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Long Distance II (Poem of the Week) 28 August 2014

Our poem of the week is by Tony Harrison and is a poignant piece on loss and love.

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

You couldn’t just drop in. You had to phone.
He’d put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.

He couldn’t risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he’d hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she’d just popped out to get the tea.

I believe life ends with death, and that is all.
You haven’t both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there’s your name
and the disconnected number I still call.

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Defamation but no redress!

American lawyers have long been the butt of dinner party jokes, and suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous late-night comedy routines. However, the most grievous wrong inflicted upon them came from a man who is beyond the reach of a libel action.

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” wrote Shakespeare in Henry VI Part 2. That murderous line, uttered by a character named Dick the Butcher, the henchman of the rebel leader Jack Cade, now…. (click below for full article)

Alas poor lawyers - defamed by the Bard

Clen Mackenzie – Are you starting something? 26 July 2014

Our colleague, Clen Mackenzie, is currently in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games.  I noted this little cartoon expressing sentiments with which he would be familiar!!

are you starting something pal

Keith Hamilton – Preparing for another triathlon 25 July 2014

Our colleague, Keith Hamilton, is preparing for another triathlon.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!!

Consequently, Jesus was banned from further triathlons

URGENT NEWS 19 May 2014

Please note that we have again been receiving e-mails and enquiries from across the globe in relation to a scam that our IT consultants advise emanates from China.  It would appear that e-mails have been sent to multiple recipients using a corruption of our e-mail address.  The recipients are advised that they may be beneficiaries in an estate that is being handled by Martin Campbell.  Please note that this is a scam.  Do not reply or engage with the sender.  You can see from our website and face book that the message does not come from our site.

Please also note that our system has not been corrupted.  The recipients are not clients of this office.  There has been no compromise of our security or client base.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do about this.  The e-mail does not come from this firm.  It is an attempt to try to entice recipients to divulge personal information.  Please do not comply with any request.

Betty Rabbitte and the Reverend 7 April 2014

Betty Rabbitte and the Reverend

Betty Rabbitte was not a happy bunny as Easter approached that year. Her beloved Berty had blotted his copybook – again! Whether the seasonal simile of ‘breeding like rabbits’ or the nominative determinism of his surname played a part is debatable but his infidelity was now exposed – in more ways than one. He had arrived home clad only his boxer shorts and vest with two black eyes and a bloody nose. He stumbled into the living room, unaware that in his absence, (his alibi had been that he doing a night shift as a Samaritan), his wife had arranged for the ladies of the local branch of ‘Save the Children’ to hold their monthly meeting in her front room. Seated, suited and satiated with cup cakes they were astonished as the dishevelled spouse stumbled into the prim parlour.

‘Do you know Mrs Scarlett in number 69’ asked Berty of no one in particular, ‘whose husband is always at sea with the merchant navy?’

The assembled ladies nodded their mute acknowledgement slowly in unison, too shocked by Bert’s state of undress and altered appearance to speak.

‘Well, he’s home’ affirmed Berty and took to the stairs – coyly covering his posterior with a copy of ‘Homes and Gardens’ snatched from the coffee table as he ascended the stairs three at a time.

Nor was the physical assault on his person the only retribution taken by the cuckolded Mr Scarlett. As Berty had attempted to flee in his wife’s beloved BMW, the irate husband had driven into his car pushing it across a pavement into the meticulously manicured manse garden of the Reverend Alwyss Smyles – a timorous gentleman at the best of times who sought solace in port rather than prayer when faced with life’s tribulations. The Reverend Smyles had seen a BMW, a half dressed gentleman, a merchant seaman and a performance of the sailor’s hornpipe before. However he had never before seen a BMW suspended on raised garden beds, occupied by a half dressed driver, with a merchant seaman in full formal dress performing a sailor’s hornpipe on its roof whilst screaming blood curdling obscenities. It was too much for the feeble prelate – he fainted, striking his head off a ceramic receptacle for potted petunias.

Such was the unhappy state of affairs when Mrs Rabbitte consulted her minister for matrimonial advice only to learn that the Reverend Alwyss Smyles had witnessed first hand the retribution sought by the aggrieved husband. Bert Rabbitte, unlike his spouse, was better known in the pubs than the pews so he had not recognised him. Fortunately the Reverend was at that time consulting Campbell & Haughey Solicitors about a probate matter, having been left a legacy by a second cousin, Clarissa Cackenhanded, whose late husband had accumulated a sizeable fortune as an importer of fine port. Whether she actually liked her clerical cousin, or whether it was in recognition of his support through copious consumption of the product, we know not.

In any event, Martin Campbell had processed the probate promptly and Keith Hamilton in the practice had, at his request, used part of the proceeds to purchase a nice little property in Port Ballintrae for his retirement. The Reverend commended the firm without hesitation.

