‘I have been using a pair of sock puppets for years,’ said Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, ‘The jury love it when I bring them out from under the bench to explain legal terms such as ‘habeus corpus’, or the difference between murder and manslaughter. In such cases it really helps to lighten the mood.’
‘We have been very impressed with Lord Judge’s socks’ said Justice Minister, Jack Straw, ‘but in the end we decided to stick with tradition and issue all judges with their very own Sooty and Sweep. The juries like it when Sooty waves his magic wand and sends a criminal down for life.’ Mr Straw explained that in complex cases, such as financial fraud, juries may also be given access to more advanced puppets such as Zig and Zag.
The decision follows research showing that 2/3 of jurors were confused by the judge’s direction. The remaining third were confused by the researcher’s question.
‘Of course we try our best to keep things nice and simple for juries,’ said Lord Judge, ‘I even changed my name to ‘Judge’ to make it easier for them. In the future I might take it one step further and rename defendants as Mr or Mrs Guilty or Not Guilty.’
In the report many jurors said that they needed clearer directions from the judge. ‘I was very confused,’ said one, ‘I kept getting lost and going into the wrong courtroom. Then I spent three hours trapped in the toilets. A map would have helped.’ The report also found that many jurors wanted judges to give them written material. ‘I already do,’ said Lord Judge, ‘I usually start them off with ‘Burglar Bill’. And, if they are really good, I give them pens and colouring books.’
Puppetry is not new to the legal system. ‘The government has used legal puppets for years,’ explained Mr Straw. ‘I remember once when the Attorney General came into Cabinet and explained the legality of going to war with Iraq using his little friends, ‘Itsy’ and ‘Bitsy’. We loved it. But Clare Short cried.’