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Drinking driver's purim cheer

    New North London Synagogue member Paul Harris recalled this week an occasion when he was on duty as a court solicitor and a man in Orthodox dress appeared.

    "I've been charged with drink-driving," said the man. "But it wasn't my fault. It was a religious festival."

    "That wouldn't be Purim," asked the lawyer. "Baruch Hashem!" said the man. "The Almighty has sent a Jew to save me."

    Learning that Mr Harris was not just Jewish but a Cohen, too, he had an unusual request for his lawyer at the trial – to recite the priestly blessing over him.

    "While other colleagues took last-minute instructions, I asked God to shine His heavenly light upon my client," Mr Harris recalled.

    And heaven duly shone. The client - who had been dressed as a pirate when stopped by police - seemed to stand little chance. But when a policeman brandished in court the label that was attached to his over-the-limit blood sample, crucially, Paul Harris's client's name was missing from it. Case dismissed.

    "On simchahs!" the innocent Purim drinker and would-be pirate wished his priestly defender on leaving court.

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