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Gag Order – Installment 15 – Detained at Lunch

‘Objection, Your Honor, relevance,’ said Wilona.

‘Finally, Ms Cheah, it’s good to know you’re with us,’ said Judge Gurshan. He addressed the DPP. ‘Mr. Boey, I’ll overrule the objection if, as I believe and hope, your next question cuts to the chase. Promise me you’ll not burst my balloon.’

‘Thank you, Your Honor,’ said Sakaris with a small bow. ‘I promise not to burst your balloon.’

The judge chuckled and, looking at Wilona, he said with a shrug, ‘As long as my balloon is safe.’ No one in the court room dared to even smile.

‘Thank you, Your Honor. Mrs. Toh, is it not true you complained to the staff union after you were passed over for a promotion, a promotion that went to Ms. Lavinia Ying?’

‘That-is-not-true,’ said Mrs. Toh in a matter of fact tone. ‘Anyway, I deserved that promotion, especially since I’ve more than, more than you know, many many years in the company.’

‘Thank you, Mrs Toh,’ said Sakaris and reclaimed his seat. Ulani stood up immediately and said,

‘Mrs. Toh, it’s our intention to call the industrial relations officer to the witness stand. In view of this revelation, would you like to change your testimony?’

‘Why must I change my testimonial? No! I was there, I saw with my own, my own you know, two two eyes. You were not there!’ She folded her arms tighter around her body and bristled.

‘You’re right Mrs. Toh, I certainly was not there,’ said Ulani, her voice edged. ‘Is it also true your co-workers were not there?’ She made a show of consulting her notes. ‘All twenty nine of them? Or, was it because none witnessed what you saw?’

‘Who knows,’ said Mrs. Toh, ‘maybe they don’t want to get involved. You should ask them. Go ahead, ask ask.’

‘Oh, I intend to, Mrs. Toh,’ shot back Ulani. ‘No further questions, Your Honor.’

‘Re-examine, Ms Cheah?’ said Judge Gurshan.

Wilona stood up and, after a long pause, said, ‘Mrs. Toh, uh, would you say they—Bastien Tee and Lavinia Ying—were unusually close?’

‘Objection, Your Honor, hearsay!’ Ulani had shot up.

‘Overruled. The witness will answer the question,’ said the judge.

‘But—’

‘When you posed questions based on hearsay, I allowed them, Ms Mathews,’ said the judge. ‘Now, warm your seat.’

Ulani, her face a hard mask, dropped into her seat.

‘Thank you, your Honor,’ said Wilona. ‘Mrs. Toh, were they close?’

‘Yes, very close-close.’

‘Thank you, Mrs. Toh. That’s all. No further questions, Your Honor.’

‘Witness is—,’ Judge Gurshan stopped and a small smile escaped his lips.

The door had opened and Krasten sneaked in with a sheepish bow. ‘I do apologize Your Honor,’ said Krasten, subdued. ‘I was detained at lunch.’

‘I am impressed indeed Mr. Bronn,’ said Judge Gurshan. ‘Detained at lunch! How very classy, Krassi, if you’ll allow me a moment of familiarity. A power lunch, I presume. When your age, I wolfed down instant noodles for lunch. Salty stuff, thin soup. It was the original fast food before they came up with naked chicken and cardboard filled burgers. Did you know that?’

‘No, Your Honor,’ said Krasten.

‘I spent so much time behind my desk, I wore out the leather on my chairs as quickly as my shoes.’

Bailiff Hasan smiled, but no one else dared to.

‘You be quiet, Hasan,’ said the judge.

‘I’m quiet, Your Honor,’ replied the bailiff.

Judge Gurshan patted his stomach and said, ‘Suffering for it since. Where were we? Yes, witness may step down and Mr. Bronn, you are just in time to witness this. Court adjourned till 10.00 AM tomorrow morning.’

Judge Gurshan hit his gavel and stood up. And the court rose with him. The judge looked pointedly at Krasten and said, ‘I love being a judge in Singapore. It is all about me!’ He threw a pleased look at Wilona’s buttoned up shirt, and exited.

Sakaris and Ulani gathered their papers, grinned at Krasten and also left.

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

*** Wednesday 2 August: Women are from Venus, Men from… ***