Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas

Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

Barmaid



Saturday, 19 December 2009

Barmaid's had a facelift!

No, not one of those facelifts, I haven't got any wrinkles *cough*.

Thankyou to Android, who has made a very good job indeed of pimping my blog.

The red shoes, alas, are but a fantasy for Barmaid, who would need industrial scaffolding on wheels in order to get from A - B in them, but a girl can always dream.

I've absolutely no idea why Andro put chocolates on my blog, I only ever eat fruit and wholesome organic vegetables, hence my perfect size 6 figure (I wear a slightly larger size just to make the fatties feel better about themselves) ;-)

Bar-Os has made an appearance. The picture is several years old and was taken when he was just 2 years old, but already bigger than his (step) Dad, who stands proudly beside him. I was told when I bought Bar-Os, that he would make a decent sized pony/cob - he is neither a pony, nor a cob, but a somewhat larger chap, who resembles a Clydesdale and who has a 14ft stable to accomodate his ample proportions. My dreams of elegantly vaulting onto him from the ground, have been replaced with the reality of a 2ft + high mounting block and a prayer each time I launch myself upwards and vaguely towards him, trying to land in the saddle at first attempt.

Thank goodness for Amazon, who yet again have come to my rescue with the Christmas shopping list. I've bought a cat cartoon book for BF, a couple of ornate wild bird feeder stands for relatives, the usual DVD's and books for others. There was only Bar-Man left to buy for, but he has suggested that we replace our old TV with a flat screen one in the New Year, instead of buying each other gifts. I'm all for making life easy, so that's sorted, but I did buy him a few blokey gadgets to open on Christmas Day.

Today, I was supposed to write out Christmas cards too, but somehow haven't found the inclination time.

MCT revision is painful and slow; youth sentencing is as much a mystery to me now as it was when I first glanced at the subject several months ago. I'm almost at the point of giving up on hearsay, it just hasn't clicked and I'm quite frankly sick of people shouting "In criminal proceedings a statement not made in oral evidence in the proceedings is admissible as evidence of any matter stated..." - I'm thick, not deaf thankyou, and continually shouting the same sentence isn't working ok!:-) I just can't tell the difference between hearsay and original evidence, so seeing as it's Christmas, balls to it. I shall find myself a Janet and John book to make myself feel big and clever again.

ttfn.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Decisions, Decisions?

Another study weekend over. The Drafting formative work has been handed in and the results shall be given out next month. Both Advocacy exams came and went and the results were given out immediately afterwards. I faired better in the Examination-in-Chief, than the Cross-Examination, but am relieved just to have gotten them out of the way without any fails  mishaps.

Next month I have the Criminal/Civil MCT exam and also the Negotiation formative. The MCT worries me most because there are far too many areas of procedure and evidence that I'm uncertain about, not least hearsay! As for the Negotiation, we shall see? Usually we 'perform' our negotiation with another student, but next month we are up against barristers, who are, I'm informed, extremely well briefed on the subject in hand.

We also have a one off civil advocacy next month and luckily it is an area of law that I'm quite interested in, so for once I feel reasonably comfortable. Last years contractual disputes did rattle me somewhat and I felt a little out of my depth at times, simply because my LLB, Sale of Goods Act and associated broken electrical appliances essays didn't really provide a sufficient grounding for the more technical aspects of contractual law.

As the title of this post suggests, it is also time to think about which Options I shall choose for the final few months of BVC. No. 1 is the Advanced Criminal Litigation, but I'm still all at sea with the 2nd choice. Judicial Review is a possibility, as is Company Law, and also Property and Chancery, but then there's also Employment Law...

Each has bits that I like and bits that I don't. Wills and Trusts didn't go down too well during LLB, but the remaining contents of the Property Option do look interesting (apart from mortgages), but the reading list looks quite daunting. And there's also the small matter that I haven't a hope in hell's chance of landing a pupillage at one of 'those' sets - wrong sex, wrong age, wrong uni... .

Judicial Review covers prison law, but also covers asylum and homelessness, which just doesn't float my boat somehow. However a knowledge of Public Law is useful in relation to some criminal appeals. I hadn't previously considered Company Law, but having looked through the information on the subject, quite a bit of it does look to be familiar, not least directors duties, which I covered quite thoroughly during LLB. And as for Employment, well it looks user friendly and the assessment format appears to be less onerous than the others.

Being a complete anorak, most of the Options look interesting and if I thought that it might be of use, I may have even considered International Trade, but somehow carriage of goods by sea is perhaps a little too specialised to be of any use post BVC, unless of course I decide to become a pirate. Family Law is a no no for me, not least because the module is based on ancillary relief and numbers and me don't always see eye to eye. Same with the Personal Injury module, quantum takes me ages to calculate and even longer if I then have to start calculating interest as well.

I shall have a better idea once I receive the results for my Opinion Writing and Drafting mocks - no point choosing a subject that requires excellent written skills, if I haven't gotten those skills.

Decisions, decisions...?

Monday, 7 December 2009

The start of the exams

Well, it's been all go for the last week or so and the BVC homework has been seemingly never ending. Today I have been reading through the Civil Litigation homework questions and have completed about three quarters of them, but I may have to leave them in order to finish off some Criminal Litigation homework and also have a final tweak at my Drafting formative (which I intended to tweak at the weekend but somehow didn't find the time). This weekend sees the last of the Civil and Criminal tutorials before the MCT in January.

I've done no Christmas shopping as of yet and must make a bit of an effort soon, but shopping doesn't float my boat and I suspect that it will be a last minute online clickathon.

I've been practising my advocacy on Barman, who, when I'd finished my cross-examination of him, he uttered one word; "bitch". Perhaps I need to tone it down a bit, but what the heck, it's like PMT heaven:-)  Best friend is invited to mine tomorrow to be a witness, good job I haven't bought her Christmas present yet, she may never speak to me again! Her boyfriend has been appointed as judge in the proceedings and I suspect that the two of them are conspiring against me as I write.

My fondness of advocacy dwindled last year and I got a bit bored with the interim civil applications that we had to perform each month, but this year's witness handling is much more fun, not least because my group has a very good tutor, who's enthusiasm is contagious, so much so, that one or two of the staunch civil aspirants are contemplating a switch to the criminal bar instead!

The early nights are a bit depressing, but I do find that studying is a little more focused without the distractions of nice weather to lure me away from the computer. However, in a slight distraction to the Costs homework I decided to throw myself around the house to the Prodigy's 'Fire Starter' and tonight have a slightly sore back and a somewhat bewildered neighbour.

