: The Crown - v - McHaggis and McHaggis

Day 94
His Honour Mr Justice Tugendkamen presiding
The examinations begin.
Sir Desmond Gussett QC, assisted by a team of juniors, led by Mr Janus Money-Baggs, and briefed by
Messrs. Sooe, Grabbit, and Runne, Solicitors and Commissioners for Oaths,  takes out his Parker Duofold Centenial Black and Gold Trim fountain pen [£350] and opens: 
Dr McHaggis, can you describe the event of the night in question, in as much detail as you can.

Dr McHaggis: Ay, Surr, Ah went intew the aparrtament threew the paatio dooors, and then reeelized I coodn’a keep up this seelly aaaccent for veery loonng.
I went inteew the bedroom and saw ma wee bairns, then went for a wee jimmay’.
Then I cam oot agin, and fell into the deep trench reet ootside the gate. The one the Orrlive Press was warnin’ everyone aboot.

Sir Desmond : And then?

Dr McH: I met young Jasper there, with his poosh-chair and his ain wee bairn. and we gort chattin’

Sir D: Was anyone else in the deep trench?

Dr McH: Only young Ja-ane, soorry Sir, Miss Directing, She joined us exaac’ly 3 minutes and 42.836 seconds later, but yer’ understand none of us ha’ clorks wi’ us, an’ anyway we didn’a see her

****

Sir D: Thank you. Mr Lord, my learned friend Sir Dowting Gnowne-Skeptic QC briefed by solicitors Looke, Seacombe and Fynde will now examine Miss Directing 

Sir DG-S: dramatically waves his Montblanc Meisterstück Geometry LeGrand Solitaire fountain pen [£1,250], and begins:
Miss Directing. You have told the court that you saw a man carrying a child jump over the deep trench in a single bound. Did you recognise him?

Miss D: Not really. He had a condom pulled down right over his head, like students do at parties, and that is how I was able to give such an accurate description later when they did the sketch.

Sir DG-S: (shows Miss Directing the sketch)
Have you any idea who he was?

Miss D: Oh yes. They told me his name was Pete O’Phiaill.

Sir DG-S Who did?

Miss D: The men in the trench. Dr McHaggis and Mr Fybbre

Sir DG-S: But they have said they did not see you.

Miss D: (starts to cry). They definitely said it was Pete O’Phiaill. Over and over again, for days and months and years afterwards. So it must be him. (continues crying for the next 13 years)

Mr Justice Tugendkamen chews his Bic Cristal Original Ballpoint thoughtfully [£8.69 - for a box of 50]
****

CALL Mr Jon Clerical-Erreur

Sir D: Jon without an ‘H’, I believe you have a newspaper originally called “Proves Lies”

JC-E: Yes, but we made an anaconda out of the letters and called it Olive Press. Clever don’t you think press, newspaper, press, eh, eh, eh, press, olive, oil, eh, eh, eh, d’ you get it, eh, d’ you get it?

Sir D: I think you may mean an anagram, but either way the first title suited it better. To return to the matter in hand. You described on television and direct to camera the exact position and dimensions of a deep trench.

JC-E: Yeah. It was right outside the apartment all along the road. Very long, very wide and very deep. 

Sir D: No one else was able to discover where it had been. Can you account for that? 

JC-E: Of course. When I got there there was nobody about. I was the first person on the scene. The whole village was empty until late afternoon, when a couple of journalists and an off-duty policeman turned up. Then gradually the trench got filled up with police cars who didn’t see it and tried to park there, and by the time all the film crews arrived at the end of the afternoon it was totally filled in. I was the only one sharp-eyed enough to spot it. 

Sir D: Is this a photo of you pointing at the trench ?

JC-E: Yes. You can’t actually see the trench obviously, because I am much more important and the camera's focussed on me, but it’s definitely there, because I said it was there. Three times. And what I tell you three times is true. Any fule kno that.


Sir D: I refer the court to Photo No 3067, showing the trench 

Sir D: You said you went into the apartment, 

JC-E: Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no, but when I said I “went in”, I meant I wanted to but I couldn’t because it was, like, taped off, like by Police, like. So I didn’t. I just looked. From the road. By the trench.

Sir D: Do you recognise this as the photo of the front of the apartment ? [Shows photo No 1114]

JC-E: Yeah, that’s it, with the shutters all smashed and broken and forced and jemmied. That proves all the people who said they weren’t are wrong. So there. Ya boo sucks to them all. With knobs on.


