Jailed & Bailed
Friday 6th July 2018
Despite the bright sunshine that day, a heavy cloud hung over me on Friday, 6th July 2018. I had been called to appear at The Central Criminal Court at Old Bailey to face heinous charges likely to result in my incarceration at The Tower of London. Making my way, my mind was racing with fevered plans to prove my innocence and, failing that, a daring escape. Upon arrival, my heart was slightly lifted to find that at least I was not alone. There were twenty two other alleged felons in the same predicament and a rum lot they were. Surely, the Judge would be discerning enough to see that that a Tax Advisor or Accountant, say, was more deserving of his ire than a blameless Tobacco Pipe Maker!
The assembled alleged felons were lead to Courtroom Two and obliged to sit together and await the Judge who turned out to be Sheriff Neil Redcliffe. We were all surprised to hear that special powers had been bestowed on him by the Lord Mayor to act as Judge and Jury! And so it began, the charges were read out about each of us. I have to say, that I felt quite uncomfortable in such disreputable company. There were thieves, rotters, Royal impersonators and one that caused great upset at the Lord's Mayor Show with a miltarised Rolls Royce. There was even a peeping tom! By these standards my own 'crimes' of breaching the peace with high-decibel snoring and excessive consumption of Monkey 47 gin were, in my view, the least of the Judge's worries. Despite that I was charged and ordered to a deep undergound cell where the snoring could be contained and my climbing skills rendered useless, so thwarting any chance of escape.
Many of the felons were Masters of Livery Companies and in one small concession to avoid total humiliation in front of the people of the City, we were transferred to The Tower in a traditional Routemaster bus rather than the usual Black Maria. Upon arrival we were met by officers of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers who gruffly lined us up and marched us single file into the Tower complex to be given a final meal before being shown to our cells. There were pitiful claims of 'I didn't do it!' and mutterings about kangaroo courts. Although the peeping tom was strangely silent.
Finally, we were told that we could avert disaster if bail money were paid and we were invited to provide evidence of such. There was an unseemly rush to take advantage of this leniency and so it was that bail money paid to The British Red Cross secured our freedom. In total the felons paid £38,873. Representatives of The British Red Cross were whooping with joy. It seems that this Jailed & Bailed charade is a tried and tested ruse. However, the Fusiliers were less than happy that not a single felon was to remain in their tender care. With some menace and unecessary waving of sharp looking pole-axes, we were invited to leave the Tower before minds were changed. And so it was that the humbled and chastened felons fled the confines of the Tower, regaining their composure for the eyes of the milling crowds who were oblivious of the sorry drama that had so recently taken place.