Seem to think that call dates are to be released soon - ooh er, it's all getting a bit real - wigs, gowns and the small matter of several dining sessions to complete. I'm not one for being suspicious, but I do feel a little intrepidation at having to book my call night when I've got such a lot of exams lined up.



Monday, 30 November 2009

hand written stuff n nonsense

In preparation for my Negotiation exam, I have set about preparing a hand written Negotiation plan.

The real thing, the exam that is, allows 2 hours for reading of the case papers and preparation of a hand written Negotiation plan. Well, I started at 11 this morning and am still going strong on my practice run, so it looks as though I'll have to speed things up a tad for the real thing! Hopefully the real thing won't be as complicated as the case that I'm trying to prepare at the moment, but I'm not taking any bets on it.

The Civil/Crim MCT is playing on my mind quite a bit, but I haven't had time to start doing any revision. Last year's MCT wasn't too bad, but this year's looks to be more difficult; hearsay, youth sentencing, bad character evidence and worst of all, Part 36 payments - they're all a mystery to me, so let's hope that eenie, meenie, miney, moe will work this time:-)

Bar-Os seems to be on the mend and had a serious attempt to pitch me out of the saddle yesterday, much to Barman's amusement. And there was me thinking that the both of them were gentlemen:-)

Oh well, back to page 11 of my 10 page plan!


Thursday, 19 November 2009

Another study weekend over

The study weekend was a mixed bag of highs and lows. The mock opinion that caused me much pain was handed in, but the results of my efforts won't be known until January.

Thankfully my Advocacy was much improved this month, which is just as well seeing as I have 2 mock exams in the subject next month. Criminal Litigation and Civil Litigation were both a struggle this month, so much so that I have doubts over passing the exam in January. I did well in Negotiation, but feel far from comfortable with the subject, it just doesn't feel right somehow.

Sadly, Bar-Os has been very poorly and I had to have the vet out to him on Tuesday. A few weeks ago he was attacked by insects in the paddock and was covered in lumps and bumps when I went to bring him home for the evening. Usually insect bites clear up in a day or two, but these have lingered and he has suffered a secondary infection. Poor lad had virtually stopped eating and drinking over the space of a few days and he had to have a steroid jab to perk him up and get him peeing again. I was well impressed with the boost that the jab gave him, so much so, that I intend to break into the vets come exam time and have a little dabble myself:-) Mind you, I hope that the side effect of rapid and loud farting equates only to equines, otherwise the advocacy examiner in in for a treat come the cross-examination assessment!

I've had a few days off this week to catch on some bits and bobs and don't intend to start studying for a day or two. With a load of exams lined up in the wings, I thought that I'd better re-charge my batteries before knuckling down to what looks to be an intensive 2 - 3 months.

ttfn



Thursday, 12 November 2009

Last minute dash

Finally finished the [insert swearword of choice] mock Opinion. As I somewhat smuggly printed off said [insert previous swearword or another one of your choice] Opinion, I took the chance to have a quick glance at my emails and smugness evaporated as quickly as it had appeared. Provider has just informed me that we have 3 exams next month: 2 advocacy (1 x examination-in-chief, 1 x cross-examination) and drafting.

Ok, so they are all mocks, but nevertheless it came as a bit of a shock to the system and I [inserted a swearword, well ok, I inserted several swearwords, not particularly chosen because they were my favourites, but just picked at random as the occasion befitted].

There is a study weekend looming and I haven't yet finished the homework, the house is a tip, I've got stacks of washing, stacks of paperwork and need to go food shopping.

Am I bovvered? Not really. Having more or less recovered from the Olpasiformia Nervosa, I seem to have taken on a more pragmatic view of life and intend to not let the bastards grind me down take things a little more in their stride.

ttfn




Friday, 6 November 2009

Into the breach

I'm working on my mock Opinion at the moment and what a difficult task it is turning out to be.

Once finished, I think I shall re-name said opinion - RE: ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT CONTRACT BUT COULDN'T BE ARSED TO ASK.

Need I say more! Given my lack of understanding and general writers block, I feel ill prepared for the real thing, which I think is after Christmas, but what the heck, I'm giving it my best shot and if that isn't good enough...

As is always the case, I start off thinking that I'll never be able to write that many words on something I know so little about, then halfway through start to panic that I'll never be able to cram it all in. I'd love to do 'succinct', but somehow it evades me.

Other homework is on the back burner and I will have to, yet again, burn the midnight oil next week to get it all finished.

One day I'll laugh about all this, but right now I'm out of chocolate:-)

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Blogosphere Bermuda Triangle?

Well, first Bar-Boy disappeared, followed by Legal Lass, then Mennard and now Legally Ginge and Lawminx have vanished too!

Now, I'm not one for being paranoid, but now I come to think of it...

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Plenty of Room for Improvement

Bit of a turn up for the books really. BVC is never predictable and that rule was pretty much demonstrated last weekend.

Having had my first stab at examination-in-chief and cross-examination, it would appear that I am at present equally crap in both of the required arts. Tutor's blood pressure was dangerously high as he attempted to hammer home gently guide me through the subtle process of controlling the witness and getting from them what you want. The dvd of my performance is worthy of an Oscar nomination, not least for the petulant look on my face whilst being screamed at told "NO, NO, NO, HOW MANY MORE TIMES TO I HAVE TO TELL YOU...?".    Answers on a postcard please:-)

Hearsay was a shambles and it is definitely a subject that I have got to revisit (yet again) at some point before the MCT, otherwise I shall be very lucky to pass.

Negotiation was a turn up for the books and I did well, despite this being my most feared subject to date.

Drafting was informative, but also a little daunting. Civil was, as expected, civilised.

Today I'm having a look over my mock exam paper for Opinion Writing. Mmm it's going to be very tricky to do and will require plenty of preparation and planning, which tbh aren't exactly favourite pastimes of mine, as I much prefer to wade in feet first.

So, it would appear that I shall be a criminal barrister who can do bail applications, submissions of no case to answer, pleas in mitigation, but cannot examine any witnesses or do any cases in which hearsay crops up.

Apart from that, everything is going exactly to plan!

Onwards and upwards eh:-)


Friday, 16 October 2009

What goes around...

No sooner have I just about finished the homework, another study weekend looms.

Yesterday I finished off my Drafting homework, which took far longer than anticipated due to the fact that I'd forgotten most of what I studied last year, so I had to re-read much of the notes. Not one for comfort zones, my provider always manages to ask something that is slightly beyond our capabilities and thus part of the Drafting is guesswork.

