Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Due Care and What?

Middle-aged bloke, looks like a bank clerk. He has pleaded guilty by post to Due Care, but has turned up anyway.

"Well, Mr.Oliver, since you are here, why not tell us if you agree with the prosecutor's version of what happened?"

"Well, sir, (nervously). "I park in the road outside my house since we haven't got a garage, and I went out to go to work and found that my car was frozen over. I scraped the windows, and got in. I had to back up for a couple of feet to get out, and I heard a noise. I stopped and got out and I found, just as the lady (prosecutor) said, Carol, my neighbour's daughter, who had pulled up behind me on her bike just as I was trying to get out. As the lady said, Carol had fallen off her bike and banged her knee. I am very sorry."

"What happened then?" asked the chairman." "I picked her up and took her to her Mum's. She had ripped the knee of her jeans so I offered to buy a new pair. We settled it there and then. We are good neigbours, you see, we get on well."

"What about the police?"

"Well, I went to work, but I was worried, so when I got home I rang the police station and asked whether I should have reported the accident. The man said that it was always best to do that, so I went down there and made a statement. They said everything was okay, but then five months later I got this summons. So I pleaded guilty."

"Did anyone complain? Your neighbour, or the girl, or anyone?"

"Oh no, we get on well. There was no trouble."

We went outside. We ran it past the clerk. We took a certain decision. We went back in.

"Mr. Oliver. We order that your plea of guilty should be struck out and replaced with one of not guilty. We have heard enough and the case is dismissed."

"Oh dear" said Mr. Oliver. "I am so sorry, have I messed everything up?"

"No, Mr. Oliver, we think that you made a mistake pleading guilty, so we have put things to rights. Good afternoon."

He left mumbling apologies.

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