I spent yesterday afternoon in court as a witness – I’m not going to go into the specifics of the case (which was nothing exciting) but I thought I would share some of the funnier (in hindsight) elements that I encountered there.
The basics of the case was that I had reported someone for their behaviour which brought to the authorities attention that he was involved in an illegal activity. Whilst he had already admitted guilt to that charge (which was the only charge) he claimed that the incident had never happened – even though there were no charges in connection with that incident – yes its one of those vagaries of the English law system things.
Anyway, the prosecution thought that there was little chance of me being called as a witness, like I said he’d already pleaded guilty to the sole charge, unless he was trying to show that if the incident hadn’t occured then it would cast doubt on the other statements – and they thought he couldn’t be that stupid.
Inevitably thirty minutes later I was standing giving evidence. If you’ve never done it before, take your most embarrassing moment ever at school and magnify it tenfold. Then have the defence accuse of lying (and by default purgory). After what seemed an eternity I was finally allowed to leave but given the oppurtunity of sitting at the back of the court to hear the rest of the case.
And the rest of the case centred on the fact that in the accused version of our universe the event had never occured, I’d taken offence as a result and spent the subsequent twelve months being interviewed by the authorities, reading and commenting on statements and was willing to have an afternoon of work to stand in front of a court and commit purgory because I bore a grudge against a man I’d never met before the incident. The worst thing is it that the defence was so good at public speaking there were times when I even doubted it had happened – until common sense told me that I wasn’t prone to hallucinations.
Anyway, he was found guilty of the charge and in addition the court commented that “Mr.Jones is a honest witness and has presented a more credible version of events”, he got a fine plus costs (which with barristers involved I don’t want to even think about). So in the space of an afternoon I went from “You won’t be called” to spending nearly three hours in court.
Moving on, Zodiac was everything I wanted it to be and more. That rare thing, a Hollywood film that treats the audience as if it has intelligence, it is the complete opposite of Seven – the film on whoms strengths it is very much being advertised – in that rather than following the normal pattern of focussing on the killings it focussed on the effect the investigation would on three disparate individuals who became obsessed with it. Over three hours and two decades the story moves on with little time for explanation of what has happened – the director assumes that the audience will keep up with the film without the usual recourse to explanation – facts are analysed, careers made and broken, and in the end no clear answer is given – because in real life no conclusion was ever reached. Whilst this lack of closure would normally be the death of a film here it makes perfect sense for a film that requires as nihilist an ending as Seven but one more grounded in reality.
If it isn’t clear enough I can’t recommend it enough.