Today I intend to finish off some notes for my first bash at examination-in-chief and also have a quick look over the other materials that I have prepared for the classes. Oh and also I need to tidy up the house! If the weather stays fair, I might just have time for a quick hack with Bar-Os. His legs are still troubling him from where the flies have bitten them and made them sore, but all attempts to treat them have been to no avail. I finally resorted to using some lavender oil to soothe the sores and keep the flies at bay, seeing as it has insect-repellant properties. However it also has relaxing properties and he was flat out snoring in his stable for several hours last night! If only it would have the same effect on me when I'm unable to sleep!

I may have previously mentioned that a relative of mine has been having some problems with a neighbour, who decided to erect a massive poly tunnel next to my relative's boundary and very close to relative's house. There are no planning restrictions on poly tunnels within gardens around here, so there was nothing that my relative could do.

Unfortunately the neighbour owns a piece of agricultural that stretches across the back of relative's property and has recently erected a closed-board fence on the land to prevent relative from enjoying the previously unobstructed views that stretched for miles. The boundary already had a perfectly adequate post and rail fence in place (that is relative's responsibility to maintain), but neighbour has erected the new fence about half a metre away from the original fence.

What a lot of problems this has caused! The new fence blocks out light to a greenhouse and a sun-lounge, but having looked at the law surrounding right to light and injunctions, it was too risky to take the matter further. In the mean-time, neighbour has placed several structures on the agricultural land, many of them on the boundary, including sheds and so forth, resulting in realtive's modest plot being enclosed by neighbours somewhat untidy structures.

Enough is enough and the local council were asked to evaluate what had happened. The neighbours had purchased the house about 4 years ago, having previously lived in a city. They moved to 'live the dream', ie. to become self sufficient, grow their own veg, raise animals for the table etc. The upshot of the council's findings is that there has been a change of use on the agricultural land to that of a garden extension and the neighbours can no longer grow things on the 4 acre area. The field will now have to be returned to, well a field. The structures on the field have to be removed. The neighbours did look into applying for a lawful development certificate, but they cannot satisfy the criteria.

To date the fence remains in place. I'm trying to fathom out if the fence is lawful. On the one hand, there are no applicable restrictions to fences on agricultural land save for the fact that it can be no more than 2 metres high. This is of little help as relative's home is set on land that is lower down than the neighbours, so although the fence measures over 7ft tall on relative's side, it is only 6ft tall from the neighbours ground. But I do wonder if by the fact that at the relevant time (when the fence was erected), the neighbours land was being used (unlawfully) as a garden extension, this constitutes a breach of planning policy for garden extensions, which recommends post and rail fencing, underplanted with native hedgerow plants.

So at the end of the day, relative's neighbours have 4 acres of land that they cannot use, relative's rear garden is dark and oppresive with no view and all because of a poly tunnel and an arrogant man who moved from the city to the country to enjoy the good life.

I did offer to mediate with the relative's neighbour, but just received a bog standard solicitors letter by way of reply.

Any ideas anyone?


Friday, 9 October 2009

Hearsay Revisited

I couldn't put it off any longer, so finally sat down for 2 days and steadily read through the hearsay stuff. No excuses, mostly perfect peace and quiet, coffee on tap, concentration on full tilt. Deciding to read Keane for starters, then after 5 pages abandoning that idea for 60 pages of another author's writings that were recommended to me by 'Lost'. I actually enjoyed reading those 60 pages, felt that I understood a fair amount of what was written, so I confidently went back to the homework questions, carefully perused them for several hours, comparing what was asked with what I'd read, gave that up as a bad job and guessed the bloody lot! Oh dear, it would appear that moi is thick!

With another study weekend on the horizon, I'm going to be lucky if I get all the homework completed, I just seem to be on a go-slow at the moment, but at least I managed to finish the Negotiation plan a few days ago. Having only had one lesson on that subject so far, I have already decided that I dislike it intensely, which is quite odd as I enjoyed Conference and the two subjects are fairly similar.

I have prepared notes for the 2 advocacy lessons - 1 for examination-in-chief, the other for cross-examination, but may go back and re-do the XIC as in hindsight it is a load of rubbish.

I'm hoping to do some marshalling before Christmas, although I don't quite know how I will find the time what with work and all that, but it is a much needed experience and one that others have recommended to me. I have asked to do something civil, in an attempt to steer myself away from the criminal bar, but somehow I think that old habits die hard and the criminal bar is where my heart lies. But you never know, I might just have a eureka moment and finally fall hopelessly in love with exemption clauses in contract claims!

Having had zero success with OLPAS this year, I have decided to put pupillage applications on the back burner for a while and will try some non-OLPAS apps next year, once I have gotten boss-side of BVC. For now I need to try and concentrate on study and work and worry about pupillage another time.

It is lovely having Bar-Os home, particularly as his time away was only meant to be for a month or so, but finished up far longer due to him being poorly. Thankfully he seems to be fully recovered, but has poorly heels where the flies have bitten him relentlessly. Most horses have black skin, but his is white and very sensitive, so he does tend to suffer with skin problems. He is extremely impatient in a morning and looks very annoyed at the fact that breakfast is never served on time, and then he has to wait at least 5 minutes before being taken out to the paddock. I wonder what his last slave died of?

Yesterday I ran out of apples for Bar-Os and climbed over the back to scrump some apples from an orchard that adjoins my garden. My heart was racing as I quickly picked a dozen or so fruit, convinced that the dirty deed would put an end to my aspirations of becoming a barrister and that I would find myself in the dock, branded nothing more than a common thief.

I'm not a big fan of the tv, as I always seem to end up studying on an evening, but this week I have been watching Criminal Justice and have quite enjoyed it. Just a pity that the tasty barrister got killed off so soon. Not sure that the barrister's clerk had an entirely healthy attitude to his 'master' - bit too incestuous for me.




Friday, 2 October 2009

They'll pinch anything

Someone has pinched Bar-Os' water trough!

There were two troughs in the paddock, one at the bottom end of the paddock, the other at the top. In order to pinch it, the the thief had to climb over a locked 5 bar gate, walk 300 metres down the paddock, uncouple it from the water main, empty it out and then carry it all the way back across the field, over the 5 bar gate and up the lane. How much are these water troughs? About £40 to buy brand new - hardly seems worth all the effort, particularly when you consider that I live at the back of beyond and the thief would have had to drive many miles to get here. It's a good job that I noticed the theft, as the uncoupled water pipe was bent over, but still leaking water. The troughs aren't very tall and the grass grows high around them, so they don't exactly stand out in the paddock.

I had that typical pregnant pause when I went to check the trough, and for a moment I stood looking around me, convinced that my eyes were playing tricks on me, and I even prodded the ground, convinced somehow that the trough was just playing hide and seek.  

