Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Real Character

I was sorry to read last week that Kevin Finnegan, the former boxer, had died at only 60. I never usually talk about a real case, but I think it is safe to describe my one and only encounter with him, since it took place about 20 years ago, and Kevin has since died.
In his retirement, Kevin carried on exercising his talent at primitive painting, and he regularly sold works around London. One day he was in a pub that had just bought one of his paintings, and a scuffle broke out, causing the landlord to call the police. A young PC approached Kevin, and said "Come on Kevin, out you go" and Kevin replied "Fuck off you cunt, I'm an artist." He was duly arrested for being drunk and disorderly, and appeared in front of me and two colleagues having pleaded not guilty. He defended himself, and claimed that it was common for local heroes to have a go at him, relying on the fact that age and drink had blunted his skills, and that like most boxers he avoided trouble outside the ring for fear of losing his licence. The officer gave his evidence, Kevin told his story, then it was time for the attractive lady prosecutor to cross-examine. The PC had recited the Hendon mantra for drunkenness, and that was the Crown's line of questioning:- "Mr. Finnegan, the officer has said that you were unsteady on your feet". "Look, love, I'd just got up off the floor." "Mr. Finnegan, the officer said your breath smelt of alcoholic liquor." "Yes, I'd had a drink, but I wasn't drunk." "The officer said your speech was slurred." Pause.
"My speech is slurred now, love. I fought Marvin Hagler twice, you know."
By this time everyone including the prosecutor was grinning from ear to ear. Since he had answered the allegation we found him not guilty, and off he went, declining the chance to claim his bus fare to court.
I never saw him again.

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