July 27, 2014
July 6, 2014
Philip Cattan (65) is the judge accused of falling asleep during a rape case.
Presiding over the trial of a Manchester man accused of raping and sexually assaulting two girls under the age of 13, Cattan is said to have nodded off while the first of thealleged victims answered defence questions by videolink.
The trial had been going on for only a few days, but it is four and a half decades since Cattan was called to the bar – in 1970, the year Paul McCartney announced the break-up of the Beatles.
As a newly qualified barrister he may have felt he had Wings. Forty-four years later, Cattan is still touring the Northern Circuit – plying his trade as a criminal lawyer, working as a recorder (part-time judge).
Of course there is plenty of privilege in his day to day existence – wigs and gowns and ‘all rise’ and first class rail fare claimed as standard by the judiciary. But also plenty that is workaday – similar-sounding tales of cruelty, wantonness and people simply losing it, stretching out year after year, all having to be processed; subjected to the due process of law.
‘Due process’ means that people caught up in events leading to criminal proceedings – whether as defendants or witnesses, are accorded the process that is their due. Without this there is not even the possibility of justice (still less the actuality), since failure to observe due process amounts to a form of contempt for those involved.
On the other hand, observing the formality of the court serves to enter all those involved into the public domain – the place raised above personal existence where human failings are addressed in a duly impersonal way.
If he did fall asleep while his own court was in session, Recorder Cattan is to be upbraided for his offence against the requisite level of formality – the formalities which formulate the presence of the public.
Rolf, you dolt, you’ve put your own name on a par with ‘Adolf’ – never to be used again.
During six whole decades of showbiz, first there was ‘Rolf’, which really said: this person is permanently childish, bubbling over with didgeridoos and other party noises not far removed from whoopee cushions, including a jelly wobble version of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and something else – the stylophone – that sounds like a singing birthday card; also, he may be 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 but he still draws and paints like a child prodigy.
Which is to say that he would not, could not ever have a boner because his didger ain’t old enough to do it.
…..followed by ‘Harris’, the second name which has always meant: actually, he’s a straight-down-the-line average guy who’s only pretending to be peculiarly infantile; no fear of stunted development cum sexual fetish on the part of this professional performer. In bed with his wife, he surely acts his age rather than his show size.
We don’t and probably won’t know why Rolf Harris committed the indecent assaults which eventually led to his conviction and the jail term of five years and nine months to which he was sentenced on 4 July 2014. But might it have something to do with a grown man playing a largely pre-pubescent role throughout his entire adult life?
This is not to excuse his actions; only to observe that the continual commute between an excessively childlike exterior and the interior life of a sexually mature adult, must have been a dangerously long stretch, with plenty of opportunity for personal failure and moral failing.
Since he became a children’s entertainer in the 1950s, Harris has been cast in a role categorised as pre-sexual, as noted in a Telegraph feature of 13 years ago:
“Rolf Harris…is, after all, a sexless being….the man who paints huge and wonderful pictures for wide-eyed children while making a comical panting noise, which to him doesn’t sound remotely like someone having an orgasm. He is a man so guileless and innocent and unsullied that he couldn’t see the smutty innuendo lurking within the title ofhis most famous, all time, blockbuster hit-single, ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’. Jakethe Peg was a man with an extra leg to Rolf – nothing more or less, nothing to giggle at. Smut and Rolf just don’t go together – smut and Rolf is an oxymoron.”