Crown ver­sus Rover

Alive - - News - By S. Raghu­nath

The plain­tiff failed to prove in the court that he had been a vic­tim of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion.

AWest In­dian liv­ing in Eng­land has com­plained to the Race Re­la­tions Board that a dog in his neigh­bour­hood barks only at black peo­ple and never at whites. He has de­manded that strong ac­tion be taken against the delin­quent an­i­mal.

“Or­der in the court!” shouted the bailiff.

There was a hushed si­lence and a tense air of ex­pectancy pre­vailed. Out­side the court, the po­lice had a tough time con­trol­ling Na­tional Front sup­port­ers.

The judge en­tered the court­room and took his place on the high bench. The Crown pros­e­cu­tor and the de­fence lawyer took their re­spec­tive seats. The de­fen­dant was bought in on a leash and se­curely tied to the dock. He was thought­fully chew­ing on a bone and he wagged his tail mer­rily at the judge, the de­fence lawyer and the spec­ta­tors, but stu­diously ig­nored the Crown pros­e­cu­tor. The spec­ta­tors ea­gerly craned their necks to have a look at him.

“The de­fen­dant shall forth­with stop chew­ing on his bone!” thun­dered the judge and turned to the bailiff. “Call the case!” he snapped.

“Crown ver­sus Rover,” in­toned the bailiff.

The judge turned to the Crown pros­e­cu­tor. “You may make your open­ing state­ment,” he said.

The Crown pros­e­cu­tor bowed. “If your lord­ship pleases,” he said, “this is a case of mo­men­tous im­por­tance, with far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions for build­ing a fair, just and eq­ui­table, multi-racial so­ci­ety. The Crown will prove that the de­fen­dant, to wit Rover, does in­ten­tion­ally and with mal­ice hav­ing racial un­der­tones, does will­fully bark only at black peo­ple and never at whites and thereby con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 3(a) of the Race Re­la­tions Act. We shall fur­ther prove that the de­fen­dant, to wit Rover, de­lib­er­ately prac­tices ca­nine apartheid. We shall ask for an ex­em­plary sen­tence, based on the ev­i­dence on record.”

There was a col­lec­tive gasp in the au­di­ence over the grav­ity of the charges. The de­fen­dant con­tin­ued to chew thought­fully on his bone.

“You may call your first wit­ness,” the judge told the Crown pros­e­cu­tor.

“My first wit­ness will be Ru­fus Jones.”

Jones came for­ward and was duly sworn in and took his place in the wit­ness-box. “Jones, what’s your oc­cu­pa­tion?” the pros­e­cu­tor en­quired.

“I’m a be-bop drum­mer on Not­ting

Hill and, hey man, you ought a hear beat­ing the skins!”

“Please, Jones,” said the pros­e­cu­tor, “don’t di­gress from the point. Now kindly tell the court what hap­pened on Fri­day, the 13th in­stant.”

“Well, suh,” said Jones, “I was peace­fully walk­ing along the street, think­ing of my ma and pa back home in Kingston, Ja­maica, and hum­ming a reg­gae tune, when the de­fen­dant barked at me hys­ter­i­cally!”

“But surely, Jones,” said the Crown pros­e­cu­tor, “it’s the nor­mal re­ac­tion of dogs to bark at strangers.”

“No, suh,” said Jones firmly, “I’m sure, as sure as my hair is kinky, that he barked at me be­cause I be a darkie!”

“Thank you, Jones,” said the pros­e­cu­tor. “You may step down. My next wit­ness will be Teddy Boyce.”

Teddy (“Butch”) Boyce came for­ward and was duly sworn in and took his chair in the wit­ness-box. Out­side the court, the crowd was shout­ing “Sock it to ‘em, Butch!”

“Boyce, what’s your oc­cu­pa­tion?” the pros­e­cu­tor en­quired.

“I’m a full-time skin­head hooli­gan and a Paki-basher!”

“Boyce, now kindly tell the court what hap­pened on Satur­day the 14th in­stant.”

“Well, sir, I was peace­fully walk­ing along the street car­ry­ing a ma­chete, a length of cy­cle-chain and a wooden club and a black­jack, when the de­fen­dant wagged his tail at me!” “What did you do then?”

“Well, sir,” said Boyce, “I bent over and tick­led him be­hind the ears and said af­fec­tion­ately, ‘Hello, dog­gie!’ and ‘Nice dog­gie!’”

“Thank you, Boyce,” said the pros­e­cu­tor, “You may step down.”

Turn­ing to the judge, he said tri­umphantly, “Your Lord­ship, the Crown rests its case. We’ve con­clu­sively proved that the de­fen­dant, to wit Rover, does bark only at black peo­ple and never at whites. Un­der the cir­cum­stances, we shall ask for a sum­mary con­vic­tion and an ex­em­plary sen­tence.”

The judge ig­nored the pros­e­cu­tor’s in­ter­jec­tion and turned to the de­fence lawyer, “You may call your first wit­ness,” he said.

The de­fence lawyer bowed and said, “If your Lord­ship, pleases,” he said, “we seek a brief re­cess so that my client can find a suit­able place to bury his bone.”

“Re­quest de­nied!” the judge snapped and he turned to­wards the de­fen­dant and thun­dered, “The de­fen­dant shall forth­with stop lick­ing his paws! Call your first wit­ness!”

“My first wit­ness will be Enoch Pow­ell.”

Pow­ell strode for­ward and was duly sworn. He took his place in the wit­ness-box. “Pow­ell, what’s your oc­cu­pa­tion?” the de­fence lawyer asked.

“I’m a mem­ber of the Mother of Par­lia­ments. I also make grim pre­dic­tions if the rate of Asian im­mi­gra­tion into Bri­tain con­tin­ues at its present level.”

“Pow­ell, kindly tell the court what hap­pened on Sun­day the 15th in­stant.”

“Well, sir, I was peace­fully walk­ing along the Em­bank­ment mea­sur­ing the amount of blood flow­ing in the Thames, when the de­fen­dant barked at me hys­ter­i­cally!”

“Pow­ell, you’re a mem­ber of the White Cau­casian race?”

“I am.”

“And the de­fen­dant barked at you hys­ter­i­cally?”

“He did.”

“Case dis­missed!” the judge an­nounced and left the court­room.

RACE RE­LA­TIONS This is a case of mo­men­tous im­por­tance, with far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions for build­ing a fair, just and eq­ui­table, multi-racial so­ci­ety.

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