Witness

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen is a barrister. He is questioning Hugh, a police sergeant who is in the witness box. There is an elderly, fruity sort of Judge, Ralph, and a nasty-looking piece of work in the dock.

Stephen Can you tell us, Sergeant Henderson, what the prisoner said to you when you made the arrest?

Hugh If I may consult my notes, m'lud?

Judge Certainly, certainly, certainly. By all means. Yes.

Hugh I apprehended the accused and advised him of his rights. He replied "Why don't you ram it up your pim-hole, you fusking cloff prunker." There is a sensation in the jury box. A woman screams and two men faint clean away. Judge purses his lips and makes a note.

Judge "Why don't you ram it up your pim-hole you fusking ..." er, cloth-blanket was it? Another scream. The sound of a juryman being sick.

Stephen Er, I believe it was ... er ...

Judge (Testily) Yes, yes?

Stephen Cloff-prunker m'lud. Sharp intakes of breath all round.

Judge (Bemused) I see. Forgive my ignorance Mr Clarkson, but what exactly is a "cloff-prunker?" Another sigh of horror. Stephen is mightily embarrassed.

Stephen Well m'lud it's ...

Judge (Impatiently) Yes?

Stephen It's ... hem ... an illicit practice whereby one person ... erm ...

Judge Well?

Stephen Whereby one person frangilates another's slimp, m'lud.

Judge (Staggered) He does what?

Stephen He or she gratifies the other person by ... smuctating them avially.

Judge Good lord. How absolutely disgusting. Do people really do that sort of thing?

Stephen I believe so, m'lud.

Judge In which case I dare say there are probably magazines devoted to this practice?

Stephen Very possibly, M'lud.

Judge Are you planning to introduce any of these publications in evidence, Mr Clarkson?

Stephen I hadn't thought it wholly necessary, M'Lud.

Hugh Hmm. Slapdash, Mr Clarkson. Slapdash. Well. Carry on, carry on.

Stephen Thank you m'lud. Now Sergeant. After arresting the accused, I believe you questioned him at the station. You have a transcript of the interrogation?

Hugh Yes, sir. I asked him if he could explain his whereabouts on the night in question. He replied "I was in all night, wasn't I, you pempslider."

Judge Pempslider?

Stephen A pempslider, M'Lud is ...

Judge (Irritated) Yes thank you, Mr Clarkson, I am not entirely uneducated in these matters.

Stephen I beg you pardon, M'Lud.

Judge I did go to Winchester, you know.

Stephen Quite so, m'lud. If you would continue, Sergeant. He called you a pempslider.

Hugh That is correct. And then ... then, he called me a ... I wonder if I might have a glass of water, m'lud?

Judge Certainly not. This isn't America.

Hugh He said "Skank off, you cloffing cuck, you're all a load of shote-bag fuskers, so prunk that up your prime-ministering pim-hole." Complete pandemonium from all save the Judge who looks at the accused sternly. A policeman behind him is clutching a handkerchief to his mouth and heaving. Accused looks smug.

Stephen (Whimpering faintly) My God.

Judge And what did you say to that, Sergeant?

Hugh (Consulting notes) I told him to mind his fucking language, m'lud.

Judge (Approvingly) I should think so too.

Vox Pop

Stephen You see, it's a problem of discipline. Young people know nothing of service. They should all be forced to do some time in the army. There's muggings, rapings, beatings, violence, cruelty - fair enough, that's the army. But at least it teaches you how to serve.

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