In a startling development earlier today, the ghost of late Pope John Paul II appeared as a defence witness in The State Of California vs Michael (aka ‘fingers') Jackson.
Prosecution lawyers stood in slack-jawed amazement as the defence team triumphantly called the name of their first character witness - the Bishop Of Rome himself. A medium was ushered into court, and members of the court staff were asked to join hands in a sacred circle, and concentrate on strings of rosary beads handed out by an assistant. The medium hummed a bit to herself, then called to the spirit of the late dear departed to make himself known to them all, whereupon he materialised dramatically right into the witness box, ectoplasm gently dripping from his papal slippers.
After swearing the traditional oath, the deceased pontiff was asked to state his relationship to Mr Jackson, to which he replied ‘spirit guide'. Questioning by Jacko's defence team followed for ten minutes, during which John Paul explained that although Michael's actions may have been misguided, they were still far less than many of his fellow priests had done under his leadership. In fact, the Roman Catholic church has decided to show solidarity with Jackson by nominating him alongside John Paul II for immediate elevation to the first stage on the road to beatification. He should henceforth be known as Canon Jackson of Neverland.
A request by prosecutor Thomas Sneddon for a chance to cross examine the witness was rebuffed, as John Paul's spectre explained that his was the word of God, and as such could not be questioned by any Earthly authority. Judge Melville, who at times seemed rather overwhelmed by recent events in the proceedings, accepted this without question and overruled the prosecution motion.
With a cheery wave to the press, the late pontiff then rapidly dissolved into wisps of cloud, which were whipped away on a sudden chill breeze blowing through the courtroom, leaving a faint outline of the familiar smile for a second or two, and an eerie silence broken only by the shuffle of Michael's moonwalking feet...