Justice (fraying at the edges)

Back, then, to the main event. Oh yes. I wasn’t just up in London doing the fashion thing, or even hob-nobbing with trans friends. No: yesterday’s visit had a serious purpose which you may be reading about in the national press in approximately a fortnight’s time.

More details as it becomes appropriate (and lawful) to release them.

Suffice it to say that several hours were spent listening to evidence being given at the Old Bailey.

Fascinating. For all that i’ve done cases in a variety of courts, this is the first time i’ve made it to the Central Criminal Court, as that institution is more properly known.

The Old B is, in and of itself, a most wonderful metaphor for the UK Justice system. A magnificent edifice, decked out with seriously impressive woodwork. But past its sell by date and, if you look closer, very much fraying at the edges.

Here, the English legal system still sails on in stately glory. We were all properly upstanding for “my lady” the judge at start and end of proceedings. The barristers plodded their way through, displaying not so much “cut and thrust” as “bish and bosh”. Oh: they were professional. Workmanlike. Thorough. No doubt about that.

But John Deed this was not. At one point in the proceedings, i found myself wondering whether BOTH the leading barristers (male and female) were wearing the same shade of foundation. Glancing upward, i noted a hole in the wall where the plaster and the electrical plug sockets had fallen out. The whole place needed a lick of paint.

Outside, imposing, awe-inspiring statuary over the entrance – and more awe-inspiring still, even if she does look as though she is about to leap from the domed roof, is the (non-blindfolded) figure of “blind” justice.

Inside, toilets gurgle and hiss their way through Victorian – or possibly Edwardian – plumbing.

Its a lot like the Houses of Parliament. Posh front which, by virtue of being old, is really not terribly well-suited for purpose, with all mod cons grafted on over the top.

Getting in was a bit of a pain as they really, really mean it when they say no mobiles, bags or food. And they do not offer anywhere for the casual visitor to store such things. Instead, one is directed across the road to a local newsagent which will safekeep your stuff for £2 a day.

Also one of those places – like airports – where one really should not make light of what is in one’s luggage. What do you expect me to do, I quipped, as a security bod rifled through my handbag? Mascara the judge?

She checked my make-up extra closely, taking each item out and examining it – no doubt looking for evil eye-liner!

As for what went on inside, there my lips must remain sealed, for the time being at least. Anything i say here could be construed as prejudicial which would be a serious contempt of court at this stage. So as i teased at the outset, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Though i think the wait will be worth it.

jane
xx

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