122 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 1 JANUARY 2018
that he embraced the stage, the audience and the Chilcotin. It was reminiscent
of a certain huuuuuge head of state.
The Kokanee Rod & Weed Club had no lawyer to defend them. “Robyn
with a ‘y’ Hood”, an Access Pro Bono lawyer, newly called to the bar, played
enthusiastically by Mandana Namazi, offered her services to act pro bono
with a secret weapon in her argument: the Charter of the Forest of 1217.
In a flashback David Hay, Q.C., rose from the dead in the form of the
ghost of King John to explain to his infant son what the Charter of the Forest
meant to commoners and kings. It was as if he had never left the stage since
his last starring role in 1215 and All That; his spirit just continues to float
and inform. King John’s disappointment in his son King Henry (Mark Wolf
in pyjamas, crown and holding his teddy bear) conflicted with his fatherly
feelings. He succumbed to Henry’s demands for a pony, then in a tug of war
stole Henry’s teddy.
Sheriff Nottingham, Q.C. (D. Michael Bain), took to the stage and lived
up to his villain billing. He appeared in the campfire scene where Big John
and Nottingham plotted their sure victory in Big John’s action in trespass
against the Kokanee Rod & Weed Club.
Alas, two things stood in their way: Robyn Hood, and Big John’s motherin
law, whom he fondly referred to as “the witch” (The Honourable
Suzanne Anton, Q.C.). She appeared with the trees in the courtroom,
thereby fulfilling her prophecy that the woods of Gopher Hill would move
to the Chilcoltin courthouse. It was one of the most spectacular overplayed
entrances in theatre. This was all overseen by the stern Judge Merryweather
(Keri Bennett), who brooked no nonsense.
The clerk of the court (Art Vertlieb, Q.C.) kept things in order. Nottingham
argued his case as if it were in the bag, with his client Big John urging
him on. Robyn Hood, cloaked in the knowledge of the Charter of the Forest,
flashed it as a sword in a closing argument beautifully delivered that left no
doubt about the final outcome. She started modestly and deferentially,
then, spurred on by the music of the band, Giant Oak Twig and the Stumps
(Cappone D’Angelo, guitar; Meldon Ellis, bass; Doran Chandler, keys;
and Mark Slay, drums), she grew in stature and oratorical skills before the
jury, and ended on a ringing note.
Judge Merryweather handled the law in a crisp and judicial manner,
using strong reasoning that the 800 year-old Charter applies to this day. The
clerk put it to the jury: “yea” or “nay” whether the club had damaged the
ranch. The jury (the audience) aided by the trees rose as one on the issue
of damage and the Kokanee Rod & Weed Club celebrated while Big John and
his mouthpiece shouted for an appeal: “the trees voted!”