A solicitor doing a moonie? Surely not.
Bystander, who is a real JP, takes a stern line: “I was deeply shocked to read this story. Does this solicitor, an officer of the Supreme Court, not realise that the gluteus maximus is for sitting on, and certainly not to be used to express opinions? I have heard a few lawyers talking through their arse in my time, but none has so far felt it necessary to drop their trousers while doing so”
Briefly: Willie Johnstone of Harding, Swinburne, Jackson & Co, Sunderland decided that enough was enough. Defence solicitors were being required to undergo a search – whereas prosecutors, magistrates and court staff did not have to be searched as they went through a back door!. Other solicitors objected – but Willie decided to pull his trousers down in the court corridor – provoking the Court Service to issue a statement saying that they were treating the incident “very seriously”.
With the scent of a great story in my flaring nostrils, I reached for the phone, almost hyperventilating with amusement and telephoned the offices of Harding, Swinburne, Jackson & Co because I could not access their website. Willie is away on holiday in Thailand and no-one was available to comment. I spoke to a great guy who was manning the fort, explained that I was a journalist (which, of course, I now am) and asked him how the firm were reacting. He spoke with a gentle Sunderland accent and told me that there were quite a few reports about it. I asked if the press attention was the reason the website was down. He laughed (Did I hear a quiver… a hint of nervous anxiety?) No, I was told. The firm are simply updating their information. I wasn’t going to embarrass him, nor for that matter, Willie Johnstone (had I got through to him) – so I asked what sort of guy Willie was. I was told that ‘Willie is a great guy’. I laughed, said that the firm had nothing to fear from my report, thanked him for his time and rang off. You know? I have a feeling that Willie may, indeed, be a good guy.
I can understand frustration and anger at discrimination. I have to say, had I been in his position, I may have chosen a different method of protest. Charon’s bum is for sitting on while guzzling Rioja, smoking Silk Cut and sipping espressos – it is not for criminals, witnesses, defence lawyers, plod or other associated legal people to look at. Made me laugh though. I hope the Court service deal with the matter leniently. I can’t imagine that Willie is a serial mooner. I was about to telephone The Law Society when I re-read the BBC report. The Law Society have not received any formal complaints about Mr Johnstone’s behaviour.
Let us hope – to coin a phrase – they ‘drop’ the matter quietly.