For example, assume that Charlie stole a bicycle and you saw it or know it. Next week you speak with Charlie and he denies all knowledge of stealing a bicycle. Of course he does, and he’s evasive. Is there a good word for such a character?
Within the UK police force this is (sometimes) known as ‘the Shaggy defence’, in reference to the song “Wasn’t Me“.
I can’t find an online source for that. I only know it because a police officer friend of mine told me about it.
Oh, actually, here we go:
“I predict that in the decades to come, law schools will teach this as the ‘Shaggy defense’. You allege that I was caught on camera, butt naked, banging on the log cabin floor? It wasn’t me.”
PESCA: Good. R. Kelly’s defense is really pretty simple. He’s just
saying it wasn’t me, and the defense team also says the girl in the
video, or the girl the prosecutors are pointing to, it wasn’t her. You
saw the tape. The jury saw the tape. How does that defense work? What
– does the guy look like him?
Mr. LEVIN: The guy definitely looks like him. As he said, it – the
it-wasn’t-me defense, which I’m calling the Shaggy defense, after the
popular reggae song.
Meet the Shaggy Defense: Lying in the face of overwhelming evidence.
The defence favored by the protagonist in Shaggy’s song “It Wasn’t Me”. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he maintains his innoncence by simply saying it was somebody else. Also liked by R. Kelly, O.J. Simpson, and Phil Specter
It’s now official: The “Shaggy defense” is a term of art
When Danville U.S. District Judge Jackson Kiser rules that the “Shaggy defense” won’t fly in a summary judgment motion, we can safely assume the term is now ensconced in the annals of legal terminology.
For those whose musical tastes don’t include R&B, the “Shaggy defense” refers to a 2000 hit by reggae star Shaggy (Jamaica native and U.S. Marine) who counseled a wayward lover to deny everything with the phrase “It wasn’t me,” despite all evidence to the contrary. The term is helpfully explained in footnote 3 in Kiser’s opinion in the case of Preston v. Morton. Kiser notes the term “Shaggy defense” gained popularity when used to describe another musician’s defense in a criminal case.
In the civil case before Kiser, Preston claimed he was working on traffic signals in a bucket truck and was injured when his bucket was hit by a passing tractor trailer driven by Morton. Morton’s main defense was, you guessed it – “It wasn’t me.” Kiser said the issue of whether Morton was the driver in question was a disputed material fact, holding “the so-called ‘Shaggy defense’ is inappropriate for summary judgment.”