Vot is your name

This page often comes up in a Google search so for the first time the original article is reprinted here. No actual date but c1984 from the Guardian Diary.

In terms of law reports Social Work Today does not normally rival Halsbury, or even The Times. The current issue is an exception, concerning a most enjoyable account of the appearance of a German sailor arraigned before the Glasgow Sheriff Court a few weeks ago.

There was some confusion in the court as the fiscal indicated to the sheriff that the sailor spoke no English. The sheriff said he would not hear a case in which the accused could not even understand the charge.

Help was at hand from a well known local punter, who made it known from the back of the court that he spoke German. He was duly issued to the fiscal’s side and asked to begin by establishing the sailor’s name. At this the punter stabbed his forefinger into the sailor’ chest and roared ‘Vot is your name?’ in authentic Colditz fashion.

He was fined £200 for contempt of court. The sailor’s fate is unknown.