My knees turned to jelly yesterday when I went to the paddock at lunchtime to check on Bar-Os and couldn't see him. My immediate thought was that he too had been stolen and I quickly unlocked the gate and went running into the paddock shouting. Bar-Os was extremely annoyed to have his 'bum-scratching-against-the-field-shelter', rudely interupted by an hysterical woman and promptly made known his feelings with a look that, quite frankly, made me feel about 3 inches tall:-)

Today I have to make a start on some more BVC homework, probably the Negotiation stuff. The case is one that we covered in Advocacy last year and concerns a wedding planner chasing an unpaid debt. I also have some Drafting homework to do, but I'm saving that one for a while, as I quite like Drafting and would prefer to get the stuff that I don't enjoy out of the way. I still haven't revisited Hearsay, but will make an effort sometime next week to get to grips with it.  

My enthusiasm for BVC hasn't returned and I'm finding that I have to force myself to study. I suppose this is perhaps one of the disadvantages of studying part-time, in that there is no-one to spur me on when things get a bit hard going.

Earlier this week I cobbled together some notes for the next Advocacy lessons, where I will have my first stab at Examination-in-Chief and also Cross-Examination.

Our mock exams begin next month and it looks as though the studying is very intense for a few months thereafter, with a combination of mock and real exams (I still can't get my head around 'formative' and 'summative'). The heaviest months are looking to be November through to February and I keep spurring myself on by saying that come next March I will be on the home run. I must admit that I am very disappointed in myself and my attitude at the moment with regard to studying, and it is a worry that I no longer enjoy it. I find that although I enjoy the studying during the study weekends, the vast amounts of solitary homework are nothing more than a chore.

Oh well, that is enough moaning from me, I must make a start on something useful.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Hearsay Evidence

*Tuts*

Monday, 14 September 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Muddly

Well, the first study weekend of year 2 came and went.

We have new tutors this year and I feel lucky in that by and large my group has a very good selection of lecturers. Our advocacy tutor is enthusiastic and punchy and bright. We are just starting to learn about Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination and this month's lesson was learning about case theory/preparation. The devil's definitely in the detail! Next month we have our first go at examining a witness.

Our Opinion Writing and Drafting tutor is amazing, so I have no excuses not to get to grips with those 2 subjects. We had to prepare a contract Opinion before class and although mine was ok, there was plenty of room for improvement. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with Contract Law, which has always been a little bit hazy in parts simply because there is just so much to consider and it's easy to omit/forget the obvious. Remedies are a bit tricky, not least because at LLB level students don't really cover them in any detail.

The first Negotiation class was confusing and I'm far from comfortable with this subject. I think that it is a matter of going through the motions? It had a synthetic feel to it and didn't at all resemble real life.

Criminal Litigation was good, but Youth Sentencing is very confusing and I'm going to have to spend a few days trying to get to grips with it. Civil was, well, quite civilised (pretty boring but necessary I suppose).

It was great to catch up with everyone in my group, not so great that none of us have managed to capture the Golden Snitch! Chambers don't know what they are missing:-)
I'm quite relieved that the first weekend is over, but do still feel a little overwhelmed at the mountain I have left to climb.


Onwards and upwards eh!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Normal(ish) Service is Resumed

This was the look on Cyril's face when I told him that he was in fact munching on his Uncle Cedric, who had been 'bagged' and dispensed into a packet of Walkers Cajun Squirrel Crisps.

It's back to BVC for me tomorrow and my tired little brain is not looking forward to the forthcoming cerebral gymnastics. Oh well, having both enjoyed and endured (in varying degrees) my 7 years of law studies to date, this year I hope will be the final push towards getting a pupillage, or if not, well, we'll just have to decide what Plan B really is.

If only I could muster up at least a little enthusiasm!


For some reason spell check has vanished from my blog toolbar, so I apologise in advance for my dreadful spelling.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Squirrel Speaks

All of you who do not take my world domination seriously will be dealt with accordingly:



Mr Swizz - I know where you spend your evenings, do not think you can hide from the squirrel.











Mistress Minx - I have friends in high places, the squirrel rules supreme!
And finally, Mr Barboy, you shall not ever mention madness or anything to do with NUTS again, I have friends in the kebab van dining hall at your Inn.

Bleedin' Squirrel's Hijacked me Blog!

















Is nothing sacred!

Friday, 4 September 2009

7 Days and Counting



Back to school next week:-(



Today Barman bought me a nice new jotter, a proper grown up one with coloured tabs, no excuses now for being totally disorganised and untidy *cough*.

It is quite amusing to look through last year's jotter and see relatively neat, orderly writing, followed by an ever decreasing scrawly mess as the academic year progressed.

Drafting is one of my favourite subjects, but having not done any for a few months, I'd completely forgotten how to do it and had put off doing the homework until yesterday. Thankfully the thinking about it was much worse than the reality of doing it and I managed to get the work done in a couple of hours. I've still got the counterclaim (of a defence and counterclaim) to do, but I think that it'll be ok?

I've had the timetable through for next year and we have a change of tutor for all of the subjects. There is one tutor who has an excellent reputation for his advocacy tuition and my small group has him for the most of year two. Best of all, my favourite tutor (who we only had on the odd occasion) is teaching my group Opinion Writing and Drafting. If I don't go into airhead mode, I stand a chance of doing ok in the written skills, but I can be very blinkered at times and miss out the most obvious points!


Most of the home work is done (in a fashion), but I need a couple of days to tidy it all up. I'm hoping to grab one or two days next week to have a break. Having worked and studied through the Summer hols, I'm shattered and am in need of some shoe shopping.

p.s. this is my 100th blog post and I've still got readers! Must be a hell of a lot of insomniacs out there!





Thursday, 3 September 2009

Suffer the little children


Today's news has yet again shown just how cruel children can be. At Sheffield Crown Court, charges of attempted murder were dropped against two young brothers, who instead have pleaded guilty to the 'lesser' charge of GBH. The timely pleas will spare the victims of having to relive the ordeal that left one of them running half naked down the road covered in blood and crying for help and the other fighting for his life. Such was the brutality of the attack on the second, child victim that he begged to be allowed to die. The young defendants had only just been placed into foster care when they committed the crimes, but had previously attacked another child, a crime that was 'under investigation' by a lethargic and ineffective police force.



The case made me think of my first year of LLB, when I studied a little bit of criminology and had to write a short essay on the theories relating to why children become criminals - nature, nurture or environment. Each theorist put across compelling views as to why some children are criminals and at the end of the module I was undecided as to which theory was the most persuasive. These latest two defendants come from a dysfunctional family and a rough area of Yorkshire, so it's take your pick really as to why they became criminals.



