Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Lawyers, Priests and Nazis

Some lawyer items today and not a single lawyer joke.

Okay, just one...
A truck driver would amuse himself by running over lawyers. Whenever he saw a lawyer walking down the side of the road, identified by the pin striped suit and brief case, he would swerve to hit him, enjoy the loud, satisfying "THUMP", and then swerve back onto the road.

One day, as the truck driver was driving along he saw a priest hitchhiking. He thought he would do a good turn and pulled the truck over.

He asked the priest, "Where are you going, Father?"

"I'm going to the church 5 miles down the road," replied the priest.

"No problem, Father! I'll give you a lift. Climb in the truck." The happy priest climbed into the passenger seat and the truck driver continued down the road.

Suddenly the truck driver saw a lawyer walking down the road and instinctively he swerved to hit him. But then he remembered there was a priest in the truck with him, so at the last minute he swerved back away, narrowly missing the lawyer. However even though he was certain he missed the lawyer, he still heard a loud "THUD". Not understanding where the noise came from he glanced in his mirrors and when he didn't see anything, he turned to the priest and said, "I'm sorry Father. I almost hit that lawyer."

"That's okay, my son",  replied the priest. "I got him with the door!"
What I was going to say was that lawyers often have difficulty explaining to clients the diference between facts and circumstances which act as a defence to criminal charges, and  facts and circumstances which are not defences but may be used in mitigation, that is, to explain the offence or lessen its severity so as to seek a more lenient penalty.

The following anecdote, taken from a book where the source is not identified, explains the difference well, although in aggravation rather than mitigation:
Making his way along a crowded railway platform in Rome, Goerring happened to collide with an Italian aristocrat.  The nobleman demanded an apology. 

"I am Hermann Goerring," snapped the marshall.

"As an excuse that's not enough," replied \the Italian coldly, "but as an explanation it is ample."

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