Characters in the Story
Jason Doe—the lawyer who was excited to know much about the defendant
Ephraim Sackor—the angry candidate who became the defendant who did not want to
Janet Lovebird—the beautiful secretary of Counselor Jason Doe.
Judge Martina Yuo—the judge who wanted fairness in her courtroom
Cecelia Sackor—wife of the defendant who felt her husband was not having a nervous breakdown
Lt. Samson Swen—the prosecutor who wanted nothing but the defendant to hang
Tolbert Wolo—MU propaganda specialist, on whose testimony the prosecution hung its case
Colonel Jackson Payne—the officer who led the investigation
Judge Martina Yuo was aware of the importance of the case and had a definite understanding of her position in the trial. She entered the courtroom with a triumphant air of judicial honor and settled in her chair. The case was one of interest to the Logan Town community, for the decedent Clinton Dahn until his death, was a man who made huge contributions to the town’s development.
Judge Yuo was noted for her respect for time and by 8:30 a.m. in mid-November, she signaled District Attorney William Jarboh to get on with the case. Prosecutor Lt. Samson Swen lifted himself from his chair and strolled to examine Col. Jackson Payne of the Homicide Department.
“Lt. Payne,” Lt. Swen said, “on the evening of October 15, you were called to the residence of the late Clinton Dahn, what was the occasion?”
“The call came just after 6 p.m. and I was first to arrive at the Logan Town residence of philanthropist Clinton Dahn.
“The house is located on an isolated plot of land near the popular Logan Town Broad Street, and there were a number of people gathered outside.
“When I entered the house, which as unlocked, I found the decedent wedged in a chair. I checked his pulse and there was no life.”
“Did you visit the house alone, Col. Payne?”
“Who was with you, Colonel?”
“Captain Dorothy Sumo and Col. Mohammed Kamara of the Homicide Department were with me.”
“What did you find?”
“Our investigation discovered that the decedent’s last contact was defendant Ephraim Sackor who had visited the house two hours previously.”
“Did you get to know the reason of the defendant’s visit?”
“What was it, Colonel?”
“A Promissory Note containing the amount of US$30,000 was firmly held in the hands of the decedent.”
“What was on the content of the note and do you have it on you?”
“It said defendant Ephraim Sackor would honor the payment of US$30,000 and that the money was loaned towards his interest to win the presidency of the Media Union, whose elections coincided with the week of his murder.
“It said in brief with two signatures, that fingerprint experts at the Department have confirmed to be of the decedent’s, and the second is the defendant’s.
“And yes I have the note.” The officer pulled from his left breast pocket, a carefully wrapped single sheet, and handed it over to Lt. Swen, who smiled and swept his eyes across the courtroom.
The prosecutor said, “This can be accepted as Exhibit A.”
Defendant Ephraim Sackor sat with his chin up and his hands folded across his chest. He seemed to take the revelation with a posture of innocence.
On the other side, away from the packed spectators, was the family of the decedent. Widow Elizabeth Dahn, who occasionally mopped her face with a handkerchief, her eyes bloodshot with tears, and to her immediate left sat three of her six children, along with other family members.
The prosecutor’s deliberate action stirred the courtroom to action and engaged spectators’ interest. On the other hand, Defense Counsel Jason Doe sat thoughtfully at his table and looked directly at the officer in the dock.
His mind was apparently engaged in other things when he heard Prosecutor Lt. Swen say, “What else did you find, Colonel Payne?”
“We found out that the late Clinton Dahn had loaned the money to the defendant and the money was to be paid that very day.
“However, defendant Ephraim Sackor lost the Media Union election, an election that he evidently pumped in much of the money, which angered him to distraction.
“Hence it became clear to the defendant that he had not much money to pay back as promised, and aware of how much money was involved – aware also of the poor health of the decedent – the defendant nevertheless visited the victim and bluntly told him he was unable to repay the money.”
“From your investigations,” Prosecutor Lt. Samson Swen continued, “did it reveal that with the amount involved, and with the victim’s poor health, defendant Ephraim Sackor, somehow was responsible for the death?”
“It was evident from our investigations, which was corroborated by the toxicologist report by Doctor Albert Akorsah of the National Medical Center that the manner in which Defendant Ephraim Sackor delivered the message was so unexpected that it played significantly to affect the decedent.”
The prosecutor allowed that last statement to sink into the minds of the spectators, and it attracted the attention of Judge Yuo, who leaned forward on her table but since the defense remained silence on the approach, she did not pursue her position.
