In a Blacktip Island first that experts say may set legal precedent, local jack of all trades Dermott Bottoms has opted to act as his own attorney for his public disturbance trial this coming Monday.
Bottoms was arrested last month for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, offending the decency of a woman and littering.
“Don’t need no lawyers,” Bottoms said. “Can’t trust them. Except cousin Rocky, and he wouldn’t take the case.
“Mostly, he didn’t want to fly over from the big island, I think,” Bottoms said. “No matter. We’ll get to the bottom of things and the truth’ll set me free.”
Some locals have rallied to Bottoms’ cause.
“Technically, all those offenses are criminal, but this is Blacktip Island,” local Payne Hanover said. “Other places it’s drunk and disorderly. Here it’s just a normal Saturday night slamming too hard into Sunday morning.”
“Sunday morning Dermott slammed into the church doors, vomited in the aisle, dropped his trousers and passed out on one of the pews,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “There’s no shortage of witnesses. All four, five people there saw it.”
Island legal experts are dubious about Bottoms’ chances.
“It’s the first time anyone’s represented themselves,” court watchdog Wade Soote said. “The law does provide for it, but no one’s ever been damn fool enough to try it.
“But now here’s Dermott, the poster boy for ‘damn fool,’” Soote said. “My guess is he’s simply trying to dodge the legal fees. Dermott can’t even pay his bar tabs. All in all, it’ll be fun to watch.”
Other locals were more cynical of the island’s legal process.
“He’ll get off, no matter what he does in court,” the former Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “The judge is his aunt Copper. Those Bottoms stick together.
“My hope is the court insists Dermott make restitution,” Ephesians said. “The church doors need rehanging, the carpets need replacing, and the congregation, well, they’ll never be able to unsee Dermott’s butt.”
Despite the criticism, Bottoms is upbeat about his self defense.
“Gonna plead guilty and trust the mercy of the court,” Bottoms said. “Can’t let the trial go too long. Cousin Sandy needs me to do landscaping at his resort, you know. And Auntie Copper needs her pool cleaned.
“Church folks ought to be about forgiveness, anyway,” Bottoms said. “Then we wouldn’t have to bother with trials and judges and lawyers. They say if men were angels, we wouldn’t need government. Well, we’re all angels on Blacktip. A few of us’ve fallen a bit further than others, but we’re still angels.”