Dispensing justice is a serious business, but now and again, a little humour provides some light relief. It happened while Wick freelance journalist, Noel Donaldson, was cutting his court reporter’s teeth at the town’s sheriff court, many years ago.
The Facts of the Case (according to Noel Donaldson)
The case was fairly straightforward. A house in the town had been broken into and a witness had observed a man running from the scene of the crime
The customary examination by the procurator fiscal ran this way…
“Did you get a good look at him” the fiscal asked the witness.
Witness: “Yes sir”
Fiscal: ” Would you be able to recognise him if you saw him again?”
Witness: “I would”
Fiscal: “Do you see him here, today”.
The witness scanned the courtroom and replied: “Yes, sir”.
Fiscal: “Would you please point to him”.
The witness turned and pointed directly at ME!
The accusation triggered a ripple of laughter round the courtroom and while I was contemplating a possible defence, such as “I was at home all night”, the sheriff came to my rescue with the comment- “I think not.”
I can’t recall the verdict, but the chief witness’s erroneous identification would certainly have blown a hole in the prosecution case, I suspect..