} None of the above. There is an ancient (and therefore obviously wise)
} system, which has fallen into disuse in recent centuries, but which is
} ripe for revival. I refer, of course, to trial by combat. Of course,
} things have changed a little since trial by combat was last in vogue:
} the days of two opponents meeting alone on the sward before the castle
} are over, and nowadays every litigant needs his team of lawyers - the
} more the merrier, I say. Of course, televised court proceedings would
} become much more marketable, and we could probably afford to get the
} broadcasters to pay the lawyers fees, thus bringing justice equally to
} all. In the future, news reports will look something like:
} David: At the Old Bailey today, the Smith trial continues.
} Tom Sawyer has the details.
} Tom: Well, David, the action has moved back into open court now,
} following a dispute over rules of evidence earlier in the
} day, which had to be resolved in chambers. It is rumoured
} that his Honour Referee Braithwaite finally had to invoke
} the House of Lord's ruling on the matter last year, and
} had the problem resolved based on the outcome of a nude
} mud-wrestling match between defence and prosecution teams.
} David: So what's happening now?
} Tom: Well, it would seem that the defence won the argument, and
} Sir Anthony Crossling QC has been allowed to introduce his
} non-standard extra-long katana.
} David: That'll cause some problems for the prosecution, then?
} Tom: Well, yes. Sir Anthony is a past master at the katana,
} while Ms Rachel Atkins, acting for the Crown, has almost
} no experience with edged weapons. However .... Oh, just
} a minute ... Yes, I've just heard that they're about to
} resume, and that Ms Atkins has obtained the referee's
} permission to swap her usual choice of quarterstaff for an
} 8-foot pikel. Well, that evens up the chances a bit for
} the prosecution.
} And they're back in action. Sir Anthony opting for a
} very conservative position, and concentrating mainly on
} putting forward a solid and unbreakable defence. Ms
} Atkins seems to be going all out for a win, but ... OH!
} What a blow! She reversed her pikel in mid-swing and used
} the blunt end in a scathing attack on Sir Anthony's
} ankles, and he's down. Well, a completely novel piece of
} legal manouevring there, and the referee isn't sure ....
} yes, he's given it to Ms Atkins. And the defence solicitor
} has launched an objection ... looks like they're all going
} back into chambers again. It'll take a round of Indian
} King-of-the-Ring to sort this one out.
} David: So, what's the next step, Tom?
} Tom: Well, assuming that the prosecution victory in this round is
} confirmed, the case should move into the assault course stage.
} This will be particularly interesting, since it is rumoured
} that falling TV ratings have led the Lord Chancellor to make
} sweeping changes in the procedure here. There are stories of
} rotating knives and tar pits, but nothing can be confirmed
} at this stage.
} David: Tom Sawyer at the Old Bailey. And we go over to another
} part of the Old Bailey now, where the defendant John Smith is
} giving a news conference.
} [Switch to news conference]
} Reporter: Mr Smith, you've already lost 3 of your legal team to
} Rachel Atkins, do you think it's time to give up?
} Smith: Well, of course it's never nice to see your lawyer defeated,
} but it's a trial of 2 halves, and Sir Anthony gave 110
} percent. His injury, apparently, is not life-threatening
} like the others, and he'll soon be back on the team.
} Remember, the trial's not over until the final judgement.
} I can reveal, however, that in the next stage, the assault
} course, I shall be playing my Joker.
} [Switch back to studio]
} David: Political news: and the launched a new offensive at Prime
} Ministers penalty shoot-out today. Alan Hansard has the
} details .......
} You owe the Oracle a complete set of "Barristers of Lincoln's Inn"