Plumber Trial

“Order! Order!” the judge called, bringing the courtroom to silence. Those of us on the jury settled down, several people embarrassed about the outburst. “We are here to close the case of Westley Freeman vs the Giant Sewer Rats, not to argue about whether pineapple belongs on pizza or not! Mr Freeman, I would ask you not to bring up that topic again. You may proceed with your testimony.”

“Well, as I was saying, Your Honour,” Mr Freeman said, clutching a hat tightly in his hands, “I was down in the sewers, you know, and I read the report from the Melbourne based drain plumber. I was working as a surveyor. The client required me to look at their pipes from the sewer level. When I got to the pipes, that’s when I saw it. The giant rat at my feet. Naturally, I was terrified and kicked it. Who wouldn’t?”

From my seat in the jury, I found myself nodding. In that situation, I would have done the same thing. Small rats in the sewers are bad enough, but giant ones? Yikes.

“Permission to treat the defendant as hostile, Your Honour?” said the lawyer for the giant rats, who had not come into court today.

Mr Freeman looked around the room, seemingly in shock. “But I’m not a witness, I’m the defendant!”

“Which means you have a direct interest in the outcome of this case. My point exactly. Your Honour?”

“You may proceed,” the judge said.

A wide grin spread on the attorney’s face. “Mr Freeman, were you, or were you not there to complete drain repairs in the Brighton area?”

“I already told you, yes, I was there to do my job!”

This was getting farcical. I already knew which way I was going to vote. While Mr Freeman had clearly committed assault, from his perspective it had been entirely out of self-defence.

The rats’ attorney stepped forward. “Then why does your company have no records of contracting plumbing work in Brighton that day? I think you were there for a different reason. I think you’ve been lying to us.”

The courtroom was silent. That was a damning piece of evidence.

This case just got blown wide open.