Sir D: How do you account for the next photo which shows the shutters in perfect condition?

JC-E: Well that’s obvious innit. They got mended. Any Sherlock Clouseau could work that one out.


****
Sir D: I now call Yvonne Goolagong. – – – Ms Goolagong, you wrote an article about a waterslide, 

YG: I'm sorry your Majesty, I was on the way to check the waterslide but didn't have time because I fell into the deep trench and when I got out I would have missed the publication deadline. So I didn’t have time to see the waterslide being dismantled and taken away, which is what must have happened because by the time they took photos early that morning it had totally vanished. So that’s why I never actually saw it and that’s why there are no photos of it.

Sir D: And you wrote about Thursday being a warm sunny day.

YG: When I got there on Monday the weather was lovely . . .

Sir D: I am speaking about the Thursday before.

YG: . . . and the Tuesday and Wednesday were lovely as well. I went down to the beach . . .

Sir D: But what about the Thursday before, the day you wrote about in your article?

YG: . . . and I had ice cream and watched the people sitting in the sun. It was lovely. I chatted to Mrs Nullan Void and took some pictures. Do you want to see them?

Sir D: M’Lud, I submit . . . . . . [pause]

Tugendkamen J: What do you submit Sir Desmond?

Sir D: Nothing, My Lord. I just submit. I give in. I surrender. I am defeated.

****
Court Adjourned for the day,
His Honour Mr Justice Tugendkamen invited Sir Dowting Gnowne-Skeptic and Sir Desmond Gussett, the juniors and the instructing solicitors into the judges’ chambers for many, many, very stiff Gins.

Tomorrow’s witness list:

Mrs Nullan Void,
Mr and Mrs Fybbre,
Miss Taken and Miss Leading.
Dr D. Seatful, Mrs D. Sembling

******

TOMORROW. (WELL ACTUALLY TODAY, BUT YESTERDAY IT WAS TOMORROW). [© H. Dumpty Esq.]

The court rises. His Honour Lord Hahmercy-Honus, and Mr Justice Tugendkamen enter
Lord HMO: Can I borrow one of your biros?
Tugendkamen J: Certainly My Lord. Here’s one I haven’t chewed. You can have it for 20p


Sir D: I call Herr Wolt-disney, State prosecutor for Baden-Baden-Baden-Württemburg-Holstein-Pils.
You say you have a prime suspect and you are absolutely sure he committed the crime and deserves to be locked up for the rest of his life and then flogged, followed by a large fine, and then Community service and a Conditional discharge.

Hr W: Ja mein Herr. Off course. Ve alvays haf ze usual suspects. If you do not like zis fonn, ve haff ozzers. Like your Mrs McHaggis said. “Zis is just fonn version ov ze truce.” So ve say “Zis is just fonn prime suspect who is guilty.” If you don’t like him I haff many more. Zey are very guilty also. All ov zem.

Sir D: How exactly did you identify your suspect?

Hr W: Vee started viz Kris Brückner, but he is difficult to distingvish from Gus Mahler or Dick Wagner, so you can choose vich you vant. Ve choozed Brückner first, because he vas already in prison. So it vaz eazy.

Sir D: Oh, mein Gott. Never in the Field of Human Cornflakes was so much Drivel uttered by so Few to so Many – for so Long at such Cost.

****

Sir Dowting Gnowne-Skeptic: I call Mrs Nullan Void.
Mrs Void, you say you sat in the sun on a sun-lounger, watching a girl in a blue skirt whizzing down a waterslide and then playing football for an hour with your son whilst talking to her mother also on a sun lounger. The Court has heard that there was no sun that day, there was no waterslide, and the court may take Judicial Notice that a girl on a waterslide would be wearing a swimsuit and unlikely to wear a skirt. 

Mrs NV: I did, I did, I did. It’s not fair. I got paid a lot of money to say that - - ooops, judge, can I take that back, they said I mustn’t say it. They’ll be really cross.

Sir DG-S: Who will? Who are ‘they’?

Mrs NV: I’m not allowed to tell you, but they know where I live. It was in the papers. It’s not fair. There is a Super-inaudible and no one is allowed to know anything or say anything.

Sir DG-S: Your Honour I refer to the photo, No 4261, taken by the pool on that day which clarifies the situation

****
Sir D: M’lud, Kaylie McHaggis’ evidence will be given by Mrs Mackerell, of the law firm Waggoner-Scrum.

Lord Hahmercy-Honus: This is most irregular. Why can she not attend?

