Truthful or untruthful, there is no label or tag attached to the suitcase.
—As I understand it, the contents are unknown, because nobody has opened the suitcase since it was abandoned.
—That is correct.
—And the other parties wish the contents to remain unknown at the present time.
—We do, your Honour. The defence demands to preserve the unknown nature, primarily for the purposes of art. The finder and the landowner are agreed between themselves, and wish to make an agreement with the gallery in question, in order to display the suitcase.
—Tell me, if you can, a little about how you would proceed, the judge asked of him, which he then did.
—A gift to the world, queried the judge, later.
—Indeed so, we intend to establish that these suitcases and their contents are intended as gifts to the world, said the counsel acting for the art gallery.
—And as such, said the counsel for the Crown, interrupting, would become the property of the Crown. The main purpose of our arguments would be to establish the Crown’s title. At present, we accept that the balance of probability lies with the find not being treasure trove — but, again, we cannot be certain unless the case is opened. However, we would also present to the court the principle of bona vacantia, with the rule quod nullius est fit domini regis.
—Refresh my memory, Mr Becker.
—An object lost, forgotten or abandoned. That which belongs to nobody becomes our Lord the Queen’s. In this case, abandoned.
—Although there is no record of him being convicted under laws of this jurisdiction, there is evidence to suggest that he was not a man of good character.
—He would be at least a hundred and twenty years old now, the assumption must be that he is dead,
—But there is no proof to that effect. He seems to disappear from the records.
—He cannot be asked as to his intentions.
—Our point about the gift to the world, broke in the counsel for the art gallery, is that we hope to show that Luper had every intention of the suitcase remaining the property of nobody — as an integral point to his argument.
—But the Crown wishes to reserve the right to open the case?
—Yes, for the reason that it may contain contraband items or the proceeds of criminal acts. A servant of the Crown might have need to open the suitcase. The contents could constitute a danger to those viewing it in the gallery.
—Oh surely, Mr Becker, really?
—I’ve no doubt the question of an X-ray scan will be brought up.
—We have been investigating this as part of our submission, yes.
—The state doesn’t X-ray every single piece of art before it goes on show in this country, does it? No, it doesn’t, it cannot. Other art-pieces could contain incendiary devices, or bombs, it is possible, is it not…? If you’ll excuse me for saying it before we even begin, I do sense the clutches of the executive in this, seeking to assume jurisdiction without authority.
The counsel for the Crown had the grace to look a little humbled.
—Anyway, it should be interesting, said His Honour, and perhaps we will make a little precedent. Timetabling is in the hands of the clerk and I look forward… thank you, gentleman both.
These suitcases represent the world according to Tulse Luper
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