Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chapter 9 - My first court appearence

My trial date has finally arrived and I’m feeling quite excited. I could hardly contain myself as I rushed through breakfast and impatiently waited for the guards to process my transfer. I’d be back the same day, but any movement had to be monitored and the proper forms completed. It had taken some arranging but an old friend had organised a new suit for the occasion. It felt good to be out of the prison denims and into something more stylish. I looked as dapper as I could be considering the circumstances.

Transport to the court was provided by a private security firm. We were loaded into the back of a white lorry and ushered into individual cells inside. Each was tiny, with just enough space to sit on the hard plastic seat. There was a small armoured glass window that allowed us to see the outside world. It was too high to see through while sitting, so I stood for most of the journey. It had been many weeks since I had seen anything beyond the confines of the prison, so I enjoyed the view as we moved through the early morning traffic.

We arrived at the courthouse and we were unloaded from the lorry and taken into the underground cells beneath the old building. I amused myself with reading some of the graffiti while I waited.

After an hour or so I was taken upstairs into the courtroom itself. I stood in the dock, flanked by two security guards, and two policemen stood guard by the main doors as additional security. I took the time to look around, it was a large open room. I could almost smell the history of the place, many people had their justice served here for many years and now it was my turn.

Across the room, empty at the moment was the bench where the judge would preside. Below me was the desks for the lawyers, the prosecution lawyer and his assistants talked quietly amongst themselves. The other for the defence team was empty. To the right was the witness box, also empty at the moment. To my left some distance away, where two benches filled with the jurors for my case. They were a mix of men and women, some knew of me, a few did not. Some were thrilled with the chance to decide another’s fate. Others looked nervous and would much rather be about the normal lives.

Behind and above me was the public gallery. It was filled mostly with reporters, all had notebooks in their hands, all were eager for something juicy to report. One of them sketched the room before him.

I sat down and as if waiting for me to do so the judge made his appearance. He wore his full finery, red robe and white wig. Everyone stood up as he entered, I did the same. Now isn’t the time to miss the little niceties.

After the judge sat down, everyone else did the same. We then went through the initial proceedings. I confirmed my identity when asked. The many charges were all read out, the important ones being the murder of three passers-by and the two police officers who responded to the 999 calls. I was asked how I pleaded. I replied that my guilt or otherwise wasn’t for me to decide and that I’m sure the jury would let me know one way of the other soon enough. The judge gave me a baleful glare, although a couple of the jurors and reporters could be heard giving nervous chuckles. He instructed the court recorder to write my plea as not guilty.

He then said asked whether I still refused legal counsel, I said that I did, I didn’t need a lawyer to present the truth. Again he frowned at me before declaring that it was my choice, and that I wouldn’t be able to appeal on the grounds that I hadn’t been represented. I shrugged and replied that there would be no need for me to appeal. He frowned again, I could tell he was unhappy about this. People that represented themselves were always trouble as they didn’t know how things worked. He was right about that, but not in the way he imagined.

I was told to sit back down and then it was the prosecution’s turn. The prosecutor stood, ready to begin his case against me.

Looking at him I slipped into his mind, the evidence was all clear and he was experienced and ready to present. I could see how pleased he was, this was a high profile case, my guilt was clear and this would progress his career nicely.  I focused past these surface thoughts, past the thoughts under the surface about his wife, his mistress and his children. I dug deeper, below the growing hunger, his need for a coffee and a good smoke. I forced my way deeper still, to the thoughts that were no longer thoughts, but the impulses that governed his body.

I found the triggers I wanted and pushed. The prosecutor started to speak and then choked on his words. A low moan escaped his lips as he stumbled forward, collapsing across his papers. At that I chuckled, I laughed as one of the police officers rushed to his aid. I continued to laugh as the officer gave CPR that normally would have saved his life, but I kept pushing at those triggers, making sure that his heart would not restart. A trickle of blood escaped his lips as his final breath left his body.

With a sigh I stopped laughing. The second police officer spoke into his radio and then there was a hush throughout the courtroom. “I hope the prosecution has a stronger case than that” I chuckled again.

The judge’s anger finally broke through his control. “You will be silent!” he commanded. “You will remain silent unless given leave to speak and you will show the proper respect to the officers of this court. If you do not, you will be held in contempt of court.”

“Contempt of court?” I replied, “Of course I hold this court in contempt. And if I do, what will you do? Send me to prison?” I chuckled again, then continued “He is just the first. Every day this trial continues another will die. And you “, I pointed at him, “cannot stop this.”

From behind me I can hear the frantic scribble of pencils on paper. I smile again, this trial is off to a good start.

He’s getting really angry now, he orders the guards to take me back to the cells. The trial will resume the next morning. I am escorted from the dock, but before I leave I look at the public gallery, give them my best smile, and allow myself to be taken below.  As I am lead away the paramedics arrive and start their futile attempts to revive the prosecutor.

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