COURT RECONVENED at exactly 2PM. and Judge Trobe called to the prosecution to recall the witness, Sam Monday back to the stand to complete his examination. Sam Monday was recalled and 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 a consoling voice and said, “Your name is Sam Monday?”
“And you testified in court that you are a compulsive gambler?”
The witness smiled and shifted his position, and lowered his head briefly and lifted it to glance at the prosecution’s table as if he needed someone 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.”
The lawyer gave that a brief thought, and repeated the question, “Is it 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 judge lifted his head with a remarkable interest of surprise. “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 method of fishing out information from unsuspected witnesses.”
Judge Trobe went on, “The Court cannot entertain any interruption from the prosecution except what the Court took pain to explain which the prosecution must be clearly aware because of the court it may sound a little confusing if the prosecutor will begin to instruct the court on the matter of fact.”
“Thank Your Honor,” Lt. Bono said, and gave Jason Doe a side glance of his face but evidently the rebuke from the judge could not be overlooked. Jason Doe did not show his annoyance when he heard Judge Trobe say:
“Counsel may continue with your cross-examination.”
Jason Doe said, “Thank you, Your Honor,” and turned swiftly to face the witness.
“You testified that you have been gambling much of your life?”
“Anthony Dawson,” the lawyer said breezily, “was 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 he said ‘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.
He said, “Yes.”
The lawyer said, “Why you hesitated 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 with anything that is missing from the house.”
“Is there any way that anything could be missing at the house?”
“Well 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.
“In your relationship with the defendant, did you at any other time request him to credit you some money?”
“How much was the money you credited from the defendant?”
“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 ago after you received the money?”
“Six months ago.”
“When did he expect you to settle the payment? In other words, when were you supposed 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.
“When 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 at his home?”
“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 so ordered.”
TWENTY MINUTES later, defense lawyer Jason Doe, Anthony Dawson, Janet Lovebird and research specialist, Jack Mawolo sat in the lawyer’s office in an atmosphere of excitement. The afternoon’s warm September weather filled the room. The ceiling fan and two standing fans hummed lightly, and the occasional mournful echoes complemented the echoes with delight. After all, it had been a difficult fight but sanity had prevailed. The lawyer’s brilliant handling of the case would be the talk in the community and he was feeling the effects of having done a wonderful job to get the innocent free. Years of war with its attendant disappointment, because of unnecessary deaths could not be minimized by a sole success in a court room drama. But it would be described as a case that gave justice a fair chance of survival.
Even the metropolitan ever increasing Monrovia weekly newspapers would have a field day. The most emotionally affected ones would describe him in banner headlines as: JASON DOE A HERO OF JUSTICE, and whether he would like it or not, he would enjoy his celebrity status, even if for a couple of days, till the next case would occupy the lawyer’s attention. But now, it was somewhat celebration time and the atmosphere indicated just that.
Wedged in one of the comfortable chairs, Anthony Dawson looked somehow despondent, with worry on his face which was apparently due to his father’s tragic death. It could also mean what he considered to be the attempt by many in the community to continue to insist his involvement and would consider as guilty against the evidence and the new trend of the case. He was apparently shocked, even after the drama and his rescue by one of Monrovia’s best criminal lawyers, which should concern him at the moment. He was impressed with the method the lawyer used to get the witness to commit blunders and made the judge to question his credibility and then the coup de grace of his involvement in the murder.
Janet Lovebird, the confidential secretary of Jason Doe sat behind her computer and as usual settled to continue the day’s closing assignments, since there was still an hour’s left to call it a day. The lawyer observing the change of sadness on Dawson’s face began to move about in his spacious private office.
He stood close to Dawson and inhaled in deeply, his feet planted apart, his hands in his trouser’s pockets.
“Tony,” he said, frowning. “Don’t be overly concern about what has happened for there is justice and make things a little easy.”
Anthony Dawson responded with a smile, and shook his head.
“I’m not really worried about that,” he said, “what I am wondering was how you could unravel the case, for as far as I knew the evidence, though circumstantial was stacked up against me.”
“I did not realize it during the witness’ testimony,” the lawyer said, smiling, “but after the recess and back in the office, a discussion with Lovebird gave me the point that I was missing all along.
“It was evident that the witness had been coached by the prosecutors because there was pressure on them to find the culprit and attempting to ensure that there was a probable cause to bind you, the defendant to trial, they apparently did not realize how cunning the witness was.”
His private secretary Lovebird gave a deep breath and made a giggled sound, and said, “How did you use the information of this witness previous conviction as a trump card?”
The lawyer lifted his head, and said, “When Jack Mawolo secured that information, I initially thought using it could mean a form of a personal attack against him, but when I realized that the prosecutors had ignored that part of him, I knew it was the trump card I needed.
“But I had to play it; since I was not sure Judge Trobe could be wonderful enough to allow me to use a combination of questions and information to my advantage. I did not want the defendant to go on the witness stand. I have made some research on the two prosecution team and I knew that Sgt. Massaquoi was waiting for such an opportunity to spring a surprise.
“Remember that they were trying to establish a probable cause and when I realized Judge Trobe was getting convinced of the claims made against Tony, I knew it was time to burst the case wide open as I had planned.”
Special Researcher Mawolo who had remained quiet, since the group arrived in the lawyer’s office, cleared his throat and set his glass on the table before him.
He said, “How did you play out his whereabouts on the day of the murder to get him so confused, for he was fidgeting with his hands, and the judge could not stand his whimpering.
“I never saw a man so disturbed, after he had made allegations of such circumstantial in nature that ran some kind of truth.”
The lawyer grinned.
“Sam Monday was at the house when the decedent came,” the lawyer said, “he had not anticipated anyone’s arrival since the family is almost out for a night gathering.
“His presence in the house was based on what Tony had confided in him about where money was kept and so when the now decedent arrived, he found himself unable to make a fast break. All he could do now was to confront him and in the process he smashed the decedent’s head with the first object he found.
“Monday panicked over his action and ran, arriving at the Lovers’ Inn where as fate would have it, Tony who had returned home came face to face with the horror of his father’s demise, and being so confused and spent, returned to meet him.”
“He was a pretty smart fellow,” Lovebird remarked, and the gathering agreed. By now it was time to close up and the lawyer turned to look at his wrist watch, and said, “I think it is time for Tony to go home to his family.”
The group agreed.