The Tree Killer

updated 11 July 2018

The Prosecution Case

It was outside the night club on a Saturday night in a boring little town.

At 1 am there was nothing going on, so the night patrol squad car was parked where it could observe people coming out of the night club. A group of young men came out, cheerful and a little noisy, but not causing any trouble.

As the group walked down the street they passed some old peoples bungalows.

The bungalows were set back from the road. There was a line of young trees. Suddenly one of the young men attacked a young tree. He pulled it this way and that, and when he had finished the tree was broken, hanging down. The officers arrested the young man for criminal damage.

The Defence

The officers told the court what they had seen. The defendant did not have a lawyer. He did not ask any questions or contest what the police officers saw.

When he gave evidence he explained that he had not been drinking alcohol that night because he was on medication. He had gone to the night club with his mates because they usually went to the night club on a Saturday night. They drank beer, but he was on lemonade.

Coming out of the club he and his friends were walking by the line of trees and he had seen a tree that seemed to be broken.

His family had a tree nursery, and he had been planting trees and working with trees since he could walk.

He had tried to repair the Silver Birch. He had held it up and tried to find a way that the broken part could be reunited with the tree. There was only a little bark holding the tree parts together. Eventually he had given up.

Then he was arrested. He told the officers it was already broken, but they were scornful and they laughed at his story.

Surprise Witness

He then called a witness.

The gentleman was 84 years old, and he had been living in the bungalows since they were built about ten years earlier.

On Thursday afternoon he had come back from playing dominoes. The bus stop was close to his house. He noticed that one of the young trees was broken. There was too much of this going on.

When he got into his house he telephoned the police station to report the damage. They said they would send an officer but no officer came.

There was too much of this going on (again).

When he was a lad he would never have thought of damaging a tree. The young people today had no respect for society. He was by now getting excited.

And the police were doing nothing about it.

By now he was banging the witness box. They ought to be arresting more young men!

The magistrates were smiling. They thanked the elderly gentleman for coming to court.

They told the young man that he was acquitted and that he left the court without a stain on his character.