None of you – unless you had been in London beginning of June and picked up the paper – would have read this gem of a story which should set the legal black coats hovering over Hulftsdorp thinking about the prospects of a brand new legal defence.
One can almost see in the mind’s eye our legal eagles (as they are called for some reason I still cannot fathom) smacking their lips as they digest the contents of the legal decision that caused a senior Italian Mafio sa to be sent packing from his prison cell back to his villa in the outskirts of Milan where visitors are falling over each other to get a toe into Sri Lanka’s Expo 2015 pavilion.
If the legal fingers keep itching at the chances of counting fat piles of greenbacks or whatever the colour of the ever-increasing denomination of our currency notes the Central Bank – with or without Arjuna Mahendran – will keep issuing, I am afraid the white-coated gentry also called physicians and the hospitals they service will not be entirely pleased.
The medicine men will hope against hope that the Italian disease which could turn out to be contagious if the country’s mafia and their likeminded brethren elsewhere on this planet have anything to say in such matters, will not spread to our shores.
What they fear is that if the word gets around about the judicial decision in Milan, it could might contaminate our justice system especially now that yahapalanaya seems to have infused it with a greater respect for human rights and other niceties. They fear that while the black coats might make more moola out of it, those who diagnose and prescribe the drugs (I mean medicines of course) will be at the wrong end of the money machine.
All this will be much clearer when the story as it appeared in the London newspaper is related.
Allergic to prison
It was reported that a senior member of the Mafia who was jailed for 14 years has been allowed to go home after seven months because he is allergic to prison. Giulio Lampada, 44, who managed the affairs of the Condelio clan lost 22 lb and never left his cell in the Liguria region of Italy.
He is said to have refused to eat anything other than fruit and snacks while he was inside. Lampada, who was arrested in November 2011 was assessed by dozens of doctors and finally declared ‘incompatible’ with detention – or even transfer to a psychiatric ward.
He reportedly became distressed because his life of crime had led him to develop an aversion to men in uniform and to prison bars.
A Judge in Milan allowed Lampada to move back to his villa on the outskirts of the city under house arrest. There he will be reunited with his wife and three daughters so he can recover.
“During his time in jail he never left his cell. He even needed help to go to the bathroom,” his lawyer is reported to have said.
End of story. Well not really, not for Lampada nor for us surely.
It is not take much imagination to envisage a situation where the defence would plead that the client not be sent to jail because he does not like uniforms worn by the long arm of the law or those who manage them in the cell.
“Your Lordship, my client has a pet aversion to those in any kind of uniform. I do not mean your Lordship of course. Your Lordship’s dress looks more fancy than frightening. My client develops convulsions at the first sight of a uniformed policeman having been harassed most of his adult life by the police on such frivolous allegations as manufacturing and distributing drugs. As Your Lordship well knows, reputed pharmaceutical companies – and even disreputable ones – do the same. But they are not hauled up before your Lordship.
“If my client is sent to jail he will see more uniforms daily, which will only aggravate his disturbing health condition. I produce a certificate from a doctor in his home town where is he is said to perform miracles with his arishta, as evidence that a life will jail will end his life. He should be permitted to return to his luxurious home where he can spend an evening with a bottle of illicit brew that is distilled in his back garden and a home-made bite to go with it, instead of being force-fed with prison food which is only good to feed animals which have no means of protesting or causing a prison riot. Your Lordship I cite as precedence case number 3456 – Milan Police versus Lampada recorded in the Mafia files.”
To be frank, there are many people still walking around free who run into the shrubbery at the first sight of a police uniform even if it is worn by a traffic cop just writing a ticket.
One may not get away with such pleas in the highest court in Colombo, however eloquent the lawyer might be. But somewhere in the smaller towns where magistrates may not be that acquainted with what’s happening in the world – no disrespect meant to the judicial fraternity of course – but some loquacious lawyer might with sufficient citings from this law and that to befuddle a junior magistrate get past the umpire.
Surely it is not only the lawyers who might be smacking their lips at the prospect of the Milan court judgment managing to get past some bench.
If theatrics trump justice
What of those who are now finding their way to the Merchants Ward of the National Hospital or some expensive room in a private medical facility pleading all sorts of illness that would endanger their lives if called upon to languish in some remand cell?
How nice if they go into hysterics at the sight of the policeman in the courts or develop convulsions in the prison vehicle transporting them to court, if theatrics could be permitted to trump justice.
Would those chaps who seem to be aplenty today and pleading victimisation and other terrible allegations that tarnish their escutcheon not like to spend the rest of the term at their residence surrounded by family and pets than in a remand cell or hospital bed and enjoy a good home-cooked buth adiya?
The answer to that is clear enough. But the losers will the hospitals and doctors. But doctors I am not so sure. You might still be able to rustle up a chap or two who will declare that uniforms and prison bars are bad for the mental equilibrium of the political or police victim. Surely Lampada was able to get the assistance of several witch doctors it seems.