Trial and Error ( 3)Mature



Mr Self awakes on the morning of the trial of his life only half rested. He is a lawyer. He is Lucy Mathew's lawyer that day. 'I'm dreading this case,' he says to the cat. 

' Fiona, i had that bloody same dream with the fifty one grounds of appeal in it! He shouted over to his beautiful wife Fiona, who was stirring sugar into tea as he looked for his keys. 

' a re- occurring dream Gary. Re-occuring dear.'

God help them all thinks his wife with a grin as he leaves, all cocky about the case ahead, yet stumbling over his words.


Lynnie the pupil barrister and Mr Self the industrious, assidous defender have got to court early. The canteen stinks of beans and oven chips.Gossip abounds the robing room. A few people smoke cigars and pipes mainly. One man has a flask full of tea and a few lady counsel sort their lippy out in the loo. One important barrister is griping about a solicitor that owes him some pay. Another is berating a younger member of chambers over, strangely some stickers left on the underneath of his shoes. Others sit quietly, mulling over the day to come. Which witness has turned up. Will the judge we're in front of buy this client's case? So many characters all perfectly at home in their world. From the outside of the building, it appeared like any other office. Apart from the miniature lions welded together in a crest appearing to add some incongrous cuteness and interest to a building that some see as a house of pain.

Lynn is trying to help. She is a pupil and should be seen and not heard at the moment at least, or so she's been told. The pupil looks at Mr. Self wondering whether to speak. He had been a bit down since losing his last murder trial the week before. His best mate in chambers had been co-defending, but his Defendant got off with it. He was too proud to admit that it was a bit of a cock up and had drafted grounds of appeal deftly and swiftly. The pupil was probably going to be invited to become a tenant of chambers, but that was yet to be voted upon. You need a unanimous yes, from every member of chambers Lynn, Mr. Self reminded.

'People have given you feedback, they’ve said that you don’t ask about them, you just breeze about your business. Ask about people’s lives, their work, ask if they’re busy even. Just you need to make more of an effort if you’re going to fit it. It’s important in a small chambers like this one.'

Lynne was trying so hard it gave her nosebleeds. For someone who was a bit shy Lynne thought Mr Self he had done well to get to this position. Like most counsel he would often complain about pay, working too hard and not seeing much of his friends. But it was in his blood. He sat, as a recorder several times per year also. This was nerve racking. Working out the right sentence w taxed them all at first. Of course some cases were more complex than others, Lynnie listened in to their conversations, the other counsel.

Kirsty Langstaff-Jones was making more tea in the robing room. One barrister remarked upon her, stating that she was, ' too nice a girl to be affected by the soot from the chimney'. The law being the chimney through which the ills of society are all funnelled away. ' Away', is what they said about Lucy when she was locked up on remand. Not many work mates bothered but the three or four that called into her home in those first few days that she was gone, were told she was away. Self was well liked, that was important. He would sometimes lose his temper in a subtle way at Lynnie, or ask her to be quiet as he worked away intensely.That was fair enough, but sometimes she was bursting to tell him what she thought, who she thought did it.  She didn’t mind acting invisible most of the time. It was just such a great opportunity to be there. When she said this sincerely, he pulled a sarcastic face and said ‘ woo pee doo,’ which made her think that maybe he was the sort of prick that would always be moody when no one important was around, taking his mood out on the pupil who couldn't say anything. His mood could be lifted by the last wagon wheel and a charming cleaner who bends over to pop a bag of rubbish in a bin liner right in front of him. 

 Self was perhaps a little misunderstood. Always locking horns with the Judiciary. In the old days he would regularly appear at his crown court armed with the code of conduct. He did not think that a defence statement should include the nature of the defence. This was a relatively new development at the time. The burden is on the Crown to prove her case. The Defendant is innocent until proved guilty. Why should the Defendant assist the crown by way of advising plod of where he was on the night in question?

Lucy, when she’d stopped crying, in the cell remembered that she'd signed a piece of paper, his brief they called it. Her solicitor had nodded to the trial counsel as the two men walked out of the cell. All around her were pieces of graffiti to stare at while they talked at her. 'Simon Ov Barnsley', reads one. Fuck You Plod reads another.It is so cold waiting to go back into court. The handcuffs hurt her just a little bit too.

She is trying to tell them about the hacking and the falling in love, but it is pretty hard to get it all out. 




Lucy had been seen running near Johan’s home, screaming and holding a knife. 

