In the previous episode of The Guilty:
Court Registrar reads the charge to the accused. He pleads guilty. Bamidele calls in his witnesses and tenders the incontrovertible exhibits. The accused counsel who is assigned to him from the Legal Aid Council cannot impugn any of the exhibits. The court will admit the exhibits including the confessional statement of the accused. The court will proceed to find the accused guilty of murder – he admitted committing the crime anyway – and then, sentence him.
The Guilty Episode 2
“Call the first case,” Justice Okokon said to the Registrar of court as he took his seat. Bamidele Ayodeji was expecting to hear his case being called. It was a criminal matter and as was the procedure in Justice Okokon’s court, criminal cases were heard first. To Bamidele’s surprise, a civil suit was called by the Registrar.
“Must be an oversight,” he muttered to himself as he sat back and listened to the civil proceedings. It was a matrimonial cause action. A wife wanted a divorce from her husband barely two weeks after their wedding. Her reason for wanting a divorce was because the man broke their pre-nuptial agreement. She was a sex worker before they got married. The man was one of her customers. He had talked her out of continuing in the business of sex hawking and promised her a better life if she agreed to marry her. He said he had never met a woman who satisfied him sexually the way she did and he would like to have her all to himself for the rest of his life. In return, he promised to get her a choice property at Banana Island within a week of their marriage – if she chose to marry him. She requested that these terms be incorporated into an agreement if he was serious about marrying her. He agreed. After one week of the marriage and he did not get her the choice property as promised, she became apprehensive. After two weeks of marriage and no-show from the man, she wanted out.
Bamidele returned to his case file. He expected his case to be called next. As he went through his papers, he saw the confessional statement of the accused. It read,
“I Eze Chinagorom, male, 25, student at Unilag and Nigerian National hereby make this confessional statement. I know the deceased. We crossed paths on Twitter. She rebuffed my advances and so I poisoned her with rat poison when we met at a wedding event on Saturday April 23, 2016. I am sorry. It was the devil.”
Bamidele then turned to some print outs of Twitter conversations between the accused and the deceased. They showed the deceased did not accede to the accused advances. The accused must have been bitter after this, Bamidele concluded. He had a motive for killing her.
Bamidele heaved a sigh. Then he turned to the phone conversation transcripts between the accused and his friend on April 23, 2016. The statement that piqued his interest was this: “Omo, if I catch that babe ehn, I go just kill am walahi!” This statement was made just before the accused met the deceased in person. Bamidele shook his head. The accused kept to his threat. He killed her.
The Registrar called the next case. It was Bamidele’s much awaited case.
Tosin Adeyanju stepped out of the keke napep just in front of the court. He was running late to court this morning. He was not supposed to be in court today as today was one of his rare days off, but he got a call from Tayo, his colleague from the Legal Aid Council and counsel personally handling the matter. Tayo had developed the flu this morning and had called Tosin to stand in for him.
“I can’t just appear in a matter I am not fully abreast of,” Tosin had said to Tayo over the phone. “I need to study the file and have a pre-trial meeting with the accused. I need to know who and what I am defending.”
“You don’t have to worry about anything, Tos,” Tayo assured from the other end of the line. “You don’t have to do anything today. It is a murder case. Once the accused takes his plea, all you have to do is watch proceedings.”
“I’m missing something here…”
“Tosin, this isn’t one of the cases you want to fully get involved in. The accused does not need your legal expertise.”
“See, the accused is one Eze Chinagorom. A douchebag of a guy. He was making advances at the victim. She did not want him. So he poisoned her. It’s a bad case, Tos. He is guilty. He said so himself.”
“He told you so?”
“Have you had a pre-trial meeting with him before?”
“Umm…No. But he confessed to the crime…It’s in his confessional statement..I saw it in the proof of evidence sent to the Legal Aid Council…All the documents are on my desk in the case file.”
“But have you had a pre-trial meeting with him? He is supposed to be your client.”
“He is the Government’s client. We are a government parastatal and we render pro bono services to all these criminals who can’t afford lawyers of their own…Look, Tosin, I know you love doing your job very well, but trust me, this particular case is a done deal. He is guilty and he will be convicted. Today.”
“How do you know that?”
There was a lull in the conversation.
“Talk to me Tayo,” Tosin pleaded.
“I had a meeting with the State Prosecutor over the weekend…”
“You met with the Prosecutor? Tayo, you met with the Prosecutor? And?”
“Please don’t take this the wrong way…He furnished consideration for me not to challenge any document he will tender today…”
“What do you mean by he furnished consideration? You were given a bribe?”
“Oh no no. It is not a bribe. Well, I was given a token to cooperate. You know I need the money for my sister’s surgery. The State Prosecutor, one Bamidele guy like that, showed me everything. The Eze guy is guilty. He killed the girl. Bamidele does not want a long and unnecessarily protracted trial when all the facts and exhibits before the court prove the accused committed the crime. He just wants to be done with this case…”
“Is that all? Just that?”
“I shouldn’t be telling you this but…but…Bamidele knows the Judge. I think they’ve spoken about the case and the Judge is in as well. He will convict the accused, no matter what the Defence counsel does. No matter what you do. I’m sure Bamidele already told the Judge we are in too. We won’t be opposing any document…”
Tosin could not believe his ears. He could not believe what his colleague was asking him to do.
“Hey Tos,” Tayo called. “We are not the bad guys here. The accused is. He killed an innocent girl. He should face the wrath of the law for that. We should aid the course of justice.”
Tosin dropped the call. He had heard enough. He would go for the case and he knew just what to do. Or so he thought.