A story written by INEGBENOISE OSEODION OSAGIE. (07068221839, 08093828575, [email protected])
The prosecuting attorney, Mr Rashid Momoh, finished with his brief opening statement as though he need not waste words. Her Ladyship called Mr Victor for his opening. The lawyer marched to the podium.
He began by announcing Richard to be a very respectable man in the society who had no reason to commit murder. With his army background, he was expected to possess firearms. No one would want to implicate himself by using registered weapons to commit murder. Her Ladyship should please reason beyond the evidences, as no man would accuse himself on purpose as to use such glaring evidences.
Her Ladyship scribbled on her pad and called the State to call its first witness.
The prosecuting attorney climbed the podium and called out a Bayo Yetunde, the officer who handcuffed Richard at the crime scene. The prosecuting attorney helped the witness in introducing himself and went further to examine him. He guided him in testifying Richard to be the one found in the crime scene with an assault rifle and some ammunition. The prosecuting attorney asked other ritual questions before letting go the witness.
Her Ladyship asked the defence for a cross-examination. Mr Victor uttered a no.
Her Ladyship asked for a second witness and the prosecuting attorney brought out a pathologist who testified that the cause of the victim’s injuries was the bullets found in him.
Mr Victor did no cross-examination.
The State called in its third witness, the FCID’s ballistician. Richard’s heart tore as the expert strode to the podium, holding a file.
“May you state your name,” the prosecuting attorney began.
“Mr Christopher Imem.”
“19, Beuno quarters, Calabar, Cross River.”
“What is your profession?”
“I’m a ballistician.”
“And where did you study that?”
“Daldymyr West Ukrainian National University.”
“Have you been certified in your field?”
“Do you hold any degree in the field?”
“Yes. A Masters’”
The prosecutor angled his head. “What does someone of your profession do?”
“We deal with the science of firearms and projectiles.”
“Have you ever testified in a trial?”
“Can you tell the court how many?”
“I’ve testified in thirteen trials.”
The prosecuting attorney directed to Her Ladyship. “My Lady, the State wishes to present Mr Christopher Imem, a Ballistician, to witness as an expert in the field of Ballistics.”
Her Ladyship faced Mr Victor. “Any examination of the witness?”
“No,” Mr Victor said.
“Mr Momoh, you may continue.”
“Have you studied the crime scene?” the prosecuting attorney asked the ballistician.
“Yes, I have.”
“And were you able to recover anything?”
“Were you given the bullet found in the victim?”
“And what did you do to it?”
“The forensics sent it to a crime lab in Virginia, USA, to find a match.”
“Are the results out?”
“What are the results?”
He opened the file in his hand and bowed head to it. “The result says that the 9 mm bullet was from a registered Glock 19 pistol with serial number 626409. The pistol was purchased by the person of Richard Fayemi in the year 2011.” He thumbed through several photos and explained some charts. Going further, he explained the gunpowder found in the victim’s wound entrance and the clear muzzle imprint. The shot was taken point-blank.
“Mr Imem, what is your final opinion?”
“My final opinion is that the bullet recovered from Bakare Damijo’s lumbar bone was shot from a Glock 19 purchased by Richard Fayemi.”
“Thank you. No further questions.”
Her Ladyship directed to Mr Victor. “Any cross examination?”
“Yes, My Lady.” He adjusted his suspenders to fit his flat belly and marched to the podium.
“Mr Christopher, what does ballistics involve?”
“It involves the study of firearms and projectiles.”
“Does it involve pointing out who shot a gun?”
“With calculations and additional information from investigations, it can help point out who shot a gun.”
“Does your Ballistics result state that the Glock pistol which produced the bullet was shot by Richard Fayemi?”
“No, but it clearly states that the pistol belonged to Mr Fayemi.”
“If I carry that same Glock pistol and shoot at someone, would it give same result?”
The ballistician aimed at the file in his hand and his ears twitched. “That could happen.”
“So is there any possibility that the Glock was shot by someone other than Mr Fayemi?”
“That could happen.”
“Thank you. That’ll be all.” He strode to his seat.
“Any redirect?” Her Ladyship asked the prosecuting attorney.
“No, My Lady.”
“May the State call its next witness.”
The prosecuting attorney stalked to the podium. “My Lady, the next witness would be speaking via a video link because of his inability to be here in person due to some health issues.”
Her Ladyship looked at Mr Victor. “Any objections to the witness testifying via a video link?”
“The defence has no objections to that,” Mr Victor said.
He offered Richard a glass of water. “You should drink this.”
Richard received the glass and tried a sip. The liquid singed his taste buds. The last thing he needed was water. “What wrong have I done this man that he would place a murder on my head? His testimony will go far in weakening our chances.”
His lawyer gave no reply, refused to look Richard in the eye the way he normally did anytime Richard talked. His eyes were as blank as the pad on his desk. Something hovered around his face, something that did not resemble confidence.
To Be Continued….