Comparisons of this latest case are being made to Robert Thompson and John Venebles, who killed 2 year old James Bulger after abducting him in a shopping centre. No-one really knows what has become of those child murderers, who successfully obtained an injunction protecting their identities for life and were released several years ago. There were rumours that they had been sent to Australia to start new lives and further rumours that one is set to marry shortly, whilst the other lives with his partner who is unaware of his past.



It's a complex problem that has no solution, on the one hand to reveal the new identities of Venebles and Thompson would no doubt lead to seriously endangering their lives, but on the other hand how would you feel if it transpired that one of them lived next door to you and your young children, but the authorities failed to inform you of your neighbour's past because their right to safety was paramount to that of your children? Is it possible that someone who is capable of committing a truly horrific crime is capable of being rehabilitated and is therefore no longer a threat to society?




Tuesday, 25 August 2009

2 steps forward, 1 step back











Just as I thought that I was getting somewhere with the BVC Summer Spoiler (homework), I received an email informing me that there has been a change in the first Advocacy SGS. Funnily enough, it was one of homework's that I'd tackled and proudly ticked off my list on Sunday morning.

Evidence-in-Chief. Bugger, does that mean I have to be nice to the witness?



At present I'm working on an Opinion and I don't mind admitting that it's gruelling. Contract law just baffles me at times and I seem to go off at tangents and suddenly realise that I've missed out the most obvious point completely. I guess I'm up to about 3'500 words so far and still haven't ventured out of liability into remedies. I eagerly await getting to the Writing Skills class to hear "right how many of you idjuts went down the contract route before realising that it is really a negligence claim - oh just the one of you then".



I imagine that some/many of my classmates won't bother doing it, or much other homework come to that, but I thought that I'd better have a go seeing as the Opinion Writing exam is one of the first exams that we do in the second year. All of our Opinion Writing to date has been on civil law, I'm not sure whether or not we do any criminal Opinions, but it would make a nice change.



Legally Ginge has finally come out the closet, so to speak, and has published her first blog post. I've added LG's blog to my blogroll and recommend that you nip over to her place for a quick gossip.



Just as Bar-Os seemed to be on the mend from his cough, he's had a set back. At first it looked to be quite serious, he'd had a nosebleed which appeared to be coming from both nostrils (a sign that there is something untoward in his respiratory tract), but it hasn't re-occurred and it may now be that it was only one nostril, but the blood had smeared across to the other one. I took him out for a walk on Sunday and he immediately went across to the orchard looking for pears and it transpires that if none are to be found, he attempts to climb the tree in search of it's offerings. Me thinks that he has perhaps upset a wasp or two with his scrumping and they gave him what for up said nostril.



Living in the country is mostly very nice, but the insects can take over the place at times. This year has been particularly bad for wasps (or I suppose good if you happen to be a wasp!), and my house has also been invaded by spiders, loads of them in all shapes and sizes, David Bellamy would be in his element:-) . I haven't seen many hedgehogs this year, but there are plenty of squirrels about, which up until last year had disappeared from the village. I had a stable built last year and the swallows have been regularly inspecting the place, but none have taken up residence yet. Starlings seem to be making a come back this year and we also have some sparrows which seem to be constantly arguing with one another, to the point where I have to go outside and tell them to clear off.



As for pigeons, there are loads of them and they seem to spend their entire time copulating on my fence or performing ridiculous mating rituals around the garden. I used to be quite indifferent to them, but they are starting to piss me off with their seemingly insatiable appetite for nooky next to the window ("more tea vicar").



On a more serious note, I read with sadness and dismay the Nearly Legal article about the BVC student who sought judicial review following 2 failed assessment results, which resulted in her failing BVC. Most surprising was the appeal process and the difference in marking between the provider and the external marker, one of which failed the student, the other awarding a V.C. I must admit that the article has unnerved me, to the point where I'm now considering that it is probably not a good idea to choose Advanced Criminal Litigation as one of my options, simply because it's too easy for an examiner to take a personal dislike to a student and fail them. The written skills exams do not require the student to provide their name, so marking is blind, but the oral skills exams by their very nature do not offer such protection.



Although the student was eventually awarded her BVC, it took some doing to achieve justice and the whole process must have had very serious consequences on her career because it appears that this matter has rumbled on for 3 or more years. I am not certain whether her BVC will run from when she should have graduated (but for the fail), or whether it will run from the judicial review decision, but either way, 3 years is a long time to be waiting and must have proved very demoralising at times.



To think that we BVCers pay such vast amounts of money to our providers, I can't help but think that there needs to be some way of ensuring that this sort of thing doesn't happen on a regular basis. Perhaps it should be that all oral skills exams are marked only by independent examiners and double checked to ensure conformity? What do you think?






Thursday, 20 August 2009

Ooh you are awful, but...










As part of the Bar Vocational Course I have to fulfil 4 court visits and write a report on the cases that I see.



Today I went to the beautiful old Crown Court pictured above and those suppressed emotions re-emerged. I want to be a Criminal Barrister.



I know the money is rubbish, the hours of work expected are unreasonable, the criminal justice system is on its knees, job prospects are abysmal, but there's nothing quite like it. I was insanely jealous when the barristers swooshed past in their gowns, rushing from one hearing to another, overworked and underpaid. On the way home my mind was awash with the evidence that I'd heard, what was good, bad or indifferent about the advocates that I'd listened to and watched, how the judge dealt with that evidence and what the possible outcome of the case might be.



In hindsight, I should have spent the day at a County Court and those old passions would have remained submerged.

Perhaps there's a cure, a sort of Criminal Barristers to be Anonymous?



Saturday, 15 August 2009

Don't Panic Captain Mainwaring

In a month's time I will be back at school and the enormity of the Summer homework schedule has just sunk in. I've been ploughing through some Civil Litigation and Criminal Litigation homework, but there's just so much left to do. I have an Opinion to do, a Writing Skills workbook to fill in, some Drafting homework, preparation for the start of the Negotiation module and also preparation for the commencement of the Examination-in-Chief element of Advocacy (which I know nothing about at all). Oh, and I must also find time to spend a day in court and prepare a written report on the case. None of it looks easy, most of the subject matter is new, so I'll need to spend time researching unfamiliar areas of law.



Back in June it all looked achievable, but now in mid-August it's not going quite as planned.



Crikey! 8 exams, countless mocks, options, homework, revision for MCT...



One day I'll laugh about all of this, but right now I need chocolate.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Pupillage


I'm new to this game, pupillage applications that is, so I've nothing to compare this year's experience with. However, to my mind and I'm sure that many of you will disagree, I believe that the pursuance of so called 'fairness and transparency' that is being promulgated via the OLPAS PP system is actually making matters worse for aspirants.


