The third person involved with the LOTR film and props thefts appeared in court today. I went along for a look again. As usual my own home neighbourhood fielded a strong team of assault drink and drug offenders. I sat down next to the one person who looked habitually desk-bound, a man with small white hands. Soon enough his lawyer sat next to him, carrying a folder with his name on it so I could see I’d picked the right man. No sign that he knew who I was, though I suppose he’d have loathed me on principle if he had. The webmasters of the Tolkien fan sites represent the Net fans who ended up biting the hand that hoped to feed them, or hoped to milk them of $180,000, depending on your point of view.
Meanwhile the courtroom warmed up with a lot of backslapping and laughter and ‘how’s your father?’ between the lawyers, police and court functionaries. Not a very encouraging environment for the defendents. My special interest had been sitting around looking as comfortable as a cat in a rainstorm until his lawyer showed up; then there was a fair bit of grinning and joking from them too. Bravado, perhaps. On the other hand, a defence lawyer who didn’t instill confidence in his clients wouldn’t get a lot of work. ‘Ooh, don’t fancy your chances now, mate’ wouldn’t be too good for business.
The judge arrived and an air of pen-chewing tension settled over the room. Eventually the accused was stood up, another lawyer said that the prosecution was still needing more time to complete disclosure. Which translates as ‘They haven’t got to the bottom of all the evidence yet,’ I suppose. So, it’s a very complex case, perhaps? More news next week, and we hope it’ll start to get interesting then too.