A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
Mr Victor filled his portfolio with all kinds of papers. The big books, he pushed to an edge of the desk and the small ones went into the file cabinets.
“Mr Richard has a big trial awaiting him.” The lawyer gave them half eyes. The remainder extended to his cabinets.
“Did he tell you anything about the victim holding a gun at the scene?” Jide asked.
He closed the already full cabinets and dropped his hands on his empty table. “I’m his lawyer. You don’t expect him to hide anything from me.”
“Do you think it’s true?” Ivie tried to find the answer in his face before he uttered it.
“The essence of court proceedings is to find out what is true and progress with the necessary measure. There’s nothing to back up my client’s words, but I do believe him.”
“You believe the victim was the casualty of a setup?” she asked.
“Mr Richard believed that to be the case. I’ll have to work with it in mind.”
“Has the victim been interrogated?” Jide entered.
“He’s in a very deplorable condition. However, some questionings were done, and it didn’t seem he concurred to what my client said. You heard the prosecuting attorney words at the preliminary. The victim concurred it was Richard who shot him.” He raised his brows in a manner that said Bakare’s confession, made consciously or not, was a huge blow.
“Did Rick also tell you it’s his wife who shot the victim?” Jide asked.
“He told me on our first meet.”
“You’ve talked with the woman?”
“The police did that. They believe she is innocent, so they have no case with her. “What do you think? Do you see any atom of truth in what Richard says?”
“I’ve known Bakare for a long time,” Ivie said, still trying to find logic in everything storming her head. “Never had he done anything that would make me suspect him to be involved in a crime.”
“What about you, Mr Echem? You’ve known his wife for a good time. Do you think she would cold-bloodedly shoot someone?” He tapped his fingers on a frame by the table, a frame of his honours, just like those hung all over the walls.
“I would never think so, but Rick said she did. He told you and Ivie, and also told Ivie to inform me. I think it’s something worth considering. And Richard is not a man that would utter a false statement against his wife.”
“Richard told me all this on our first meet, and I tend to believe such things as the truth. I ran some checks on Bakare Damijo and the woman and couldn’t find any connection. I found no criminal records on either.”
“If this is true, it’s hard to digest,” Ivie said. “I knew Bakare and Richard’s wife. It’s difficult to picture them doing those claims.”
“Bakare was something more than a friend to you, wasn’t he?” Mr Victor asked.
“Yes.” There was no point searching for a vague answer. “He had proposed to me.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Ivie. This may be hard on—”
“It’s not hard. I’m glued to finding out the truth just as you. I called Richard to the crime scene. I put him in this.”
“Don’t let that trouble you, or make you get too involved. Richard wouldn’t want that, and I too, wouldn’t. There are reasons.” He paused. His look lengthened into a stare. “In criminal cases investigations, when the police are faced with two probable possibilities, a vivid and a vague one, they often go for the first. They were taught that in their training. And it usually happens that the vivid is the right one. Here, the vivid is Richard shot that man, and that’s what the police are trying to prove.
“You called the police and drew their attention to the crime scene. They know that. You also claimed you called the victim and the manner in which he responded made you suspect something was happening, but remember, nothing resembling a phone was found with the victim. It must have been taken away from him before the police arrived, perhaps, to prevent the police from discovering the calls made in framing him, but that’s just an assumption, or preferably, an allegation, which is invalid. Very soon, the police will question you. They will ask you how you acquired the knowledge of the happenings at the scene, even after you’ve already told them. They would ask you many things you’ve previously explained to them and those repetitions could make you miss words, especially if you see it a responsibility to rescue the defendant.
“The last thing you’d want to happen is to be misunderstood, to be misinterpreted, and that could happen when you begin talking too much. You might end up in police custody screaming and cursing. It usually ends that way, especially for women so desperate to free someone. You didn’t put Richard there. Don’t ever think you did, and don’t ever think it’s your responsibility to bring him out. It’s not yours. It’s mine. If I need you, I’d contact you. When the police approach you to talk, no matter how friendly or persuasive they might seem, don’t say a word without your attorney present, if you don’t have one, I could fill that gap. No one will lay hands on you if you refuse to respond. You may have heard of the police doing that, but they won’t try it in this case.” He tapped the desk with a pen. “I need you to testify at trial. You can do that?”
“I’ll ask the questions. All you need say is the right and true answers. You may be cross-examined, stick to the truth and try not to fidget. The judge is watching.”
Being a witness did not seem an easy thing. It was not. The lawyer just indirectly told her that.
“Has Ezinne ever visited Rick?” Jide asked the lawyer.
“No. Richard removed her from his visiting list.”
To Be Continued….