John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

Last weekend saw the Annual dinner of the Lancaster, Morecambe and District Law Society.

The Society was formed in 1837 and during all of those years I feel sure that the annual dinner has never been held in a venue as unique as this year.

Many of you will be aware that Lancaster Castle is no longer a working prison and is now available for private functions.

With more than a hint of irony this year’s dinner was booked to be held in the ‘A’ wing of Lancaster prison.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate this years President Nick Marshall, and the other Committee members involved in organising the event, which was an unqualified success.

All guests I have spoken to thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

I say that there was more than a hint of irony in deciding upon this venue, and for those lawyers who concentrate on Criminal Defence work it really was an eye opener.

We were able to experience, to some extent, what it must have been like for those that we had represented who received the ultimate sanction of having their liberty taken from them.

I had previously been on the castle tour, which I have recommended in this newspaper, so had seen some areas of the prison beforehand.

However, to have a black-tie dinner on the landing, served by waiting on staff dressed as ‘cons’, was a bizarre, but fun experience.

Following the excellent meal, we were then entertained by a live band who had obviously adapted their repertoire for the event.

We lapped up renditions of appropriately themed tunes with my own personal favourite being “I Fought the Law” by the Clash.

As the alcohol flowed those on the dance floor became more and more enthusiastic.

Unfortunately, this included yours truly, and I couldn’t help thinking to myself that if this was still a prison we would probably be facing additional charges for crimes against humanity.