Betty was most impressed. Paul Haughey arranged a hire car and the repairs to her vehicle and Gill McAreavey negotiated a generous sum for depreciation. His assistant, Paul Lenehan, obtained a decree on the grounds of adultery and a generous settlement against the chastened spouse in a short timescale. Clen MacKenzie in the practice obtained compensation on behalf of the parish for the damage to the garden of the manse.

Both the Reverend and Betty Rabbitte were delighted with the efforts of the firm in their respective cases. Nowadays, whilst sipping port on their balcony in Port Ballintrae, the very happy Mr Alwyss Smyles and his beloved wife, Betty Smyles, often reminisce on the strange sequence of events that brought them together and how conveniently their idyllic new life together was facilitated by their solicitors.

Problems are often no more than opportunities! Contact Campbell & Haughey Solicitors if you have a legal problem and be assured of prompt, professional and personal service.

DEATH BY ATTORNEY? 21 March 2014

Lawyers are not exempt from asking asinine questions.  American lawyers however tend to excel in this department as exemplified by the selection below.


These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts and are things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?

WITNESS:      He said, ‘Where am I, Cathy?’

ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?

WITNESS:      My name is Susan! 


ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active?

WITNESS:      No, I just lie there.


ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth?

WITNESS:      July 18th.

ATTORNEY: What year?

WITNESS:      Every year.


ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you?

WITNESS:      Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.

ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you?

WITNESS:      Forty-five years.


ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?

WITNESS:      Yes.

ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?

WITNESS:      I forget..

ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?


ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning?

WITNESS:      Did you actually pass the bar exam?



ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?

WITNESS:      He’s 20, much like your IQ.


ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?

WITNESS:      Are you shitting me?


ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?

WITNESS:      Yes.

ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?

WITNESS:      Getting laid


ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?

WITNESS:      Yes.

ATTORNEY: How many were boys?

WITNESS:      None.

ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?

WITNESS:      Your Honour, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?


ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?

WITNESS:      By death..

ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?

WITNESS:      Take a guess.


ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?

WITNESS:      He was about medium height and had a beard

ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?

WITNESS:      Unless the Circus was in town I’m going with male.


ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?

WITNESS:      All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.


ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?

WITNESS:      Oral…


ATTORNEY:  Do you recall the time that you examined the body?

WITNESS:      The autopsy started around 8:30 PM

ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?

WITNESS:      If not, he was by the time I finished.


ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?

WITNESS:      Are you qualified to ask that question?


And last:

ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?

WITNESS:      No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?

WITNESS:      No.

ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?

WITNESS:      No..

ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?

WITNESS:      No.

ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?

WITNESS:      Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.

ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?

WITNESS:      Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law

Divorce Lawyers at War 27 February 2014

I hope that we in Northern Ireland do not experience the fractious fallout that has arisen between divorce lawyers in England over their ‘celebrity’ clientele.  Mayfair lawyers Sear Tooth, who have acted in such high profile cases such as that of the Abramoviches, accused rivals Vardags of poaching clients.  The matter has been settled after some acrimony with compensation being paid without an admission of liability.  We, in Northern Ireland, have a deficit of ‘celebrities’ to whom we could charge the £500 per hour reputedly paid to these firms!

who gets custody of the clients

im seeing someone else

Death of a Gardener 26 February 2014

This is my favourite ‘Spring’ poem juxtaposing the cycles of nature and life.  Phoebe Hesketh spent her whole life in rural Lancashire and was a prolific poet but I think this is her best.




Death of a Gardener



He rested through the Winter, watched the rain

On his cold garden, slept, awoke to snow

Padding the window, thatching the roof again

With silence.  He was grateful for the slow

Nights and undemanding days; the dark

Protected him; the pause grew big with cold.

Mice in the shed scuffled like leaves; a spark

Hissed from his pipe as he dreamed beside the fire.

All at once light sharpened; earth drew breath,

Stirred; and he woke to strangeness that was Spring,

Stood on the grass, felt movement underneath

Like a child in the womb; hope troubled him to bring

Barrow and spade once more to the waiting soil.

Slower his lift and thrust; a blackbird filled

Long intervals with song; a worm could coil

To safety underneath the hesitant blade.

Hands tremulous as cherry branches kept

Faith with struggling seedlings till the earth

Kept faith with him, claimed him as he slept

Cold in the sun beside his upright spade.

The truth is, family courts are fair to fathers 20 February 2014

When women are judged to have failed as mothers caring dads can win custody battles.

We learnt yesterday that a “permissive mother” had lost custody of her sons after a family court judge transferred the residency of her children to her father. The judge stated that the woman behaved more like a friend than a parent. The transfer was granted despite the two boys, 14 and 11, having lived with their mother since birth.

Read the full article by Martin Narey >

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