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Tuesday, 2 January, 2001, 19:10 GMT
George Carman's wit and wisdom
George Carman
The QC used wit to help paint pictures for juries
George Carman QC used his rapier wit to attack - and defend - some of the most famous names in Britain, earning himself a reputation as a master of the soundbite.

Many colleagues attributed much of his success to his ability to plant a vivid and telling picture of his quarry in the jury's head.

Of Ken Dodd, who he defended on tax evasion charges, he said: "Some accountants are comedians, but comedians are never accountants."


Whatever award is given for libel, being cross-examined by you would not make it enough money

Jani Allen to George Carman
He memorably described Neil Hamilton, in his libel battle with Mohamed Al Fayed, as "on the make and on the take" and "a man with no honour left".

Of former Heritage Secretary David Mellor, he said: "Behaved like an ostrich and put his head in the sand, thereby exposing his thinking parts."

And Mr Carman commanded both fear and respect from those who engaged his services and those he faced across the court.

Jani Allen, a South African journalist who sued over claims she had an affair with neo-Nazi leader Eugene Terreblanche, said: "Whatever award is given for libel, being cross-examined by you would not make it enough money."

Upon receiving a writ from Jonathan Aitken Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger reputedly said: "Get Carman before Aitken gets him."

Virgin boss Richard Branson said: "I asked my solicitor who I should most dread having on the other side to cross-examine me, and he said George Carman.

"I said let's get this man. Quickly."

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