Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

# 60. They can do a runner

Let sleeping clients lie
Legal cartoon, law, aviation insurance lawyer paul brennanYou would expect every lawyer to have a story about a client falling asleep on him or her. In fact, it is fairly rare and has happened to me, only once.

I was a defence lawyer appearing at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court near Victoria Station, London.

My client in his 50s was well turned out in shirt, tie, blazer and grey flannel trousers. He was on a suspended sentence. I told him that he was going to prison where he had been many times before, always for theft. Like so many clients, drink had been his downfall.

By 11am he seemed jolly. By noon he had a manic grin. I started to beg the list officer to get us on. Just before lunch he had become morose and disshellved which could hopefully be mistaken for remorse rather than extreme drunkeness. We were called on.
During my plea in mitigation the Magistrate drew my attention to the snoring coming from the dock which had grown to an unacceptable level which even the legal process could not ignore.
I looked into the dock and there was my client on the floor, fast asleep.
The Magistrate unexpectedly sentenced my sleeping client to probation and went to lunch. The courtroom cleared. We were alone.
With great difficulty, I woke my client up and tried to explain what had happened or at least my understandably inflated version of it.
But, by then he was unbearably drunk and seemed not to understand his good fortune and my role in it. He wanted money. He advanced on me with his hand out.
I did what many other lawyers have done over the centuries ...... a runner. Easily outpacing him on the stairs, past security, out onto the street, never to see him again.
“Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing”.

© Paul Brennan 2009

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