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Gag Order – Installment 9 – The Public Gallery

Hushed and expectant activity filled the courtroom. Wilona leaned across the aisle and whispered to Sakaris.

‘Thank you for that offer thingy.’

Sakaris, seeing Krasten trying to eavesdrop, raised his voice a little and said, ‘Thanks for the drink last night. Anything to make that shit head squirm.’

When Wilona settled back, Krasten placed a hand on her arm and said, ‘You’d drinks with him last night?’

Wilona twisted free her arm and gave him a contented smile.

‘Why didn’t I know that?’ asked Krasten. ‘Does Jeevan know?’

‘I beg your pardon! It’s none of your god damn business and neither is it Jeevan’s.’

‘Not a good day for you, is it?’ said Sakaris from across the aisle. And Ulani looked over the DPP’s shoulder and gave Krasten a satisfied smile.

Krasten made a face and turned to Wilona, bringing his head close to her.

‘Anyway, Jeevan was there too,’ said Wilona. ‘And you would’ve heard about it if you’d attended the briefing. But I suppose your power lunch took precedence.’

Krasten started to say something but two loud thumping sounds interrupted him. Bailiff Hasan, in his sixties, slim and with a well-trimmed moustache that lent him a regal presence, declared in a clear voice that brought everyone to their feet.

‘All rise! State Court in session. The Honorable Judge Gurshan Singh presiding.’

The judge, also in his sixties, bearded and turbaned, had a jovial face but sharp eyes. He was fat, like in obese. He stood for a moment and scanned the court before taking his seat. The leather armchair groaned and so did the judge.

People packed the public gallery, as was the usual case for the first day of any hearing that involved crimes of passion, as they say in polite company. Besides family members of the accused and victim, there were law students ready with their note books, members of the press and retirees. The last group, all men who seemed to know one another, was a permanent fixture in most afternoon hearings involving crimes of passion. Quite often one of the senior citizens will doze off and snore, to the great amusement of the court. His buddies or a policeman would shake the man awake, only to have him fell asleep again.

Besides counsels for the defense and prosecution, there were also several court clerks and officials.

Judge Gurshan, noticing Wilona’s unbuttoned shirt, smiled, and she fidgeted self-consciously.

Bastien Tee, wearing orange prison garb, sat in the dock. He had ugly dark rings around his eyes and kept his head down. He stood to receive the charge.

A court official read the charge sheet, after which Judge Gurshan addressed Bastien.

‘Does the accused understand the charge?’

‘Yes sir,’ squeaked Bastien.

‘You address me as your honor or judge.’

‘Yes sir, I mean, your honor.’

‘For the record, how does the accused plead?’

Krasten stood up and said, ‘Not guilty, your honor.’

‘Get on with it, then,’ said the judge, and his eyes rested on Wilona’s chest.

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***

*** Join me on Wednesday 12 July for some court drama ***