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Paper Monitor

11:39 UK time, Friday, 28 October 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There are many sentiments Paper Monitor expects to see expressed in a red-top report relating to the summer's riots, but pathos is hardly one of them.

Nonetheless, the Daily Mirror's coverage of one self-confessed looter's appearance before magistrates is written more in sorrow than in anger.

It concerns great-grandfather Thomas Hart who, at 69, is the oldest person to have been convicted of playing a part in the disorder.

A half-page photograph shows Hart, stooped over a walking stick, clad in a drab anorak, shuffling outside the court in south London.

The newspaper notes mordantly that he had "downed six or seven pints of lager before the disturbances" and was caught on CCTV in a branch of JD Sports "swiping three jumpers".

However, it is Hart's own words that best capture the tone of the article:

"I'd had a good drink. I wasn't one of those people setting fire to things and smashing the place up - there's no need for that. I took two or three jumpers, but I didn't get them home. Someone pushed me to the ground."

The Mirror's story is not the only example of surprising legal coverage. The Times carries a tale of a judge who turned to Charles Dickens rather than case law to resolve a dispute over the word "adjoining".

Lord Justice Rimer's judgement was based on an example of the word in chapter 33 of Bleak House, according to the paper. Unconventional though such jurisprudence may be, this column is gratified that the Court of Appeal has such literary leanings.

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