Ezinne was standing in the dock looking bored to her teeth, her case had somehow found itself to the list of high profile cases. Why wouldn’t it be? The media had been more than keen to grapple on the news, they must have had a good laugh, one of the headlines read ‘upcoming star puts out her light, shoots husband’ another read ‘rising actress in murder saga’ well at least that one was fair, she was painted as a hero in that story, her guilt was yet to be proved unlike the ones that had played Judge, Jury and Executioner. The power of the media. There was no name she hadn’t been called, mostly on blogs and by the commentators on those blogs. It was like those who made comments online didn’t realize that there was a human reading at the other end. The covering of the Internet seemed to give people the idea that they were invisible.
The court room was filled with busy bodies and members of the press who wanted to be the first to publish the news. She watched the court registrar lazily read to her a charge of 2 counts offence before asking her for her plea.
“Not guilty” she simply said, not just because it was what her lawyer had told her to say but it was the truth. She looked straight at the Judge when she uttered the words that held all of her life’s balance. The woman behind the elevated desk was definitely the one to decide her fate and she was determined to allow her entrance into her soul.
Her lawyer, a young man representing the SAN Akunna had hired for her jumped to his feet once her plea was taken to ask the court for bail, telling all the lies in the book that she couldn’t fathom where he got them. What the hell! Did he just tell the Court she had chronic asthma that needed constant checking up? Her pupils dilated, and she would have rebuked him for telling such lies but he was trying to save her ass. She needed that bail so badly, especially now that her paintings were being requested by popular demand. This was a business that needed her presence and recently her business was increasingly suffering. She stifled a yawn and would have given her body a much-needed stretch to relieve it of its stiffness, but for the stern look of the Judge, sitting over the courtroom and looking down on her like she was some abomination.
The prosecution in the person of the Attorney General of the state whom she had heard was standing in for the Attorney General of the Federation gave an elaborate opposition, alleging that she was a flight risk, that she had escaped to her village the first time she had done something similar and that she would do so again, he presented the statement which her sister-in-law had written as evidence that she was prone to escape and brought pictures of her husband’s stab wound.
She groaned, why were they using her past to judge her? Her shoulders slumped, the way this case was going she was already seeing herself being locked up for life, If not killed. Redemption oh Lord, was all she prayed.
Her body tensed up when she heard the Judge deny the bail application and fear racked her entire being. Her eyes locked with her daughter’s little eyes, the little girl was seated quietly beside Akunna, fingers interlocked in themselves, fidgeting. Ezinne’s heart went out to her and closed her eyes one moment. Father where are you? I didn’t do this, please don’t punish me for stabbing him, you know I didn’t mean to.
Her conscience nudged. No you always wanted to stab him, opportunity only presented itself that day.
Father please forgive me in the name of your Son but don’t render my child motherless, no one can love her the way I do and no one can care for her like I do. Remember how you gave her to me and how I have suffered pain since her birth. I have not blamed her or you for all these years. She prayed deeply, the weight of loss cutting more deeply into her.
The Judge’s voice jolted her out of her reverie, “Mrs. Ezinne, can you please step down” her tone did not sound anything like she was making a request. Ezinne stood there looking sheepishly she sure had been ordered to leave the dock but why?
She stared at the Judge, confusion tearing through her brain. She didn’t fail to notice the omission of her husband’s surname in addressing her. The woman seemed angry with her. Her eyes combed the courtroom before she realized that the next case had been called and she was being dismissed. Yes dismissed, hadn’t that been her life these past four years? Her husband had dismissed her, so had her family.
She carefully came down from the dock, which had already been occupied by six other accused persons.
She walked back towards gallery and heard the court registrar read their charge, they had been charged with amongst other things, conspiracy to defraud three people as well as obtaining by false pretence. She breathed in deeply; their offense wasn’t as weighty as hers. She was facing a death sentence. One of the prison warders beckoned on her before she could get to where her daughter was and she was escorted out. Behind her she heard her daughter calling, tears blinded her.