Archive for March 3rd, 2007

Barrister ‘A’: Mens rea

The Diary of Barrister A: Saturday 3rd March 07

But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;

Richard III. 1. 1

Danielle asked me over dinner the other night why the papers were full of senior lawyers having affairs. I’m afraid the subject does not interest me that much. I am not a voyeur. I replied as follows: “Opportunity, Motive, Ability and Mens Rea”

“By which you mean?” she asked, sipping a glass of Chablis.

“Many of these lawyers are in their late forties and early fifties. They are absorbed by their ability and power. I suspect, in the back of their minds, they wonder whether they can still hack it. They work long hours – and opportunity is there. Another late night is easily explained away – as is a trip out of town. As to motive – they probably have children and may well not have had any exciting sex for some time. There is a darker side, of course. It may well be that in the back of their minds they know or believe that their sexual prowess is waning. Power can, after all, only go so far as an aphrodisiac or attractant.”

“And… mens rea?”

“Oh yes.. plenty of that. Lawyers are a secretive bunch. Some of them are Masons… although not as many these days. Their skills of advocacy are often brilliantly demonstrated when they get caught.”

Danielle smiled, tapping her nails on her glass… “You wouldn’t do anything like that, would you?”

I was ready for the question. I had been ready for it when she asked the first question. “Darling… I am not shaped for sportive tricks… dogs bark at me as I halt by them”

She laughed… We moved on to discuss John Reid. Later, it occurred to me that she may have been asking if I am a Mason.

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Saturday shockers and other matters…

What – with The Attorney-General, the DPP and sundry other QCs and senior lawyers exercising their rights under The Freedom of Fornication Act (nicked from Private Eye – could not resist it) to have ‘have it away days’; we have now got the surreal and, frankly, absurd situation of a Court of Appeal judge being charged with flashing at women on a train on two separate occasions – a charge which he denied when first questioned about this some months ago. Guardian [The BBC story mysteriously disappeared from their website last night – cannot be connected with being gagged below, of course]

The Attorney-General, rather than gag over his breakfast as he reads about his extra-curricular activities being reported in the Sunday tabloids, has now gagged the BBC to stop them reporting a story about the cash for honours business. It seems that prosecutions may be on the way. Guardian

Nearly Legal has found an extraordinary statement by Law Society President Fiona Woolf – worthy of Matt Muttley.

“Thought Leadership”: I quote from Nearly Legal’s blog… and repeat his comment – you will have to visit his blog for the rest of his excellent commentary on this! And here is Fiona Woolf:

“And so, given its ever-increasing importance, the Law Society has taken the bold decision to enter, for the first time, the territory of thought leadership – to facilitate a better understanding the issues around staff retention and job satisfaction by exploring factors that help to meet the needs of not just fee earners but their supervisors and employers too. “

and here is Nearly Legal – Excellent stuff : “Dear God in Heaven. What did the poor long-suffering English language do to deserve this? And who can we shoot to stop it happening again? “

Read the rest…
You just have to read his analysis and interpretation. I say no more… It made my Rioja taste even better. Well picked up, if I may say, so NL!

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