Two Church of England vicars have been charged after allegedly conducting hundreds of mock marriages intended to aid illegal immigrants defy immigration legislation and remain in Britain, writes Church Travesty correspondent, Arthur Vestry for the Daily Poison.
The Reverend Horatio 'Sailor Boy' Shipshape and the Reverend Elton 'Rocket Man' Jonah have been charged with performing 200 spurious marriage ceremonies at St Sinbad's Church, Queer Street, Barking.
They are accused of staging the ceremonies, mostly between non-EU residents and pantomime characters, purely in order to take advantage of an obscure legal loophole and circumvent immigration law.
The Reverend Shipshape, who got into the Book of Records after presiding at the wedding of the world's flattest couple in 1998, was arrested at his home in Cuckoo Crescent, Barking. The Reverend Jonah was also arrested on the same day at his fluffy nest in the chimney of the Reverend Shipshape's house in Cuckoo Crescent, Barking. The police were gratified that the Reverend Jonah had felt particularly 'broody' that day, and was to be discovered sitting on a number of pantomime goose egges in his nest, rendering him somewhat easy to capture.
The duo have been charged with conspiracy to facilitate unlawful immigration. This is an offence which carries a penalty of up to 14 years in prison.
The Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer, Andrew Harde-Dycke, said: "Having taken into consideration a full file full of evidence, I can say that the evidence fills a full file, and that this full file of evidence fulfils all requirements for full-file fulfilling files full of as much evidence as may fully fill a file full of full-file fulfilling evidence.
"Notwithstanding the argument by those speaking for these clergy - chiefly that, by marrying non-EU residents to sundry pantomime characters, they were performing a non-regulated public office in tandem with the judgement by Lord Justice Mandible in Regina v Farrago's Circus, 1876 - I have decided that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute. Indeed, the evidence, which fills a full file, fully fulfils the need for a full file of evidence, and it is in the interest of the public that this full file of evidence fulfils the need to prosecute in the public interest."
A legal expert, Theolonius Ratchet, told the Daily Poison, that an appeal to Regina v Farrago's Circus, 1875 would be unlikely to stand up to scrutiny in a modern court of law.
"No modern court would countenance such an appeal", Ratchet told us. "The main reason being that Regina v Farrago's Circus, 1875 is a misprint. If a case of this magnitude were to be settled on the basis of a misprint, the law would have become, as it were, a travelling sideshow, a mere ramshackle laughing stock.
"Nay, the case of Regina v Farrago's Circus took place in 1876, not 1875.
"However", proceeded the legal eagle, undaunted, "even an appeal to the actual 1876 case of Regina v Farrago's Circus does not promise to afford these benighted clergy any avenue or egress.
"If you remember, the 1876 case, which was seminal in its day, set a precedent which encouraged the ingress of exotic peoples from the Empire into our popular music halls, theatres, circuses and fairgrounds and a corresponding migration out of all manner of performing artistes to the farther corners of the Empire.
"But to seek to justify by appeal to this 1876 judgement, for example, the faked marriages of illegal immigrants from Africa to pantomime geese or Cinderella's Ugly Sisters is plainly ludicrous.
"No 21st century British court will fail to see through 'marriage' ceremonies such as those joining together seven immigrant 'brides' from the Sudan and the same number of Snow White's Dwarfs.
"For all its tatterdemalion notoriety, The Law has yet to descend to the level of a pantomime."
We await developments. Read about it first here in the Daily Poison.