The court reconvened at exactly 2p.m. and Judge Trobe called the prosecution to recall the witness, Sam Monday back to the stand. Sam Monday returned to the witness stand was sworn in and Lt. Bono walked leisurely to the witness, and to the spectators surprise said, “That’s all I have no further questions for the witness,” and turning to the defense table, said, with a bit of sarcasm in his voice, “You may cross-examine the witness,” and strolled to the prosecution table.
Defense Counsel Jason Doe who seemed to be occupied with his thoughts moved towards the witness and with hesitation grinned at him, allowing the witness to readjust his position in the box. The lawyer hesitated for a couple of seconds and then allowed the momentary silence to sweep across the courtroom. Dramatically, he secured the spectators’ attention as sudden hush engaged the room. Perhaps it was deliberate as the lawyer kept his gaze on the witness in what anyone watching with extreme caution would have realized was a tactic of intimidation, the kind that bothered on surprise. Jason Doe knew it was a case based on circumstantial evidence. His only trump card would be to shake the recollections of the witness and the lawyer was prepared to burst the case wide open.
And so as the courtroom held in silence, Jason Doe began his cross examination in a disguised consoling voice, that pretended it was interested in the welfare of his antagonist in the box. The crowd listened with keen attention when the lawyer asked the witness, “Your name is Sam Monday?” The question disarmed the witness and relaxing with a sense of expectation, said, “Yes.”
There was an undertone murmur of surprise in among the spectators, as the lawyer hammered his question one after the other.
“And you testified in court that you are a compulsive gambler?”
The witness smiled and shifted in his position, and lowered his head briefly and lifted it to glance at the prosecution’s table as if he needed some reassurance of what was coming to him. There was a mild smile at the corner of his mouth when he said: “I have been gambling the greater of my life.”
That was apparently what the lawyer had expected and so he gave his answer a momentary thought over, and repeated the question, “It is either yes or no,” but Lt. Bono was on his feet, “Your Honor, this line of questioning suggests that Counsel is employing a leading question with the intent to trap the witness since he may not be prepared for Counsel’s method of insinuating the possible…”
“The Court is firmly aware of the procedure and therefore the prosecutor should let counsel exhaust his questions since the Court is cognizance of the method,” Judge Trobe interrupted, “on the issue of leading questions, the Court does not want to remind the prosecutor that he had the opportunity to let the witness tell the Court what he knew to be a fact.
“Unless the prosecution finds it unreasonable to follow the trend of defense counsel’s questioning, he will have to raise his objections and leave the Court to act upon.”
“Thank you, Your Honor,” the prosecutor said, “I wanted to make sure that the defense counsel does not employ some of his draconian methods and go fishing out information without proper foundation laid.”
Judge Trobe said, “The Court cannot entertain any interruption from the prosecution except what the Court took pain to explain of which the prosecution is clearly aware.”
“Thank you, Your Honor,” Lt. Bono said, and gave Jason Doe a side glance of his face. The lawyer did not show his annoyance but heard Judge Trobe’s instruction.
“Counsel may continue with your cross-examination.”
Jason Doe, a little elated of the judge’s rebuke of the prosecution, said, “Thank you, Your Honor,” and turned swiftly to face the witness.
“You told the court that you have been gambling much of your life?”
“Anthony Dawson,” the lawyer said, “is your friend?”
“Yes and no.”
“He was your friend when he met you at the Lovers’ Inn the night of September 10?”
“Yes and that was why I accepted his offer.”
“And his offer was for you to drink on the house?”
Smiling, the witness said, “Yes.”
“When he said it was on the house, it meant simply that you could drink free?”
“That’s exactly what he meant.”
“And so you drank free?”
The lawyer moved back to the defense table and pawed through some papers, and returning to the witness, said, “What question did you ask the defendant that you told the Court ‘his father would not get what he wanted in life’?”
The witness again, hesitated and looking at the lawyer with brooding eyes, said, “I just figured something was wrong the way he came to the Inn.”
“And so when you judged him by his appearance you knew something was wrong, did you not?”
“You hit the nail right on the head.”
The lawyer smiled.
“Is it yes or no, Mr. Monday?”
“It is yes.”
“But until then you had no idea that something bad had happened to the decedent?”
He shifted once again in the witness stand, looked around him, folded his hands in front of him, and turned his head to stare at the judge’s bench.
The witness hesitated, and then said, “Yes.”
The lawyer went on a frontal attack, “Why did you hesitate in your answer Mr. Monday?”
“I thought you wanted to trap me.”
“Do you have any motive that you thought I would expose?”
“I don’t want you to link me with the death of Mr. Dawson and I am also afraid that you could link me with anything that is missing from the house.”
“Is there any way that anything could have been missing in the house?”
“Well,” the witness said, “the man was a rich man and he could get his money stolen.”
The courtroom echoed laughter at the witness answer, and the judge’s gavel sounded twice and calm was restored immediately.
The lawyer went on the attack, nonetheless.
“In your relationship with the defendant, did you at any other time request him to credit you money?”
“How much was it?”
“It is not part of this case.”
Judge Trobe lowered her glasses on her nose, and said, “The witness will answer the question.”
“It was US$750.00.”
“How long now, since you received the money?”
“Six months ago.”
“When did he expect you to settle the payment? In other words when were you expected to pay the money?”
“Five months ago.”
“What did he tell you after you failed to pay the money in the sixth month?”
In a voice that spectators had to struggle to hear him, the witness said, “He reported me to his father who threatened to send me to jail if I don’t pay the money.”
“Was it not because you insulted him when he approached you on why you did not pay the money?”
“I did not mean to insult him.”
“But you insulted him?”
“I did it out of anger.”
“And you threatened him that you were not afraid to go to jail, did you not?”
“I was just joking with him.”
“Your joke was a threat and how you did not care about going to jail?”
“These things happen,” the witness said, evading the question, but Jason Doe kept the pressure on.
“You visited the defendant on the night of September 10 and did not find him at home?”
“Why did you hide in the closet when the decedent arrived?”
“I was afraid that seeing me at his house could let him call the police.”
The lawyer turned to the judge and smiled, and strolled back to the defense table. The defendant, with his eyes wet with tears glanced at the lawyer.
The lawyer grinned and threw him a wink.
Tears filled his eyes, and the lawyer torched his shoulder, and said, “It’s going to be fine.”
The brief silence unsettled the witness in the stand, as he fidgeted with his hands and his empty gaze settled on the prosecution table.
Judge Trobe moved swiftly to rescue the situation and realizing that there was no probable cause to hold the defendant and bound him for trial, she readjusted her dress.
Gazing at defense counsel Jason Doe, she said, “It seems now apparent that the preliminary trial is come to its natural conclusion, for the case with too much circumstantial evidence has reached a point where the witness has found his testimony has tumbled in falsehood and innuendos.
“In the search for justice for the decedent and his family, the Court has come to accept the reality that the chief witness had some motive and it is evidently clear that he had his own hands in the cookie jar, while he was testifying against an innocent man.
“With what has happened so far, the Court will take an extreme action in which the witness who had presented himself as the good angel was involved as we have gathered through the brilliant performance of defense counsel Jason Doe.
“The Court therefore has no moral ground to hold defendant Anthony Dawson, and the Court, as its honorable position is, to uphold justice for victims and their families, is releasing the defendant to the care of defense counsel Jason Doe while at the same time ordering Sam Monday detained and it so ordered.”