January 24, 2010 in F
Judge Robert Thomas has today handed down his verdict in Combert V Dalrymple, the civil case that has captured the nation’s imagination over the past month. The case was brought by James Combert (34) who accused Donna Dalrymple (32) of assaulting his imaginary friend “Mr Giggles” and causing him considerable mental anguish. Combert alleged the attack took place on the night of June 14th last year and that since that time Mr Giggles has become “sullen, withdrawn and sort of stroppy”. Combert has demanded an apology and $300,000 in damages, partly to cover the expense of finding “A councilor with a vivid imagination” to assist Giggles in dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Lawyers representing Ms Dalrymple have cited the physical impossibility of assaulting something that doesn’t exist, a claim countered by Combert who alleges the assault took place with the phantom limb Darlymple possesses due to an arm amputation she underwent last year for cosmetic reasons. “If she says it causes her pain then why can’t it cause someone else pain as well?” said Combert out of court. The issue has been complicated further by Dalrymple’s counter-claim in which she alleges Combert’s legal action has affected her mentally to the point where she can no longer conjure up a convincing image of “Lady Ha Ha,” her own imaginary friend who has been absent from her life since she was contacted by Combert’s lawyers. She has been seeking an unspecified sum for “damages brought about due to the murder of my imaginary friend” the first case of fictioncide brought about in an Australian legal court.
In handing down his verdict Judge Thomas called this case “among the most challenging of my career.” He cited the media attention, the fact that many of the witnesses were fictional entities and his own ability to control giggling fits as among the factors that caused the trial to become such a challenge. In the summation he acknowledged the pain caused by Dalrymple’s actions but felt her claim that she was justified due to “Mr Giggles excessive taunting about her phantom pregnancy” exacerbated the circumstances. His final decision is unprecedented in legal history for both its concise wording and ongoing judicial implications. It reads: “Let’s all just pretend it never happened.”
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