A particularly fine obituary
I like to think we still have time to achieve such levels of public eloquence.
Patrick Pakenham, who has died aged 68, was a talented barrister and the second son of the 7th Earl and Countess of Longford...
During his legal career, Pakenham became something of a legend, and, 25 years on, accounts of his exploits are still current. During his appearance before an irascible and unpopular judge in a drugs case, the evidence, a bag of cannabis, was produced. The judge, considering himself an expert on the subject, said to Pakenham, with whom he had clashed during the case: "Come on, hand the exhibit up to me quickly." Then he proceeded to open the package. Inserting the contents in his mouth, he chewed it and announced: "Yes, yes of course that is cannabis. Where was the substance found, Mr Pakenham?" The reply came swiftly, if inaccurately: "In the defendant's anus, my Lord."
Pakenham's final appearance in court has been variously recorded. As defence counsel in a complicated fraud case, he was due to address the court during the afternoon session, and had partaken of a particularly well-oiled lunch.
"Members of the jury," he began, "it is my duty as defence counsel to explain the facts of this case on my client's behalf; the Judge will guide you and advise you on the correct interpretation of the law and you will then consider your verdict. Unfortunately," Pakenham went on, "for reasons which I won't go into now, my grasp of the facts is not as it might be. The judge is nearing senility; his knowledge of the law is pathetically out of date, and will be of no use in assisting you to reach a verdict. While by the look of you, the possibility of you reaching a coherent verdict can be excluded."
For the whole thing: Click here: Telegraph News Patrick Pakenham
UPDATE: 15 March 2013: The link above seems to have succumbed to link rot. Try here.
Thanks to The Volokh Conspiracy