LAW REPORT : PANTOPOD JUNIOR v. BIGOT-JOHNSON & OTHERS 2012
( In keeping with the purge on pantopods the Slaughter House club committee handed out 50 lashes, and a 3 month suspension to the youngest member , Percy Pantopod Junior, for sticking a finger up in front of an opponent at the table. Determined to seek substantial damages for his humiliation, distress and pain, the plaintiff also put in a claim for wrongful suspension. The case was heard at Doncaster County Court, and a short extract from the trial's transcript can be seen below. )
B-J : Surely to God, your honour, when the committee had to deal with this brat, who has always been a persistent pain in the butt , tough action was called for. His long record of misconduct I believe entitled the committee to disregard the requirement to give him a hearing. Heavens above....there was no point in him having one, as our minds had already been made up as to what we were going to do.
Judge : Sorry to correct on this point....even if Junior over there was Jack The Ripper, he was still entitled in law to have a hearing..... if only to challenge the charges made against him, and to conduct his defense
B-J : But...but....surely his outrageous trouble-making antics exempted the committee from having to deal with this shocking table incident in an unbiased and nonprejudicial way ?
Judge : I'm afraid not....it is the requirement of any committee who choose to act in a quasi-judicial way to conduct disciplinary hearings with reasonable objectivity and impartiality, by being completely free of bias and prejudice. Any committee member who had a personal axe to grind should have acknowledged his/her inability to be impartial...... and stepped down. Pantopod Junior's lawyer found it all to easy to establish both actual bias and " reasonable suspicion " of bias regarding several of the committee members.
B-J : This is a nonsense.......yes, it's true....no one on the committee liked this brat one jot.....but it would have been impossible to find anyone on the committee who didn't have it in for him.....
Judge : Then I would suggest to you that it would have been more prudent and wise to have referred this disciplinary matter to an outside independent body
B-J : Hold on a mo....given that we were dealing with a monster, surely the committee had to be exempt from applying rules of natural justice when the outcome was to the benefit of the club and its membership as a whole ?
Judge : Again Bigot....you are wrong....even for small insignificant unincorporated associations, like your bridge club, committees have to embrace the basic requirements of natural justice, especially when there was the likelihood that the disciplined member was at risk of losing his contractual rights, albeit temporarily....
B-J : Then the law is as ass.....because the committee had a mandate to make this club a social and friendly place to come. Moreover, the committee secured a massive vote of approval over the way in which we dealt with Pantopod Junior. Might is right is it not ?
Judge : Yet again....you are wrong. This court is only concerned with the question whether or not your committee conducted the disciplinary process in a correct, fair and proper way. Loosely going through the disciplinary stages, as laid down in the constitution, is not enough, especially when the reality displayed all the hallmarks of a kangaroo court.
B-J : I just don't get it.....as an unincorporated association we should be entitled to make up rule changes to the constitution as we go along, to bend them as we see fit, and to circumvent those we don't like when needs must ?
Judge : Bigot ...you are incorrigible...... for failure to conform to your constitution puts all your members at risk at being exposed to the whims and fancies, likes and dislikes, of committee members.....leaving club members with legitimate grievances but without any remedy
B-J : But....but..... Percy Junior did ask for and get an appeal hearing to challenge his expulsion in front of a randomly selected panel
Judge: Were all the members' names put into a hat ?
B-J : Absolutely not....only those we knew we could trust to do a good job.....if you know what I mean
Judge : In my view, this appeal was the equivalent of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. It did not absolve you from your failing to give poor Percy Junior a hearing when these punishments were imposed. So not another word from you Bigot ! I have no time to hear any more of your empty, hollow arguments. Therefore. I find in favour of Percy Pantopod who will be awarded..... despite coming across as tearaway in need of a good flogging .... £5,000 damages and costs for his wrongful suspension.
B-J : Oh bugger
( The above law report is a parody of a true case that took place in the High Court of Malaya, where the plaintiff successfully sued for wrongful suspension. Apparently, she suggested to another lady member that she would be better off going elsewhere " and opening her legs " . By failing to give her a hearing , and by allowing a highly biased committee member the opportunity to influence others, both these major flaws undermined and tainted the whole disciplinary process. Not surprisingly the judge, following a whole raft of English law precedents found in favour of the plaintiff, awarding her $10,000 damages and costs. )