It may have been a bold move, but it has ultimately proven unsuccessful. Raymond Scott (the British bookdealer arrested after the recovery of Durham University's First Folio in July) filed a civil suit back in October seeking to have the book returned to him pending the resolution of police investigations into its provenance (it's currently being housed at Durham University). On Friday a Newcastle Crown Court judge dismissed Scott's claim after attorneys for Durham's chancellor Christopher Higgins (the subject of Scott's suit) pointed out that the book remains in police custody, and is merely being held at Durham in the appropriate environmental conditions. Scott would have to sue the police for its return, not the university, they said.
Scott, who represented himself in court wearing "his favourite Cuban holiday outfit in honour of his 'Cuban copy' - topped off with a baseball cap signed by Michael Schumacher and Tiffany sunglasses," [picture here] said after the university's argument "If I have made a mistake in naming Professor Higgins I apologise. ... I have to agree they are not in a position to release it to me. It does appear as if I have mis-timed this. I was a bit impetuous when I went to the county court . . . I suppose my blood was up to a certain extent, by the very fact it had been returned to Durham University." And then he lapsed into Shakespeare: "The police investigation is into its seventh month now. Rather like the Prince of Denmark, I have borne the whips and scorns of time, and the law’s delay."
The judge ordered Scott to pay the costs of the case, which he reduced to £5000 from £8111. Asked his reaction to that order, Scott replied: "They are entitled to a pound of my flesh so long as they don’t take any of my blood" (another Shakespeare reference, paraphrasing "The Merchant of Venice").
A bail hearing is set for later this month, as a strange case only continues to get stranger.