By Legal Correspondent Karl Directives

The recent court case involving a married couple’s argument which ultimately led to their respective cars being overturned outside their house, has been seen as a landmark in legal history. Harvey and Selena Turpin, from Neath in Wales, were discussing holidays one morning, which shortly became an alcohol-fuelled fist fight after Mrs Turpin decided she had had enough of Mr Turpin’s instance on wanting a holiday in a caravan. She eventually told him “Whatever” and left the room, which only escalated the situation. Mr Turpin wanted a conclusive decision on the matter, and he felt that his wife’s dismissive response wasn’t good enough. And that led to them both upturning each other’s car in anger. The ensuing court case decided that, despite the violence and damage to public property, as well as the headache for the car insurers, the judge decided Mr Turpin’s case regarding the “Whatever” remark was indeed not satisfactory, and ordered his wife to pay all the legal costs and everything. I interviewed the judge, Willie Reinhold, on the ramifications of this momentous decision.

TDJJ: “Mr Reinhold, your decision in the case has caused a bit of a stir amongst anyone who sees arguing as a way of either resolving a contentious decision, or for people who are unable to form sentences properly.”

WR: “Well, it’s always annoyed me that whenever I watched a film or TV show, when some people are arguing and one of them use the ‘whatever’ answer to resolve things. I’ve never understood why this reply is considered acceptable. I thought maybe it just happened in Hollywood, but no, I realised it’s everywhere, including Neath. And after hearing Mr Turpin’s case, I just thought enough was enough.”

TDJJ: “Were the aspects of the case regarding the damage to public property, breaches of the peace, domestic violence and alcohol misuse considered in how you made your decision?”

WR: “Not really. Mrs Turpin did mention them, but they’re both equally guilty in all those respects. So it was six of one, half a dozen of the other. It was her non-committal response which swung it in Mr Turpin’s favour for me.”

TDJJ: “But Mr Turpin admitted that he started it, he put it down to mixing his drinks while his wife stuck to just cider.”

WR: “Be that as it may, I can empathise with being told ‘whatever’ when in a heated debate. It’s not a proper answer!”

TDJJ: “So would you say that your decision, and subsequent law change, is to encourage more articulate debates?”

WR: “Yes. The word ‘whatever’ shouldn’t be seen as a get out of jail card. It’s best for all concerned to resolve things at the time of the initial disagreement. By not doing this could cause bitterness and resentment. I’m speaking with first hand experience, as I detested my ex wife who couldn’t hold a simple screaming match with me outside a pub every Saturday night.”

TDJJ: “Going forward, how do you see this new law being implemented? How would this be policed?”

WR: “I’m not sure of the finer details, a few things have yet to be ironed out. We realise we’d have to rely on disgruntled individuals getting in touch with us for a large part. Listen, I know government cutbacks have reduced the police numbers across the country, they can’t be everywhere. But what could be everywhere is audio recording devices. So we’d want everyone to record any disagreements and send it to the police, or even if they’re just regular conversations. This will be made mandatory. The thing is, no one is truly private, the internet has seen to that, so in that respect by everyone sending all future correspondence wouldn’t be an invasion of privacy.”

TDJJ: “I’m not sure if people would be able to do this on a moral level, not to mention find the time to do it. So many questions. What about the people who don’t have access to recording devices? Plus there’s a lot of people who would simply be unable to use such things.”

WR: “It’s easy, just press the record button. Some people just want everything done for them. At the end of the day, I am the law, and I got to this lofty position purely so I could stop people using the ‘whatever’ response. I know I’m not the only one who hates it. Basically, if anyone is unwilling or unable to do what’s required by law, then they can go to prison. It’s their choice.”

Published by The Daily Jabjab

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