BOFH: Spontaneous Legal Combustion

The truth? You can't handle the truth...

Episode 6

The following concludes episodes 4b, 4c and 5b, which are available exclusively to Register Platinum Cookie readers (with access to the content opulent Register Website). For the benefit of general (Lead Cookie) readers, the following flashback snippets have been approved for distribution:

Boss: You Bastards! (Episode 4b)

Replacement Boss: Bastards! (Episode 4c)

Replacement Replacement Boss: You B..*Boom!* (Episode 5b)

Chief Inspector Miriam Houser: You're nicked! (Episode 5b)

And now the exciting conclusion:

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, at this juncture it falls upon me to review both the charges and their relative merits before giving direction to you, the jury, prior to your retiring to make your decision.

Cases of this magnitude garner considerable media attention and I strongly direct you not to be swayed by any speculation that may have appeared in the gutter press about the defendants' guilt in this matter.

The two defendants stand accused of a number of very serious charges including forgery, theft, extortion, assault, kidnapping and attempting to pervert the course of justice - to name but a few.

The charges of attempting to bribe Police Commander Reg Stapleton, threatening Police Commander Reg Stapleton and finally successfully bribing Police Commander Reg Stapleton have been dropped now that ex-Police Commander Reg Stapleton resides in Majorca after a lucrative... uh... gambling windfall.

The prosecution's contention that this windfall was orchestrated in some way by the defendants - based on a sheet of paper found at the casino containing a number of sequential keypresses apparently setting the machine in 'debug mode' and forcing consecutive jackpots to occur - is preposterous.

Indeed, the link between the defendants and this note is extremely tenuous, and were we to condemn anyone in possession a piece of letterhead paper from the IT department of their company it would be a very sad day indeed. Who of us can honestly say they have not received such a page at one time or another? I know I have.

As you are no doubt aware, the four charges of arson have been withdrawn following an incident involving a carelessly placed bar heater in an evidence room. Drawing links between this incident and the access to the evidence by the aforementioned police commander are purely speculative and based upon the vaguest of suspicions and some very grainy closed circuit TV images - and should be discounted.

Similarly the assault and kidnapping charges may yet be withdrawn after the two incidents early this morning. If this case has cemented anything at all in our minds I would I hope that it has taught us to be more careful our footing on underground platforms when a train is approaching.

As regards the evidence proffered by the so-called witnesses, the prosecution would have us believe that their key witness, Mr. X, was so fearful of identification and retribution that his testimony was only obtained on the grounds that his identity was never revealed, and that for a trial to be fair that the same anonymity be extended to the members of the Jury. His testimony, if one can call it that, is typical of the feeble minded fabrications one all-too-often encounters when dealing with heads of financial departments located in corner offices with a South East view on the 4th floor of medium to large companies in this country. It would not come as a surprise to me if the man chose to recant his testimony as a drug fuelled flight of fancy in the next day or two in a fit of remorse.

My impression of him is that he is neither to be trusted nor relied upon - entirely the sort of individual to leave the country in the middle of a major trial on the spur of the moment for an extended holiday without telling anyone of his whereabouts and never contacting his friends or relatives again. Were he not under the protection of a single police officer with a history of narcolepsy, staying in room 203 of the Dorchester Hotel, I might seriously consider ordering the confiscation of his passport.

And now a word or two about the defendants, who have conducted themselves with the decorum of the true IT professionals that they are throughout this harrowing ordeal. Whilst one might quite reasonably expect them to harbour feelings of resentment and outrage at the perjurous casserole of untruths we have been served in the past week, their composure has been a glittering example to us all of the ability of honest men to shrug off vicious slights.

And finally, a few comments on the relevance of evidence on the most serious charges as they pertain to the law. Although the prosecution have proven beyond a shadow of doubt - through both DNA and fingerprint evidence - that the defendants were in the office concerned around the time of the alleged offences, they have chosen to pursue an intricate and convoluted conspiracy involving secret doors, tampered security cameras and access locks, cleaning alcohol and rolls of carpet when in fact a far simpler and more believable explanation for what transpired is blatantly obvious - though neither noted nor investigated - that of Spontaneous Human Combustion. The jury is directed to contemplate this fact in their deliberations.

And so I would like to direct the jury to retire to their chamber to review the case they have seen and heard in the past few days, setting aside any external influence they may have been exposed to, and reach a unanimous verdict of not guilty. They should set aside my personal opinions and the fact that I am so sure of the defendant's innocence that I have already ordered that they be freed on bail pending an appeal - should that be necessary - and judge the case on its merits. Finally, prior to my departure for my extended Majorca holiday, I would like to thank each and every juror personally for their selfless attention during this trial. Juror number 1, Steven West, 34b Windsor Drive, Peckham, Thank you very much. Juror number 2, Sumit Singh, Apartment 2, 41 Badger Close...." ®

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