The Trial Of The Beast…
THE TRIAL OF THE BEAST
Ayew looked at his friend sadly.
“What can we do, Tutu?” he asked softly. “Zak Twum is just seventeen years old. He’s still a juvenile, and because of that, he has privileges under the law. We can’t trial him as an adult. In the end, we can’t even send him to prison; he would have to go to a borstal home for juveniles until he’s eighteen. By that time, he would have behaved so well in the borstal that we would be forced to let him go free before he has served five years.”
Tutu Kuntu leaned back in his chair and frowned darkly.
“You’re too good, Ayew,” he said quietly. “That boy is no juvenile! He has killed two people, raped our daughter, and beaten a man so badly that he’s confined to a wheelchair! He’s also a drug addict and a drug peddler. He’s a misfit, Ayew. The law is blind sometimes. I keep saying there are things in the law we need to amend!”
“Until then, my friend, the law is law!” the Chief Justice said. “And we are bound by it!”
Tutu Kuntu stood up angrily.
“Ayew, that boy is going to stand trial as an adult!” he said quietly. “I am going to be the judge, and I’m giving him life imprisonment because he deserves to rot slowly in jail. If the case goes to appeal, even though I’m not an Appeal Court judge, I know just the right persons to see and let it be thrown out! That boy will die a slow, painful death in prison!”
The older man jumped to his feet and took hold of this friend’s arm.
“Tutu, please don’t do anything to go against the law!” he said in a shaky voice. “Remember what the law says: an accused is deemed innocent until he’s proven guilty!”
“He’s guilty!” Kuntu shouted. “He’s not fit to live with decent human beings!”
“You’re taking sides!” Ayew persisted. “You’re prejudiced! You’ve already found him guilty! I can’t allow you to be the judge over this case, no!”
“I am going to be in that seat, sir, and I have already chosen the jury and they’re going to find Zak Twum guilty because he is guilty!” Kuntu said softly, and there was cold menace in his voice. “Your morals are blinding you! That boy is filth! He defiled Gyamaan, and did so many other heinous things. Stay out of this!”
“Tutu, your name is presently on a shortlist I sent to the President. Very soon, before the year ends, you shall be a Supreme Court judge. Thereafter, it will only take a few years before you become the Chief Justice. You can’t sit on this case!”
“I’m not a Supreme Court judge yet,” Kuntu said. “When I finish this case, I shall consider that!”
He turned and left the garden angrily.
Ayew Afriyie sank back into this chair wearily. He knew that Kuntu was going to have his way. He loved Kuntu as a son and knew there was no way he could stop the younger man from going ahead with his plans.
Of course, Ayew was angry and bitter about what Zak had done to his daughter, and deep down he wished to have his revenge, but he was there to defend the law, and would never do anything to skew the law in his favour.
“God help us all!” he said softly.
Chief Inspector Boateng looked at the man opposite him, and he could not hide the shock he felt at what he had heard.
He had had an urgent call earlier in the day, and he had been mystified by the caller’s wish that they should meet in secret. Since he had great respect for the caller, he had agreed, and they had met.
Both had come in taxis, but they had gotten off the taxis and walked almost one kilometre to the meeting place.
The policeman had suspected a trap at first, but when his caller stepped out from behind a tree, he had breathed with relief. He had listened to what the other man had to say, and his face had expressed his mounting disbelief.
“Do you know what you’re asking me to do?” he asked with shock.
“That question is unnecessary,” Tutu Kuntu said. “You tell me whether you would do it or not!”
“You’re a man of law!” Boateng said. “You want me to fake a document proving that Zak Twum is twenty years old and not seventeen?”
“Exactly,” Kuntu replied. “I know you hate the boy as much as I do. Look, he will receive a fair trial, I guarantee you that, but we can’t let him enjoy the privileges of a juvenile which can set him free within a few years. You know that boy deserves to die!”
Boateng pulled the tiny hairs under his lower lip; he was startled.
“You have a good reputation,” he said softly. “If anybody finds out about this, you know what would happen!”
“I trust you will protect that reputation,” Kuntu said evenly. “The Chief State Attorney shall handle this. I told him I’ll talk to you. Now we’re both in your hands. You can decide to go ahead with it, or you can decide to destroy us with what you have heard.”
“There are no witnesses,” Boateng said. “What I’ve heard remains here.”
“You could be carrying a recording device on you,” Kuntu said. “I would be disappointed if you aren’t.”
The policeman smiled.
“You’re clever. Yes, I have a recorder.”
He unbuttoned his shirt and pulled out a tiny microphone and a recorder. He dropped and stomped them; they broke to pieces.
“There. No evidence. I take it you’re not wearing a recorder yourself?”
“It was not necessary,” Kuntu said.
There was a moment of silence between them.
“Well?” Kuntu said at last.
Boateng smiled. It was not a nice smile.
“I’ve been after Zak Twum for two years,” he said coldly. “That boy doesn’t deserve to live. I will do anything – anything – to make sure he goes to the gallows. Your document will be ready!”
Faddah Kissiedu was feeling really happy.
He was the State Attorney in charge of prosecuting Zak Twum.
Apart from the fact that he had never lost a case in his glittering career, he was relishing the case that was coming up. Zak’s case had received global interest, and soon Faddah’s name would be in worldwide magazines. His face would be on many television stations, even on CNN. He just could not wait for the trial to begin.
His lawyers were gathering information frantically.
Actually, it was a foregone conclusion. Zak was hated too much by the public, and of course, the evidence against him was airtight!
Faddah was thus enjoying himself tremendously. He had even ordered new sets of expensive suits. He was going down in history, and he wanted to look good doing it.
Everywhere he went media people besieged him. He had become indispensable to them, and he simply loved the attention he was getting.
There was a knock on his door, and he looked up.
“Come in,” he said.
It was a young lawyer called Kuuku Eduafo.
He was fresh from law school and had not had any good experience as a lawyer. Faddah did not like Kuuku Eduafo because he did not kowtow to Faddah as he should, and had the annoying habit of opposing Faddah at any opportunity.
Faddah relished what he was going to do to Eduafo. He smiled broadly when the short, opulent young man entered. Faddah pretended to be busy with some documents and left Eduafo standing.
After a while, he looked up unsmilingly and pointed a rigid forefinger at the young lawyer.
“No lawyer is representing the young man,” he said slowly. “The presiding judge asked for recommendations, privately, and I recommended you to be Zak’s lawyer. So, my friend, you have to be in court when the trial begins and there, you will be formally appointed as Zak Twum’s lawyer.”
For a moment Faddah thought Eduafo’s eyes were going to pop right out of his face!
“Mmm-mme, me?” he spluttered.
It was all Faddah could do to contain his explosive laughter.
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