From what's been said, there are Chambers out there who have already given 'the nod' to someone for a pupillage, but nevertheless go through the charade of posting a vacancy on the Pupillage Portal. How many people wasted precious applications on sets who had no intention of recruiting from the Portal applicants? How many people sat in interviews wondering why the committee didn't seem to want to interview them? And what about the Chambers that don't set out what they REALLY want. How many aspirants have turned up for interview at a 'mixed set' (according to the description offered via the Chambers website) hoping to pursue their dream of civil law, only to be told that in actual fact the set is 98% crime and that it is a criminal pupillage that they are offering?


The timing is very odd too. Most BVCers are up to their neck in Bar finals and have to spend precious time filling in applications, when they really don't have the time to do so, hence the last minute dash and somewhat inevitable crashing of the PP on the last day.


And why once a year? Why not all year round with pupillage vacancies appearing as and when?

We aren't mayflies you know!


It seems to me that the endless regulation actually makes matters worse. If a Chambers is hell bent on giving pupillage to a senior member's relative, so be it, it happens in other walks of life, why waste everyone's time and effort in pretending otherwise. I'd rather know beforehand. It's the same with the application criteria, it needs to be more up front. If a Chambers won't interview anyone without a first or a masters, or from oxbridge, just say so and be done with it, it would be far better to know beforehand.


I also believe that if Chambers were allowed more freedom to actually say what they want (or don't), it would be far easier for applicants to sort the wheat from the chaff and actually know where they stand before wasting applications on futile aspirations. Why so far in advance too, surely it makes sense for Chambers to recruit as and when they think a need will arise, rather than speculatively recruiting so far in advance?


And whilst I'm having a good old moan, a major problem encountered by Chambers and applicants alike is the sheer volume of applications received, why not reduce that by stipulating that only those enrolled on BVC may apply, surely that one single measure would reduce numbers quite significantly and give those who have taken the commitment of BVC a better chance, against those who are merely having a speculative punt.


Why isn't part of the BVC actually placing students in various Chambers for a proper insight into that given set, and providing a 'yes we like you, no you're not our cup of tea' feedback that may provide a springboard for application. I know that some Chambers offer mini-pupillages with an assessment element, but many just go through the motions of having someone following them around for a few days and make little effort to actually provide a proper insight into their Chambers


Now I've annoyed both you and myself, I must get back to Mr Blackstone's who is desperately trying to educate me on the ins and outs of the role of Prosecution Counsel; lovely!




Wednesday, 5 August 2009

It's the simple things in life


Well, it's been a long time since I had 16 hands between my legs, but you will be pleased to know that it was a most enjoyable experience and one that I hadn't experienced for some considerable time. Bar-Os was a true gent and gave me a very pleasurable time indeed. You see bloggers, it's the simple things in life that make me smile the most. I stayed the distance despite my age and my thighs were only slightly bruised the following day and what's more, it brought a rosy glow to my cheeks.



I should perhaps, in the interests of decency, not that for one moment I assumed you would think any other of a very proper and ladylike Bar student of a certain age, who is wed to another who is not Bar-Os, but is Barman, point out that a horses height is measured in hands, hence the 16 hands, not that you were thinking any other of course, all of you being of an innocent disposition and such high minded individuals of immense intellectual capacity, in that such smut would never have even entered your thoughts, but just in case...




Sunday, 26 July 2009

Proud Owner of an AWARD

MOST REJECTED ASPIRANT AWARD - AKA STITCH THAT BPP AWARD!!!!

What can I say?

A very big thankyou to the lovely Chambers without whom, none of this would be possible. I've never felt so modest, being rejected 37 times is a truly glorious accolade from such a singularly mediocre set, and as you can imagine, receiving 36 of them within the space of a few hours made me feel so very special.

Also a big round of applause to my provider, without whom I'd have never had so many wrinkles, grey hairs, homework and well, books! They drive a hard bargain, but I'm banking on them to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse before next June:-)

Good luck to the rest of you who have yet to aspire to such dizzy heights of success, and a special thankyou to Lawminx for the lovely, award ceremony spread - curly sandwiches, soggy sausage rolls and the amazingly delicious homemade desert of squirty cream with prawns.

But seriously, all the very best to those of you who are awaiting news on the 31st.


Friday, 24 July 2009

Back in the saddle










Bar-Os has not been mentioned for ages, mostly due to the fact that he has been unwell. He had a couple of months off over the Winter whilst I was busy with BVC and he's also had a cough since March that started off badly and has slowly improved. There were no other symptoms of illness, no loss of appetite (that'll be the day!), no raised temperature, just an awkward raspy cough that has resulted in my being unable to ride him. The vet has seen him on occasions and recommended that he be rested until better. In the meantime, Bar-Os has somewhat prematurely decided that he has given up work as a bad job and has been a bit of a handful to say the least. Usually a steady sort of chap, he's decided somewhere along the line (during his hols) that he's a speed merchant and tomorrow I have the unenviable task of taking him out for ride. The thing is, when he's a bit miffed he likes to do 'Irish dancing', he sort of doesn't go anywhere much, but dances on the spot very quickly, all four legs going like bees wings. A gentle squeeze to coax him forward usually results in a 'how very dare you' response and a tantrum. Tomorrow, my main objective is to sit quietly in the saddle, ignore the laughing from Barman and to elegantly and gracefully walk out of the yard into the countryside - a picture of 'oneness' with my horse - yeh right ok, I'll settle for staying on board for the duration and looking like a rag doll at the end of it, but still astride.



I'm already back in the saddle, so to speak, with the BVC. In fact due to pupillage applications and also researching a complex legal issue for a relative involving Lawful Development Certificates, I've not had much of a break and my 'day job' has also been keeping me busy too. Today I'm catching up on paperwork, interspersed with the delights of learning all about Part 36 Offers. I'm sure that they are probably quite easy to understand in practice, but sat reading all about them is a little baffling to say the least.



The days seem to be flying past and I've much to do before I go back to 'school' in September. All efforts to improve my bank balance have so far failed and I can't believe how impecunious I am. This I feel is because of the multi-tasking required when studying part-time, and the way that it impacts upon working life, everything gets a little neglected.



