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April 28, 2006

Da Vinci judge creates own code

Category: News

Peter Smith J inserts riddle in Dan Brown judgment


After the Da Vinci Code, the Smithy Code.  In what is almost certainly an unprecedented step for a High Court judge, Peter Smith J inserted a secret code into his judgment in the copyright infringement case brought over the best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code.


A number of letters in the 71 page judgment are italicised.  At first, they appear to be typographical errors, the first being an italicised ‘s’ in the word ‘claimants’ in paragraph 1.  The first ten such letters spell out the words “Smithy Code”.  In sequence, the italicised letters are “smithycodeJaeiextostpsacgreamqwfkadpmqz”.


“I can’t discuss the judgment,” the judge was quoted as saying on Wednesday, “but I don’t see why a judgment should not be a matter of fun.”


Solicitor Dan Tench of Olswang, who was among the first to spot the code, is now being credited as the first to have deciphered it.  The hidden message is “Jackie Fisher who are you? Dreadnought.”  The judge had given a clue in court yesterday: after rising for the day he said “Look at my entry in Who’s Who“.  His entry lists his recreational interests as: “Titanic Historical Society, British Titanic Society, Jackie Fisher fan, reading military history, football.”


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