Judgment Day

The judgment in the Dan Brown / Holy Blood Holy Grail case is available here [pdf], and is quite fun. It’s better written than The Da Vinci Code, and it’s probably better written than The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, though it’s a while since I’ve seen a copy of that book.

Dan Brown doesn’t come terribly well out of the judgment at all (see §§197-217, 315-327, 343-5 especially), but fortunately for him he was up against Claimants like Michael Baigent, whose performance as a witness is described here:

“Mr Baigent was a poor witness. Those are not my words: they are the words of his own Counsel in his written closing submissions (paragraph 111). Those words do not in my view do justice to the inadequacy of Mr Baigent’s performance…” (§213)

And the judge observed a bit later

“I make allowances for the fact that Mr Baigent performed so badly he plainly missed obvious points when answering questions… Nevertheless the Defendants are right in their submissions even when taking in to account the factors mentioned above to submit that he was a thoroughly unreliable witness. They say that they do not know whether he was deliberately trying to mislead the court or was simply deluded and that he is either extremely dishonest or a complete fool. I do not need to decide that issue…” (§232)

There’s this, too, which I liked, when the judge was commenting on the evidence of Mr Ruben, a senior person at Random House, Dan Brown’s publisher: “His enthusiasm of the book [The Da Vinci Code] knew no bounds. I am not sure that it is as good as he says but then I am no literary person.” (§354)

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