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An Elephant in the Witness Box.

If any of our readers, says the “ Irish Law Times,” are as much addicted to novel reading as some of the ablest judges who have adorned the bench have been, they may remember to have read in Chas. Roade's “Jack of all Trades” fa story which, we believe, was strictly founded on fact) a very bad character of the full-grown elephant, as the “ cunningest, most treacherous, and blood-thirsty beast that ever played the butcher among mankind. ” Baby elephants, however, appear to have possessed more genial dispositions. A baby elephant under 10 years old—they grow till they are 43, and live till they are 100 or 150—may even be induced to appear as a witness in the court of justice, and submit to cross-examination without losing his temper. Thurman versus Bertram and Roberts, heard before Pollock, 8., and a jury, on July 18, is a case in point. The action was brought by a lady to recover damages for personal injuries, received through the alleged negligence of the defendants’ servants. She had gone in a wagonette to the Alexandra Palace, where the Nubian encampment, with camels, elephants, &c., was then attracting crowds, and at the conclusion of the performance a certain quadruped, to wit, a baby elephant, came out with his keeper and frightened the plaintiffs pony. The pony bolted, and the plaintiff was thrown out of the wagonette, and fractured her ccllar-bone. Mr Salter, for the defence, intimated that the elephant himself had no objection to get in the witness box ; and Baron Pollock observed, obiter, that if it was so very desirable that the Court should improve the occasion. The baby accordingly walked in with the bolls on his head, and threaded his way through the “ mazes of the law” in the body of a crowded court, without so much as crushing a Q.C. or munching two or three juniors. Mr Edwin Jones, for the plaintiff had no questions to ask. An arrange was come to. A juror was withdrawn. And Pollock, 8., held that this happy ending was highly proper, as the elephant had come to offer his apology in person.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 15, 30 October 1879

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An Elephant in the Witness Box. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 15, 30 October 1879