Sir D: M’lud I understand she is busy writing a sequel to her best selling autobiography, including a lot more pages about her own childrens’ naughty bits, which was so successful last time. And she needs the money to pay for the failed appeals to the Appeal Court in Portugal, then to the Supreme Court of Portugal and then to the European Court of Human rights. Mrs Mackerell, please proceed.

Mrs M: (Reads). “I went into the fully locked and secure apartment through the totally unlocked and insecure patio doors and found Margaret wasn’t in bed and the window was broken open and the shutters were all smashed and broken and jemmied and forced and I looked in the cupboards and under the bed but not behind the door or the sofa and I knew immediately that Maureen had been abducted by Pete O’Phaiall”

Sir DG-S: Why did your client Mrs McHaggis immediately jump to the conclusion that this was an abduction by a named individual? It sounds to me more like a missing person enquiry at that stage.

Mrs M: (Looks helplessly at the judges). I don’t know. This is just what I was told to say. They made me do it. (Begins to cry)

Sir DG-S: How exactly did they make you do it?

Mrs M: They paid me. (Continues to cry).

Sir DG-S: How much?

Mrs M: Lots. Actually lots and lots. (Begins to smile again)

Sir DG-S: Mrs Mackerell, did you or any member of your firm at any stage actually Interview your client? By which I mean question and probe, test and verify, to seek out the truth?

Mrs M: No. Certainly not. We never do anything as grubby as finding facts! Mr Abel Plantagenet said my job was just to write down what she said. And take the money. Obviously.

Sid DG-S: Well quite so.

Lord Hahmercy-Honus: Have you anything useful to add? Is there any actual evidence of anything in that affidavit? Even a smidgin or a scintilla, a jot or a tittle, a whiff or a scent, an iota or even a single grain?

Mrs M: (Starts crying again, and shuffling helplessly). No. M’Lud, Nothing at all. I was just told to keep repeating the word ‘Abduction’ and the name ‘Pete O’Phaiall’ until everybody started saying it.

Lord Hahmercy-Honus: Well it won’t work here. We don’t keep repeating Abduction just because Abduction we have heard it Abduction for the last Abduction 13 Abduction years. That is Pete O’Phaiall ludicrous. Don’t you Pete O’Phaiall agree Abduction Sir Desmond?

Sir D: Abso-Pete O’Phaiall-lutely, my Abduction Lord.

All the lawyers present now begin to twitch uncontrollably and to gibber inanely. Flecks of white froth form at the corner of their mouths. All that can be heard is “Abduction Pete O’Phaiall, Abduction Pete O’Phaiall, Abduction Pete O’Phaiall”, which makes no sense to the ambulance crews summoned to their aid, nor to the Psychiatrists at the Mental Hospital where they are subsequently treated using Alcohol Therapy.

The court adjourns

****

TOMORROW. (WELL ACTUALLY TODAY, BUT YESTERDAY IT WAS TOMORROW, AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT IT WAS THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW). [© H. Dumpty Esq.]

Sir D: Call Dr D Seatful. Please take the Oath

Dr D.S: “I promise to tell the Agreed Version of the Truth, the whole Agreed Version of the Truth, and nothing but the Agreed Version of the Truth.”

Sir D: Please tell the court about the Child-minding arrangements on the night in question.

Dr D.S: Well we all sat down for dinner and then every ten minutes someone got up and walked back to their apartment and looked at their children and then came back and then someone else went and looked at theirs and so on throughout the meal.

Sir D: Did you look at other people’s children?

Dr D.S: Let me just check (consults crib sheet in trouser pocket). Yes, I think so. Probably. Sometimes.

Sir D: So may we assume each of you collected up all the keys for all the apartments each time each of you went to check the children?

Dr D.S: Oh Bugger, we didn’t think of that. Errm, sorry. (Clears throat) That is not within my sphere of knowledge nor my area of professional competence, and I can make no further comment at this stage

Sir D: You mean it’s not on your crib sheet. 

Dr D.S: Precisely. (Pause). Oh Bugger I’ve done it again. Err, we probably just listened at the window.

Sir D: Listening for what, precisely?

Dr D.S: Sounds.

Sir D: Only sounds? What particular sounds?

Dr D.S: Well, sounds. And silence, obviously.

Sir D: What sound does a dead child make?

Dr D.S: I‘ve no idea. I’m not that sort of doctor. I’m a Plumber. 

