Cherie Blair's closing argument in a shoplifting matter down the Old Bailey yesterday, is set out below. His Lordship Norman Marr presiding, Adam Hill QC prosecuting.
"Mlud, members of the jury you have heard the evidence for the prosecution and that for the accused Gordon Bennett. GORDON BENNETT!! is innocent ladies and gentlemen because I have committed acts far worse than his and I am innocent!"
"I am no superwoman <sob, sniff> and I have often strayed off the path well trodden <sniff> but always kept my dignity....and the odd freebie..."
"How many times have Tone and I visited friends and returned home laden with gifts....when I say 'gifts', they didn't say no...well perhaps one or two did threaten to bring in the police...but no more than that!! Those gifts cum loot were worth hundreds of thousands of pounds and yet I have never been charged with theft. Yet here sits poor Gordon with the full weight of the law on his neck!"
"Gordon simply went into a jewelry store and tried on an expensive watch. When his mobile rang he completely forgot about the watch and walked out. For goodness sakes almost every friend I used to have can relate a similar story about me."
"Who will ever forget about those flats in Bristol I acquired through that man Foster? Then there's the time I did a bit of fare dodging on the Luton train...I'm full of stories just like those...."
"There are also those who believe that Hilary Clinton and I are very much alike. I do see the similarity, what with both Hubbys in hospital for heart problems. Mind you Bill's is from chasing women while our doctors think Tone's getting his from aggravation...fancy that? I mean the odd sympathy for suicide bombers, fare dodging and a bit of craft for a decent flat in Bristol shouldn't cause that surely...but I digress".
"Where was I? Ah, yes, Mlud if we were to punish every absent-minded shopper or visitor for walking off with an expensive item, then we'd land up with half of the movers and shakers of Britain behind bars. Surely that can never be desired or allowed".
Gordon Bennett was convicted and sentenced to 2 years direct imprisonment, wholly suspended for 3 years on condition that he commits no further crimes involving dishonesty and on condition that if he does fall foul again, he selects another barrister.
Superintendent Avron Shankly of the London Metropolitan Police, is currently questioning Ms Blair in connection with 8 counts of theft, 1 count of property fraud and 1 count of fare dodging.