His blood was on her clothing. She was seemingly too distressed to speak. The psyche report suggested that she was manipulating the system, exaggerating symptoms of madness in order to basically get away with the crime she had committed. The defence team led by Mr. Self requested her medical records. These did show, as did from the usual vaccinations and occasional chest infections, that she had been treated for depression following family problems the year before. She had been referred to a counselor. A second report was sought, however it was luke warm. It suggested that Lucy was fit to answer questions and that she would be able to follow the proceedings, so there was no question that the prosecution would then accept a plea to a lesser charge of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility. As Lucy was so upset it was difficult for her solicitor and barrister to get through to her. Try and try they did. She was Just not willing or able to say what had happened. In more cynical moments, her barrister thought that she should Just plead guilty. She had been found near the scene of a crime, with a bloodied knife, they had split up. There was plenty of evidence that she was very upset when they split up, telephone records also showed frequent calls from her phone to his. 


They would have to await the prosecutions next step.

The next step came in a bundle of documents located in a search of Lucy’s family home, these included apparently a confession in the form of her diary. She had also ripped pages from the diary, but had not hidden them well. These seemed to suggest that she had done it. Who else would have it in for him the Crown Prosecutor pondered in deciding which witnesses to call at trial. No one from what we can see. Hard working lad, all the other family are out in India. 

Clear case of a woman scorned. 

Her family were going to the press regularly, telling anyone who could listen that she was not the sort of girl to be in trouble and that their daughter was herself an innocent victim. 

The second charge of murder was unusual as there was no body. Alice, a local beauty and married woman had not been seen for some time, but CCTV images caught her and Johan Ahmadi walking together along a well lit area of the town two nights before he was reported missing by a college friend of his Whitney. 


Whitney, her heart as sweet as a lambs couldn’t stop crying when she reported that he had gone. They were meant to be going to the pictures that week, they always had parties. Hopefully he will be found Whitney, we will keep you posted, and do you have contact details for his mum and dad please? I need to call them. 


sergeant smith hates the Job, making calls to relatives who will be devastated by his news. 


The only thing he hates more is informing someone that their husband or wife has died in a car crash. 


Breathing in sharply and making the call, he has a list of points in front of him that he needs to get over. The last time the IP was seen or spoken too, here goes fingers crossed the guy has Just visited some friends, but apparently his passport was still at the property. 


i’m sorry mrs. ahmadi, i will be in touch, and please try not to worry we are doing everything we can. 


When news comes in that a body has been found, Whitney and Jen fear the worst, they are uncontrollably stricken with grief. 


When Lucy hears these words, that he has died she does not believe it. She does not believe that he has gone. He has not gone. He is in the other room with my mum and Andrew waiting for me, I NEED TO TALK TO HIM. 


She rings his number a few times knowing deep down she will not reply or answer but disbelieving that he has actually died. 


She has to talk to her friend, Olympia is not available the reception in her village is pretty poor and Felicity is abroad. 


‘ Well, why do you want to question my daughter”? Lucy’s’ proud dignified Uncle said as he opened the door? She has nothing to do with this boy go away. 


‘I’m afraid if she will not come along voluntarily I will have to arrest her and you for obstructing a police officer.’ The constable had Just about had it by now, a long shift was drawing to an end. He had been abused today by a man in hulk fancy dress as he tried to calm him own on a stag do that had got out of control. 

Then his wife had text him to say that his son was going back into hospital he has trouble with his legs and special needs. Now these guys were being difficult. He had to interview Lucy’s sister about this, she had put her forward as an alibi witness and also a woman called Flick. Her solicitor will do the rest but the officer feels that there is something different about Lucy , not frozen. Not hardedned by denial. Or as if she has nothing to hide? she just keeps saying that she cannot remember. 


If she cannot remember Gary, then it has to be not guilty of course, you don’t need me to tell you that, John a handsome barrister in his fifties, sighed, putting a book down on the desk in the room that they shared. 


‘ John, it is hopeless the Jury will here that his DNA was on her dress, she was seen wandering around with the murder weapon and they will convict her. 


‘ Was it the murder weapon? Have you looked into all of that’? John was not to be messed with, he knew his craft. The punters asked for him as much as the solicitors did, he was a local hero, as some saw it.


The confession evidence would be admissible, with a warning from the Judge naturally. 



To him, the barrister  the confession seemed so disjointed and well loopy it was difficult to see how she could possibly be sane. But he wasn’t a shrink was he, he remarked to the pupil, who sat stupefied afraid to speak for want of making an error.

So the trial date came along and being fit to plead after days of legal wrangling about one thing or another, the battle commences. 

 And old school friend of Lucy’s who said she was mad all along vindictively peered from the public gallery, her phone went off and the Judge excludes her from the court room. 

At the end of it all the Jury will go out to consider their verdict. It will not be easy for them. She is clearly a tragic character, he generously thinks. 

The End

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