Having only sat 4 exams this year, I admit to feeling quite apprehensive about next year and the 8 remaining Bar exams, which I suppose is what has prompted me into an early resumption of studies. One thing is for sure, I will be extremely pleased to get next year over and done with and to finally complete BVC. Not that I haven't enjoyed most of it, but it is an extremely stressful existence and it demands a great deal of time and effort. Electives keep springing to mind, and as of yet I'm completely undecided what 2 subjects to choose. Nothing has been mentioned about them to date, so I'm assuming that we will receive some guidance on them before we choose. I'm thinking that Judicial Review will be quite useful because of my subject interests in environmental and quasi criminal law. Perhaps the Advanced Criminal Litigation module too? Would those of you who have already completed BVC care to tell what you liked/didn't like about your electives?



Friday, 10 July 2009

What?

I have spent oodles of time preparing an Advice on the Law - formatting, paragraph numbering, underlining, italicising, spell checking, punctuating, word counting, (swearing), deleting, word counting again, tweaking and faffing, only to discover that when I copied and pasted it into the required (online) application boxes, the bloody thing looked like a 2 year old had done it and there was no way to alter it.

To add insult to injury, I then had to take an online verbal reasoning test, 30 questions, 15 minutes. Bugger, I didn't finish it and if I'm honest about 3 minutes into the test my brain just said "nope, had enough, not doin it, it's not my sorta thing, don't know what they're on about, damn fangled intelligence tests, don't need it, too old, too tired, too thick, ta ta, I'm outa here". I'm sure the timer said that I had 2 minutes remaining when it clicked off? Perhaps I had a space cadet moment and just sat there, oblivious to time and surroundings?


I'd have felt much more comfortable with an Ikea flat pack set, I can do those, in fact I'm impressive with them and usually only need the one sticking plaster when I've finished.

Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk.


Looks like it's back to plan B then! Does anyone know what plan B is and where I can get one?







Thursday, 25 June 2009

Half Time Submission

Some readers will be starting BVC this Autumn and perhaps some readers are contemplating BVC at some point in the future. I thought that it might be of interest for me to provide aspirants with a short(ish) perspective on how BVC has panned out so far and what my take on the course is. Of course there will be others who perhaps won't share my views and I hope that they too will offer their views of BVC in my blog's comments section. For those of you who may be concerned about your identity being revealed, there is an anonymous option provided when posting a comment and I don't have sight of anyone's email address, so your privacy is protected.

Where do I start? Well, I know that I was pretty uptight about BVC prior to starting the course, not least because there wasn't really that much information that meant anything sensible to the uninitiated. I trawled the web looking for information and stumbled across a few blogs that gave a glimpse of BVC, but many of my worries/questions were not quelled/answered. Having studied LLB part-time, in a group where all of the other students were taking the LPC route, I was out on a limb regarding any sort of meaningful conversation/information about Bar School. I purchased 'Bewigged and Bewildered' and recommend the book for anyone contemplating BVC. It's a pity that Law Minx's blog was hi-jacked last year because many of her earlier posts provided an insight into the BVC, but as far as I know (and I'm sure LM herself will correct me if I'm wrong), the early stuff was lost when the blog was kidnapped.


First of all, it is a very popular myth that BVC is some sort of a joke course. I was under the impression before commencing BVC, that merely showing my face now and then would be adequate in fulfilling the requirements of BVC. My experience to date (and I have no reason to suspect that things will alter next year) is that BVC is a very demanding course. Any pre-conceptions that I held were quickly blown out of the water, once BVC started. My provider threw us in at the deep end and the monthly reading list approached 1000 pages and my 20 hours per week study time was quickly expanded to almost double that. I remember only too vividly my despair around Christmas time, when everything seemed to overwhelm me and the studying mixed in with work and family was relentless (although I did manage to have Christmas day off!).


It all sounds very doom and gloom so far, but I don't really intend to cast that sort of picture. BVC is an extremely expensive course and I for one would have been very disappointed had the course lacked intensity and content. I dare say that a student can get away with, to a certain extent, not doing much work, but it is a risky business and based on the failure figures for the Criminal Litigation exam (approx one third of students failed), I for one am pleased that I took the course seriously and put the work in. It should be borne in mind that I'm part-time and as such my experiences will differ somewhat to the full-timers. I will now try and paint a picture of the BVC modules that I have studied so far:


Criminal Litigation
There is a lot of reading and a lot to digest. I'm sure that I've already forgotten most of it, but naturally evidence plays a big part, along with sentencing and PACE. Either-way offences are a popular topic, no doubt because they form the bread and butter of a fledgling criminal barrister's workload. Criminal Litigation must be taken seriously because a BVC student will rely on it in other modules too, particularly Conference and Advocacy. My provider provided Blackstone's, Archbold and Archbold Magistrates Guide for this module, but perhaps other providers differ. We weren't provided with the ICSL Crim Lit manual and I bought one, but it should be perused with care because some of the provisions contained in it are not yet in force, I have more or less abandoned the manual because I messed up one month's homework relying on it.


Civil Litigation
Much of what is studied is contained within the White Book and seeing as the tome is relatively modern, it's fairly easy to comprehend, however the sheer volume of information that needs to be remembered at exam time makes this module quite demanding, not least because there are a lot of timescales to learn. It is quite boring at times, but again it needs to be learnt because you will refer to the Civil Procedure Rules in Advocacy classes. The subtleties of Civil Litigation can catch one out if not careful - some of the rules are discretionary, others mandatory and it is easy to confuse the two.


Legal Research
What can I say? It is a pig of a module, very time consuming and there are no shortcuts. I believe that it is being dropped from the BVC syllabus, which is a great shame as I firmly believe that others should suffer as I did:-) But seriously, I thought that I already knew how to do Legal Research when I started BVC because it was part of my LLB course, was I in for a surprise. It is the most useful module that I have learnt to date and its rumoured demise is IMO a mistake. Take Legal Research for granted at your peril, you will need to be on the ball with the latest legislation in other BVC modules.


Conference
I really enjoyed this module, but some students hate it. Essentially Conference is interviewing a client. A relaxed, personable outer self is needed, combined with sharpness of mind to glean any snippets of information that may turn a case/defence on its head. My provider expects a fair amount of paperwork to go with the oral skills. A Conference Plan outlines the areas of questioning, followed by an analysis of the law in relation to liability/culpability, remedies/sentencing. Conference requires good inter-personal skills, combined with a decent knowledge of the law. Whether or not I have the said skills remains to be seen because I haven't received my exam result yet. Negotiation is also a separate BVC module, but I don't start Negotiation until this Autumn, so am at present unable to comment on its content.


