The defendant, Mrs Elizabeth Chambers (Andrea Etheridge),was acquitted of the murder of Major Duffield by the jury at the Bexhill Lions Mane Court.
The Judge (Rick Hough), presided over a case that was at times, somewhat noisy. He relished in his power, calling for Order! Order in the Court! on numerous occasions and inviting both councils into his Chambers for legal argument. He even found David Burstow in contempt of court and issued a fine.
The Clerk to the Court (Stella Harris), was admonished by the Judge for talking in a friendly manner to the defendant before and during the trial.
Constable Miller (Richard Winrow) presented the facts leading up to his discovery of the body. The major had been shot with an army issue pistol which was left at the scene.
Mrs Constance Duffield (Barbara Burstow) appeared in an elegant hat. In clipped terms she tried to explain her movements on the day of her husband’s murder, with some contradiction and what appeared to be on the spur of the moment explanations. Her time giving evidence was not totally convincing.
Giving evidence before the Judge were Mrs Garner (Sharon Bignell) a neighbour whose eyesight was called into question and the Duffield’s cleaner, Mrs Philips (Pam Edwards) who appeared nervous, in large glasses,marigold gloves and carrying a duster.
Other witnesses included; Mavis Wright (Alison Ridout) an usherette at the local cinema, a friend of Mrs Duffield (June Hough) and an elegant Daphne Walker (Clare Kersley), an old friend of Mrs Duffield.
Council for the prosecution (Steve Ellett) gave a measured performance. The experience of Council for the defence (Pres. Simon Edwards) was questioned by the Judge, but he had his day with a resounding “Not Guilty” vote.
In his summing up, the Judge thanked the Jury for their close attention during the trial and final verdict.
He went on to thank Lion Caroline Hicks for writing the play, organising the trial and making it aware to the general public.
Unlike other cases, the Jury paid a nominal sum to take part, raising over £200 for Bexhill Lions Club.
The Judge’s regular invitations to meet him in his Chambers were readily accepted after the case by the defendant and the Clerk to the Court, to discuss justice over a couple of G and Ts.J