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Gag Order – Installment 22 – Gag Order for Victim and Accused
The meeting room in the Attorney General’s office was plush. Thick carpet. Oil polished mahogany table. A well-stocked coffee station. And discrete wall cabinets, which Krasten had been told hid audio-video paraphernalia to facilitate discussions.
‘You guys live like royalty,’ said Krasten. He savored his cappuccino with obvious relish. ‘It’s good to see that taxpayers are getting value for their money.’
Sakaris ignored the swipe but otherwise looked earnest. Ulani was somewhat disengaged and Wilona wore her steel mask.
‘You know their relationship doesn’t mean a thing,’ said Sakaris. ‘Even within a marriage, there’s marital rape.’
‘You called the meeting to tell us this? Okay, go ahead and amend the charges and we’ll see whether the judge allows it,’ said Wilona. She pushed back her chair and stood. Krasten gulped his coffee and stood up too. Well-rehearsed and coördinated.
‘Please,’ said Ulani. She smiled and the thick makeup around her lips cracked. ‘Here’s the deal,’ she said, ‘we speak to Judge Gurshan in chambers, drop the charges and your client agrees not to speak to the press.’
‘In chambers?’ said Wilona, sitting down and motioning Krasten to reclaim his seat. He looked at his empty cup and regretted having gulped the coffee.
‘And in open court, you merely withdraw charges,’ said Wilona.
Ulani looked towards Sakaris. That was a tag and Sakaris took over and said, ‘Yes, and leading to a full acquittal.’
‘And you reckon the public smear on my client would be wiped clean?’ said Krasten. Evidently he too watches world wildlife wrestling and knew all about staged tags.
‘Yes, we believe so. And no speaking to the Press,’ said Sakaris.
‘Are you delusional too? What about the damage to his reputation, his dignity?’ said Krasten.
‘Oh, you’re so funny even when you’re not,’ said Ulani and she gave a canned laugh.
‘And you’re more of a man, than most, I’m sure,’ shot back Krasten, and wiped off her laugh. Wilona sniggered.
‘Oh stop this infantilism!’ said Sakaris. ‘We’ve to see Judge Gurshan in a short while and if we don’t have a deal—’
‘He’s going to put you against the wall and rip your skin off,’ said Krasten. And as an aside to Wilona, he added, ‘Remember the Mari Muthu case?’
Wilona expressed a mock surprise and placed a hand on her chest and said, ‘Gurshan was the presiding judge?’
‘Ripped that hotshot DPP apart,’ said Krasten. ‘Poor fellow quit, and now doing time as an insurance salesman. Or is it a used-car salesman? Whatever. Either way, I’m convinced the good judge was a butcher in his earlier life.’
‘Trust me, Krassi knows all about former lives. He’s into his ninth,’ said Wilona, and imitated Ulani’s fake laugh.
‘Krassi! Hmmm!’ Krasten looked smug.
‘Come on, stop these theatrics,’ said Sakaris, slowly losing his normally calm demeanor.
Krasten pulled up his sleeve, studied his wristwatch, and said, ‘Another few minutes and we got to go.’
‘Okay, okay,’ said Sakaris. ‘Let’s hear your terms.’
‘The AG’s Office issues a statement regretting their objection to the defense’s request for a gag order to protect the accused’s identity.’
‘It’ll never happen.!’ Ulani shot back.
‘So this is about seeking revenge, because I challenged the gag order?’ said Sakaris.
‘Sakaris, it’ll come as a surprise but this is not about you,’ said Krasten. ‘This is about protecting the innocent until and unless they’re found guilty. I learnt this on my first day in law school.’
‘I did too, first day,’ said Wilona.
‘Come on Mr. Bronn, Krassi, don’t paint me into a corner.’
‘Okay Mr. Boey, Sak, I’ll paint you a window so your slimy body can more easily crawl out.’
‘You paint too?’ asked Wilona.
‘Yeah, learnt it on my first day in law school,’ said Krasten. He turned to Sakaris. ‘Charge this Ying woman for perjury and for pressing false charges against my client.’
‘I need to clear this with upstairs.’
‘Good idea. Wake them up,’ said Krasten.
‘Our client intends to sue Ms. Ying for costs and damages,’ said Wilona, as she smoothly picked up after Krasten. ‘A few weeks ago, they were financially just above water. Now, they face a five-figure debt in legal fees and—.’
‘Perhaps you shouldn’t charge so much,’ said Sakaris.
‘Hey, we’ve the upper hand here, we make the jokes,’ said Krasten.
‘You do this to Ms. Ying,’ Sakaris jabbed his finger on the table as he spoke, ‘it’ll inhibit future victims, real victims, from coming forward.’
‘That’s why,’ said Krasten, and he too leaned forward and imitated the DPP by jabbing a finger on the table, ‘we should have a gag order for everyone, victim and accused, across the board. Release the identities after, and if, they’re found guilty!’
‘The public has the right to know,’ said Sakaris.
‘Let the interested ones fill the public gallery.’
‘We better be going or Judge Gurshan will crucify us,’ said Wilona and patted Krasten’s wristwatch.
‘I’m with you,’ said Krasten. ‘I’m done slapping my dick on the table.’
Ulani let out a small laugh and this time Wilona beat Krasten to it and said, ‘I’m sure you can do better.’ Ulani’s smile froze.
‘Hey!’ said Krasten, looking at Wilona, ‘you just hit me where it hurts.’
‘You’ve got it padded, you’ll survive,’ said Wilona.
‘Okay, here’s what we can consider,’ said Sakaris, his voice edged as he tried to reclaim the discussion. ‘You sue her for damages but no open court admissions by the AG’s.’
‘Perjury charges?’ asked Krasten.
‘Keep your damage claims reasonable, and if she fights it, we’ll revisit perjury charges,’ said Sakaris.
*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2017 ***
*** Next installment on Saturday: The Cookie Crumbles ***