Advocacy
For me, this has been the most disappointing module. It is such an important skill, but we part-timers are meant to learn it by some sort of long distance, subliminal process. In real terms we get less than 15 minutes per student, per month, to make our submissions and be marked on the said submission. Each month we make different submissions - eg. one month a bail application, next month an interim injunction application etc.. I had anticipated that a great deal more guidance and time would be spent on teaching Advocacy. In all fairness, from what I gather this criticism spans all of the providers, so it is an area that needs improvement and no, I don't think that we should be trying to teach ourselves the Art, BVC is expensive, we deserve to be taught this module thoroughly. I should add that this is not a criticism of the Advocacy tutors, merely that there isn't enough time spent on it. Perhaps the full time students get a fairer time allocation for their Advocacy?


Opinion Writing
This module requires a meticulous approach to law. An Opinion is basically a written document, often requested prior to litigation, that sets out the law in relation to the Claimant's/Defendant's case. The merits and pitfalls of any potential proceedings are set out, along with advice on remedies available (such as quantum). I'm not going to go any further on this topic as I don't at this point consider myself fully informed on Opinion Writing, much of the teaching of this module commences in year 2.


Drafting
I had no idea that barristers had to draft documents before I started BVC, I assumed that the judge did all of that. I approached this module with extreme fear, but I really like Drafting. It is probably one of the most difficult modules, but extremely rewarding. As with Opinion Writing, I'm only part way through this module, so cannot offer a fully informed insight, however I imagine that Drafting skills/exam results will be based on how good the tutor is, as it requires a very clear and methodical style of teaching, accompanied with the patience of a Saint.


I haven't chosen any electives yet, they form part of year 2, so I cannot offer any guidance on them.


Most importantly, I can truly say, that never have I learnt so much in such a relatively short space of time. BVC has stretched my mind beyond what I thought it capable of, whether that newly learned knowledge is of any use or not remains to be seen, but it's been one hell of an experience getting this far.


If I can offer one BVC tip, try to get along with your classmates, build trusting relationships and share your worries with them, if they are worth their salt, they will support you and help you. If they turn their back on you, wipe the floor with them during Advocacy, it's very satisfying:-)






Wednesday, 24 June 2009

You're once, twice, thirty seven times rejected

I applied for a non-olpas pupillage 3 months ago and was rejected by the Chambers about 6 weeks later. Pretty bog standard so far I hear you say, but yesterday I received another rejection from them, followed by a gap, followed by a dozen further, late morning rejections from the same Chambers. At this point the clerk must have broken off for a little light lunch before resuming his now truly onerous task for the afternoon, that of rejecting Barmaid another 24 times.

I ran an idea past Swizzle and collectively we have agreed that I should start off with the very smallest font and simply reply to the first email 'OK', followed by ever increasing Okay's until the thirty seventh reply is the most humongously large OK that is possible, might even have to send 2 emails, one with an 'O', the other with a 'K'.


Yesterday I finally tackled the job of sorting out all of my BVC folders, which were in various states of disarray, and today I have cleaned out my kitchen cupboards and tidied the garage. So, that's enough Domestic Goddessness for 1 year, I'm now itching to get my teeth into something pupillagey, so if there are any Chambers out there who would like to engage the services of a pupil/cleaner with an immaculate garage and show room shiny kitchen, I'm your (wo)man. p.s. You won't need to tell me everything 37 times, once usually does the trick:-)



Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Was it something I said?

At times like this I like to massage my cerebral hemisphere with literary works of profound meaning and intellectual reasoning. Unable to find anything suitable, the following will have to do:

I'm a little fairy
I don't swear
S**t, B****r, A*******s
I don't care




Rejected after screening, how VERY dare they!




Saturday, 13 June 2009

What goes around...

Regular readers may recall that I live in a rural location. My nearest town is about 8 miles away, it's a small gossipy market town that seems to have more than its fair share of sinister events. There are certain persons within the local town that have a certain reputation and one person in particular, over the years, has gained a reputation for being untouchable by the police, despite his reputation for walking on the wrong side of the thin blue line.



Many years ago, a young woman was murdered in the local town, her body was found underneath a railway bridge, she had been sexually assaulted, beaten and bitten. The young woman had been attacked on her way home following a night out at the town's nightclub. Rumours abounded as to who the murderer was and the finger pointed firmly at a certain individual, but he wasn't convicted. A friend of the certain person, who was not quite 'all there' was tried and convicted for the murder, but it was always rumoured that the wrong person went to jail and the defendant had been duped into confessing.



Some years later, the certain individual was under suspicion again, this time for firearms offences. Following a police chase, his car was found abandoned and the driver had legged it across the fields to escape arrest. Evidence was seized (a substantial amount of money), but the money 'disappeared' from the police station and the charges were dropped. This man seemed to be untouchable and blatant with it, rules were for other people.


It seemed that the certain person craved attention. Driving his Ferrari at full speed up a narrow one-way street, dive bombing trains in his Micolight, walking around town with another man on a leash, on his hands and knees pretending to be a guard dog, mounting the pavement in his car to frighten pedestrians, the list goes on.

His father hung himself and rumour had it that the suicide was due to the shame that his son had bestowed on the family. I remember that day, I was in the local town visiting a sunbed parlour (they were all the rage in the 80's) and the certain person was in an adjacent cubicle topping up his tan, even though he'd learnt only a few hours previously that his father was dead.

This certain person always had plenty of money and most certainly enjoyed flashing the cash around town. He had a part share in a local business and I always wondered how on earth the business could produce such profits, in the small market town, for such a lavish lifestyle. Seems I wasn't the only one wondering just how a small town business produced such profits. I remember many years ago, a conversation in a local pub, a local policeman was talking about the certain individual and stating that he didn't care how long it took, he was sure that one day the certain individual would come unstuck and the police would 'have him'.

Scroll forward several years - a neighbour of mine told me that he was going to a party to celebrate the inevitable acquittal of the certain person (who's trial had just finished, but the jury were still deciding). The party was a lavish affair, you see the barrister had assured the certain person that there was no way he could be convicted, not enough evidence, so the certain person's mother had held a party to celebrate son's imminent home-coming.

However for once it seems, the police did a half decent job of collecting evidence and they proved that even running at maximum capacity, the small market town business could not produce profits to account for the lavish home and cars etc. that belonged to the certain person. Certain person got 17 years and a little while later, several more years were added as the police uncovered more evidence for additional crimes. There was even a charge for illegal abstraction of electricity, seems that the certain person had tapped into a local factory's electricity supply and used that electricity to heat his swimming pool (I had to smile at that one).

Glancing through recent House of Lord's decisions in search of material for some BVC homework, I noticed a case with the distinctive surname of the certain individual, and sure enough, there he was appealing on a point of law, but his appeal was not successful. It seems that eventually the untouchable certain person became too brave, too blatant, too clever, upset too many people in the small market town that never forgets. It seems that what goes around comes around, but sometimes it takes a long, long time.