Got off rather on the wrong foot in the new chambers, because I got up to London and immediately realised that I’d left one of my bloody cases at home. Never mind. I borrowed wig and gown off old “Banners”, who is always a brick. I thought I’d get a real bollocking off the Chief Clerk, who is a bit like Adolf Hitler, but without the warm and compassionate personality, but he never even mentioned it. Maybe the bastard is saving it up.
I’d never appeared in the juvenile court before, and it was a real hoot, I can tell you. It turned out that I didn’t need wig and gown for the first day after all – we don’t do that kind of thing in front of the juvenile bench, it seems – oh, no, Mr Mallard, we find wig and gown much too formal in here! Don’t want to intimidate the accused, do we? Not on your Nellie. So they bring the kid in, and he’s just as snotty and surly as he had been in the pre-hearing meeting, wearing bloody trainers and a hoodie – made no effort at all. And everybody handles him with kid gloves: talks to him as if he’s either a baby, or mentally defective, or both.
‘Your name is Kevin Henderson, isn’t it? Yees! Yes, it is! Yes, it is, Kevin. Isn’t that niiiice? And you’re represented by this nice Mr Mallard, aren’t you? Yeeees! Yes, you are. Isn’t that lovely? Hmm.’
And then they read out the charge and it’s multiple buggery and genocide. Do you know what those so-and-soes were doing? There were three of them – my client, who is thirteen; his sidekick, who’s eleven, and this other kid that they’d picked up from somewhere who was six. They were trying to break into this off licence which had steel shutters over most of the front of it except for a glass panel over the door. One of them climbed onto a dustbin, smashed the glass with a hammer, and then the two older ones tried to feed the little one through the hole. Their cunning plan went awry, however, because the little kid got hopelessly stuck. They were trying to pull him out again when a police constable came past, whereupon my esteemed client and his accomplice tried to do a runner. Must have been a bit uncomfortable for the kid who got stuck. Don’t know how long he was in there. They didn’t get away. The constable chased them into an alley that he knew was a dead end and just stayed at the entrance so they couldn’t get out again. He called for back-up and they bagged the lot of them.
We pleaded guilty, of course. The bench deliberated for about twenty minutes (don’t ask me why it took them that long) and came back with a verdict that seemed studiously to avoid using the word “guilty”. Again, it was another dose of ‘We don’t want to ruin the prospects of the accused being rehabilitated,’ and so on, and so forth. To be quite honest, I can’t actually remember the precise formula they used, but it was something like, ‘The court finds definite evidence of naughtiness in this case. Furthermore, the court finds that extreme naughtiness has been committed. In summary: there has definitely been extreme naughtiness. The sentence is that you will be taken from this place to the allegedly secure children’s home whence you came, and from which you have broken out twice this week already. Next case!’
This is not the last the English Legal System has seen of Kevin – you can bet on that. He’s through the “twocking” phase; he’s currently into burglary, and will go on to serious armed robbery or drug-dealing. One day he may do something really naughty. Keeps me in vintage claret, I suppose.