“Colonel Payne,” the prosecutor said, “how did you get to the defendant?” The question was so direct that the officer adjusted his position in the dock before answering, “After our investigations were concluded, the most likely suspect was the man whose name was found written on the promissory note
found in the decedent’s hands.”
“And that name was the defendant Ephraim Sackor, who is presently in this courtroom?”
“Yes,” the officer admitted, directing his eyes to the defendant and in so doing carried along those of the spectators, and he added “so a warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest. Meanwhile the house of the decedent was searched and sealed and the family was advised to relocate till investigations
“How did you get to the defendant, Colonel Payne?”
He said, “It was after a week of the murder, and a week after the elections of the Media Union were held, and a week of unsuccessful attempts to locate the defendant. A visit to his residence on the outskirts of Tweh Farm did not find him and his wife Cecelia Sackor, who was very cooperative, and informed
police that her husband had suffered a breakdown after he lost the elections.”
“Did she help the police to locate her husband?”
Colonel Swen said, “Initially the police did not reveal our intent to Mrs. Sackor for fear that the information could reach him before we got to him.
“Evidently, Mrs. Sackor had found out about the huge money her husband had reportedly borrowed for the Media Elections, and was also aware that her husband was very angry with some of his friends who let him down in the end.
“Therefore, she was convinced of the negative mental reaction that her husband had told her he was going through. But when she later got the information about the police’s search for her husband, she told the police someone had framed her husband.”
“How then did the police get hold of the defendant?”
Colonel Payne turned to the defense table, and said, “It was during the evening, one week after the warrant was issued, when Counselor Jason Doe telephoned District Attorney William Jarboh with information on the whereabouts of the defendant.”
“As far as you are concerned, Colonel Payne,” the prosecutor said, “can you testify to this court that Counselor Doe acted cooperatively with the police?”
“Yes,” Colonel Payne said, “I went along with the DA when Counselor Doe telephoned.”
“Was there any resistance from the defendant?”
“But did Counselor Doe put down some conditions to the police before he broke the news that the defendant, who he had kept away from justice, was with him?”
The officer turned to look at the defense table and nodded, “Well, he requested for unhindered access to his client as one of the conditions, but the likelihood of Counselor Doe denying police access to the defendant with conditions did not come up.”
“Can you surmise that conclusion, knowing how much time and money the DA has spent to look for the defendant?”
Jason Doe had sat through the lengthy examination, refraining from interrupting the prosecutor when he raised issues that demanded his concern. However, he felt compelled to react when he realized the conclusion that the prosecutor was forcing his witness to conclude.
“Objected to as not proper examination, calling for conclusion…” Counselor Doe said, and Judge Martina Yuo shouted from her bench:
“Sustained,” and still not satisfied remarked, “the prosecutor should not insinuate evidence since the Court is with the conviction that the police have done a thorough investigation in the case.”
“Thank you Your Honor,” the prosecutor said, “we are trying to show that being aware of how cunning the defense is noted in handling cases of this nature, it was likely that all the time the defendant was being sought by the police, he was apparently hidden by the defense…”
Judge Yuo removed her glasses, and glared at the prosecutor, “I hope the prosecutor is not forgetting that it was the defense, his witness testified, who called the DA to present the defendant.”
“Very well, Your Honor,” the prosecutor said, “while that is well noted, I have a strong reason to believe that counsel did that as a ploy to throw any suspicion off him.”
“That’s unfair conclusion,” Jason Doe retorted, and lifted his tall frame from the defense table, “the prosecutor should not insinuate that I have aided and abetted a crime.”
The prosecutor lifted his chin, and thumped his nose at Counselor Doe, “What else can I conclude,” he charged.
Judge Yuo would not allow any confrontation in her courtroom.
She said, “I think the prosecutor has rushed to conclude a case that Counselor Doe is yet to cross-examine the witness.
“This Court takes serious exception to the legal shadowboxing that the prosecutor seems to enjoy and will now stipulate that there will be no such insinuation to interrupt the orderly proceedings in this Court.”
“Thank you, Your Honor,” the prosecutor said, and moving away towards his table, countered, “Your witness,” and lifting his finger to Counselor Doe.
Judge Yuo aware of the tension in the courtroom indicated her readiness to act, henceforth. Counselor Doe moved in to initiate his defense but then, stealing a glance at the huge wall-clock directly opposite the judge, forced the judge to follow his lead.
Judge Yuo realized it and said, “The court will resume at 2 p.m.,” and indicated that with her gavel.