Hancock's Half Hour - No. 41
"TWELVE ANGRY MEN"
[ Available on B.B.C. video: "The Blood Donor"; Catalogue No. BBCV4037 ]
HANCOCK'S RESPONSIBILITY AS FOREMAN OF THE JURY
- SID JAMES:
- Let's have a game of cards.
- Put those things away! We're here to decide whether that poor wretch out there is innocent or guilty.
- SID JAMES:
- Oh, let's cut for it and get off home - anything under a seven, he's guilty .....
HANCOCK BEGINS HIS SUMMING UP
- Ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today to sit in judgement of a fellow human being, but before we have the temerity - nay! audacity - to take it upon ourselves to judge another, surely we must first judge ourselves!
Are there any of us so pure in our own personal wives - lives - that we can dispassionately - nay! objectively - nay! ..... dispassionately - judge another, and therefore I submit .....
- JURY MEMBER:
- Oh, get on with it.
HANCOCK MAKES AN IMPASSIONED PLEA
- I shall not go through the facts of this case again, save to suggest to you there is some element of doubt in this boy's guilt. As Shakespeare said in 'The Merchant Of Vienna', when Portion accused Shylock Holmes of pinching a pound of meat: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd, it droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven, upon the place beneath: it is twice bless'd, twice bless'd, the sign of good - no - it blesseth him that gives, and him that takes." Take the case of Doubting Thomas, who was sent to Coventry for looking through a keyhole at Lady Godiva. Can anybody prove he was looking at her? Can anybody prove it was he who shouted out: "get your hair cut"? Of course not, this is sheer supposition! Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain? Brave Hungarian peasant girl who forced King John to sign the pledge at Runnymede and close the boozers at half past ten! Is all this to be forgotton? My friends, it is not John Harrison Peabody who is on trial here today but the fair name of British justice, and I ask you to send that poor boy back to the loving arms of his poor white-haired old mother a free man! I thank you!