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Devoted duo brings home the bacon; Ancient trial gives 'the chop' to couple for living in peace.

Byline: EMMA SNODGRASS

A TRIAL of love in marriage, dating back to the 12th century, has returned to a Warwickshire town hall.

The devotion of three couples was put to the test by Alcester's Court Leet in the town's first Flitch Trial for 20 years.

Paul and Jayne Roberts, aged 42, John and Zanny Cooper, aged 60 and 56, and Bob and Sue Andrews, aged 62 and 58, had to prove they had lived in peace for a year and a day.

The prize for the most agreeable couple was the flitch - a 25lb joint of bacon.

A former crown court judge, defence and prosecution lawyers from law firm Browning & Co, and a jury of 12 people from the town tried the flitch in Alcester town hall. Jury members had to promise they would "show no favour by the promise of bacon chops" from the couples.

Couples in turn had to swear to "straight answers give" to all questions put to them by "tricky lawyers" and "not for thought of bacon put false testimony here".

Judge Michael Harrison-Hall, who worked on the Midland and Oxford Circuit Bench until he retired in 1998, presided over the proceedings.

Winners Zanny and John Cooper, from Captains Hill, have been married for 30 years and have two children, Libby, aged 23, and Jonathan, aged 26. Mrs Cooper, who works as a physiotherapist, said: "We decided to take part about six weeks ago.

"My husband is a great traditionalist and he likes to see traditions kept going."

Lawyers Pauline Franklin and John Madge examined the couples on their devotion with questions on their interests, irritating habits and map reading skills.

Mrs Cooper said: "It was more or less what we expected though it was not as nerve-racking as I thought it was going to be.

"It was a great surprise when we won. We were absolutely delighted."

Runners-up were presented with pork pies and members of the jury were given sausages and bacon.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 20, 2001
Words:328
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