“Protestors, smashing gavels, sprinkled with some wig-bashing and nose poking by senior counsels”. This was the description of the trail of the decade – and I’m not talking about Johnny Depp’s libel trial.
We can trace this outrageous scene of British judicial chaos back to one bored yet cunning individual. They will be referred to as simply ‘The Graduate’ due to the court’s gag ruling. This Graduate recently completed their studies at a top 10 British university and after a few months at their country (provincial) home - attending one too many drunken zoom calls - decided to escape the clutches of Matt Hancock. After hopelessly scanning the UK Foreign Office travel advice page, the ‘Graduate’ identified several countries in Central and Latin America that only required a negative PCR Covid test to gain entry. As this Graduate also happened to have already contracted COVID-19 by attending an unofficial university reunion house party, they were not concerned about contracting it again.
“I searched for freedom anywhere and everywhere. William Wallace’s Scotland wasn’t an option. Money wasn’t an issue due to the cancelled Austrian ski season, even more to spend on booze and bribes, I guess.”
The itinerary was as follows: flight from Dublin to Amsterdam (avoiding the UK travel ban, of course), then followed by a connecting flight to Bogotá. Here, the Graduate checked out the street art and went on a lovely little bike tour. Next up was Cartagena – a beautiful colonial era city built on slavery and gold. The Graduate only intended to spend a week in this city but, after sharing some cocoa leaves with a dashing stranded Aussie at Ciudad Perdida, stayed for another three weeks. Chile was calling via Machu Pichu and the Bolivian Uyuni Salt Flat. On the way, the Commonwealth couple spent $1,600 bribing local officials to find the most idyllic hideaways in South America.
They ended their 6-week South American adventure in Santiago from where they boarded a flight to Madrid, gaining entry as an EU student and her Australian accomplice disguised as an elite athlete. Spending two weeks in Madrid enabled the Graduate to avoid the dreaded UK quarantine hotels, finally parting ways with the Aussie hunk, returning to the UK.
The Lord Justice presiding branded her actions as “a duplicitous manipulation of the rules implemented to safeguard lives in order to experience a short-term life of international vice.” Despite Matt Hancock’s attempt to make an example out of the Graduate, her family had other ideas. With a legal team comprised of a seasoned litigation solicitor and an excellent QC - her father and stepfather respectively – the judge reluctantly concluded that the Graduate “never actually broke the UK’s travel restrictions but rather slalomed her way round them as if she was doing the ski season as she had originally intended”.
By Anna Scott