Sir D: Oh that is useful. Perhaps after this session I could talk to you about a small prostate issue.

Dr D.S: A “Small” issue, Sir?

Sir D: Well actually quite a large one, that’s rather the point (The court laughs uncontrollably)
Would you now look at this plan prepared from the statements of all the witnesses, which shows the routes taken by you all on the night in question.
It is Chart No 9657 M’Lud. In Folio XVIII of Appendix 458, at page 893 

Dr D.S: That appears to be in accordance with the Agreed Version of the Truth, Yes.

Sir D: Thank you. My learned friend Sir Dowting Gnowne-Skeptic will now cross-examine.

Sir DG-S: You agree that each line represents a journey from the restaurant to an apartment, or back again. How many lines do you observe ?

Dr D.S: Quite a lot, Sir

Sir DG-S: Let me help. There are ten. And if each one takes 3 or 4 minutes and we add the time taken to open the apartments in turn and check each child and then to exit and lock up the apartments and then return that amounts to how long, do you estimate?

Dr D.S: I don’t know. I’m plumber so I only have to count up to 2. 1.P, 1.S, and 2.B is our limit

Sir DG-S: Around 45 minutes. And since the first such journey did not begin until precisely 9:04 by a watch, would you not agree that for the next three quarters of an hour there was an almost continuous presence of one of more members of your group on the road, coming and going, milling about, streaming hither and thither, all desperately trying not to bump into each other or fall into the deep trench we have heard described in so much detail and so accurately by Mr Jon (without an H) Clerical-Erreur? 

Dr D.S: (consults the crib sheet). I can only refer you to the answer I gave earlier.

Sir DG-S: Which was . . .?

Dr D.S: “Oh Bugger, we didn’t think of that. That is not within my sphere of knowledge nor my area of professional competence, and I can make no further comment at this stage” 

Sir DG-S: Quite so. Is there anything else you can usefully say?

Dr D.S: Not really, except I wish I had fallen in and the deep trench had swallowed me up along with everyone else long ago.

Sir DG-S: I am sure that can be arranged.

****

Sir Dowting Gnowne-Skeptic: Mr Cowledgar. I understand you consider you are something of an expert.

Mr C: Oh yes, look you. A real exx-pert. Piii-geons, lofts, raa-cing, isn’t it.

Sir DG-S: And what did your expansive and expensive investigations reveal?

Mr C: Chlorr-oform, boyo. That the clue. Chlorr-oform. It always is. I read about it in a detec-tive

mann-ual I keep on the taa-ble by my bed.

Sir DG-S: What book?

Mr C: The Hound of the Bass-kervilles. And that’s how I knew Marr-garet was being kept by Pete O’Phaiaill, in a hell-ish lair in the law-less hinn-terlands 

Sir DG-S: Can you point to the Hellish Lair in the Lawless Hinterlands on this aerial photograph of the area? 
Mr C: [Points]

Sir DG-S: Mr Cowledgar. That is a bunker on the golf course. 

Mr C: Exactly boyo, Pee-ople there walk round hii-tting things with long clubs. That’s laww-less for you. 

Sir DG-S: My Lord, I feel we need to remember the derivation of the word Expert, It is from the Latin.
Ex, meaning a ‘has-been’ and Spurt, meaning “a drip under pressure”.

****

Sir D: Would you be good enough to tell the court your involvement in this story. 

Mrs P. O’Meana-Quicksand: (for it is she) : Ooow shȝay na ða wee gurrrul wa’ hay þen’ ∫eewww

[the language is identified as a rare western dialect of ancient Doric. An interpreter is eventually found. Living in a converted cave with a pet seal on a remote island off the Faroes, herding puffins]

The court resumes some days later.

Sir D: You say you know how the blood got on the wall behind the sofa

[Interpreter]. Aye, the midges in Portugal are huge and reely vicious, so they suck gallons o’ your blood and then smash themselves into the wall, like they do on your car windscreen and “splatttt!”

Sir D: Can you explain why no one has ever recorded this in Portugal before?

[Interpreter]. Thaaat’s orbvious. They’re wee midges, so they only go for Celtic an’ Scoorts bluud

****

Sir DG-S: I call Clarence the Cross Eye’d Liar
Why did you tell people to send cash in plain brown paper envelopes?

Mr CCEL: Well, it’s the normal way to retain anonynonynomity, isn’t it.
(By the way, did you get yours this morning, Your Honour?)

