A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
The High Court was larger than the Magistrate’s Court where the preliminary was heard. Here, everyone was able to secure a seat, worsening the side talks. Richard was glad he didn’t have large ears to hear the talks.
Erneto Aives staffs dominated the first row. He wished they could know how innocent he was, how innocent their CEO was. Ivie and Jide sat on the last row, carrying faces which were like a guilty verdict. The white girl sat beside them, her white face now black, but not black enough to hide that she believed he shot the man. Ezinne sat behind him, where his eyes couldn’t reach, and he wouldn’t turn to have a glimpse of her. Everyone waited for the Her Ladyship, everyone except him. The woman best remained in her chambers or wherever she was.
The door behind the counter opened and Her Ladyship walked in. The court rose. Richard imagined the words that would be coming out from those rounded lips of hers.
She assumed bench and the court returned to the seats.
She studied a file on her desk, raised her head to Richard and drew the microphone closer to her mouth.
“You’re Mr Richard Djebah Fayemi?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Here with me is a copy of the indictment against you. Have you read a copy?” She sounded like the magistrate that heard the initial appearance and the preliminary, like every legal practitioner he had heard speak.
“Have you and your attorney discussed it?”
“I will now read you the charges filed against you.” She bowed her head to the file. “The court, as it is under its jurisdiction, presents that the defendant, Richard Djebah Fayemi, a native of the State of Lagos, deliberately and feloniously attempt to murder the person of Bakare Obafemi Damijo, on the seventeenth day of March, in an unnamed cherry orchard, in direct violation and against the peace, amity, and dignity of the State and Country.” She raised her head to him. “Do you understand the charges read against you?”
“And do you understand that if convicted, you might be sentenced to eight years imprisonment?”
“Do you plead guilty or not guilty to the charge?”
Pleading guilty would bring up a chance to bargain, and that could lessen whatever cross that would be placed on him. Most elites in the country gained freedom through plea bargains. A not-guilty plea would only forward the case to trial, and trials never had good endings. He turned to his lawyer who looked fixedly at him, and at behind his lawyer was Jide’s head bowed to the desk. Ivie’s eyes bored into Richard’s and in those eyes were the right words to utter. Richard fixed on Her Ladyship and stated the words to her. “Not guilty.”
The woman gazed at him. Her lips shook and moved. “Mr Richard Fayemi, based on your not guilty plea, your trial is set for July 6th, 10 A.M. All pre-trial matters must be filed before then.”
Richard stared at the woman. A male judge would have been better.
“Any motions?” she asked.
Mr Victor rose. “Yes, My Lady. The defence requests bail.”
“I’m sorry, Mr Victor, for I cannot grant bail in this case.”
A male judge surely would have been better.
Her Ladyship closed her file. “Mr Fayemi, you are to remain in jail until the trial.”
A corporal marched to Richard, and Richard gave his hands to the cuffs.
He fixed eyes to the door as the corporal led him out of the courtroom. From one hell to another.
To Be Continued….