Lord Hahmercy-Onus: Mine will have to be a great deal more persuasive before I can consider coming to fully and properly independent and unbiased Verdict based purely on the evidence. See to it.

Mr CCEL: I’ll make the arrangements this afternoon Your Highness. There is sufficient left in the Fund, and if we need more we’ll get Jon (without an H) to invent another sighting. It never fails. Money floods in.

****

Sir DG-S: Dr Hurting. Will you now tell the court what happened

Dr H: No, I can’t. We have a Pact

Sir DG-S: What sort of Pact?

Dr H: I’m not allowed to say. We have a Pact.

Sir DG-S: Is it a Pact of Silence?

Dr H: I’m not allowed to say. We have a Pact.

Sir DG-S: Do you mean you are Conspiring with others to withhold evidence in a criminal case?

Dr H: I’m not allowed to say. We have a Pact. And anyway there is a Super-(inaudible) 

Sir DG-S: I’m sorry, would you repeat that. The court didn’t quite hear what you said.

Dr H: It’s a Super-inaudible

Sir DG-S: What is that exactly? 

Dr H: I’m not allowed to say. We have a Pact.

Sir DGS: It seems – There’s a hole in your bucket
Mr Hurting, Mr Hurting
There’s a hole in your bucket
Mr Hurting, a Hole

****

Sir D: My Lord, now that we have an interpreter I would like to re-call Dr McHaggis
Dr McHaggis. Some months after the event you described so clearly, two dogs detected blood and cadaver odour in many places and on many things associated with you and your family, but nowhere else.

Dr McH: They’re notoriously unreliable. We saw them. They wouldna’ go into the deep trench, just stood on the edge and wee’d on all the people who'd fallen in. And they couldna’ even find the waterslide. Useless.

Sir D: Are there specialist dogs in the medical world?

Dr McH: Och Aye. Brilliant they are. Prostates, kidneys, bladders, and now melanomas, diabetes, and loads more. And loads doing bombs and drugs and explosives.

Sir D: So why were these dogs different?

Dr McH: Well obviously they were Portuguese dogs, fed on Sardines and red wine for lunch, so they’ve got no sense o’ smell. Useless. Just like that American one.

Sir D: Dr McHaggis. These were British dogs, trained and operated by a British police officer, and recommended by a British search coordinator. And in the US case they were proven to have been 100% accurate. 

Dr McH: Oh Bugger. Is that so. I didna’ know tha’. I’ll have to get the silly wee woman to re-write the bewk. 

****

Sir D: My Lord I now move to a ZOOM call

Lord Hahmercy-Honus: What pray is a ZOOM call ?

Sir D: A modern electronic audio-visual system permitting the simultaneous viewing of many protagonists one with the other delivered through the wide web of fibre optic cables under the oceans of the world enabling communication not only of sound and speech but also of the speakers’ faces and any other intimate body parts they care to expose and also revealing their individual lack of taste in home decor. 

Lord H: I am no wiser.

Sir D: Indeed not, my Lord, But much better informed. (court laughter, including Lord Hahmersy-Honus, who has either heard it before and enjoys the old joke, or didn’t really understand what had been said)

I now call by ZOOM the : –
Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God. . .
Pontifex Maximus, Germanicus Apologistii et Colaboratum,
His Holiness Pope Pedofilus Innumerabilis

Pope P: Urbis et Orbes. Procedo

Sir D: Papa, ut ego quaeritur quod factum est. [Plebian: what happened?]

P P: Omnia referat sit obliteratus araneae vaticano, sacerdos postqua indicavit nobis facta
[Pleb: All references were erased from the Vatican website, after the Priest told us the full facts]

SirD: Gratias tibi ago, Papa [Pleb: Thank you very much, Pope]

P P: Don’t mention it, Sir Desmond. I’m so grateful to get out of the house arrest I endure. Having to wear a white frock the whole time, and never going out for a pint with the lads, or watching the rugby, and pretending to speak Latin the whole time. I’m German. I was in the [REDACTED] you know.

Sir D: So you speak English?

P P: I speak 37 languages. I just pretend I can’t so that I can listen in to what people are really saying behind my back. Very useful trick. You should try it.

Sir D: In that case, Your Holiness, may I now ask you about your relationship with . . .
the audio link suddenly goes down and the background video of a number of small choirboys appears
They are dressed in REDACTED and are seen to be REDACTED with a number of REDACTED
REDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTEDREDACTED, and REDACTED.


The court is adjourned, in confusion.

The next hearing is scheduled for 3rd May 2057. 

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