Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pro Bono 10

Chapter 10.

It was a night filled with excitement, Tomas' wife Hannah broke her water
around 5 p.m. and arrived the hospital within 30 minutes' time. The
contractions started and continued for almost 2 hours, then she went into
labor. All the family members were in her room, Hannah's parents, my
parents, Tomas, me and Ben.

Hannah opted for natural birth with the help of a midwife, I was in charge
of the video camera, Tomas was a wreck, in fact, we were all a wreck. It
took another 2 hours of pushing, yelling and screaming, we saw the first
head being born, then the rest of his body, the sound of baby crying, the
cutting of the umblical cord, and within 5 minutes, another head was born,
followed by the rest of his body, more baby crying, more cord cutting.
Both babies with full head of blond hair, and each weighed in at a very
healthy 6 lbs, how she ever managed to carry that much weight for 9 months
was beyond me, and a surprisingly easy delivery for a first timer,
according to the midwife. The first born named Moshe, after Hannah's
father, and his younger brother by a mere 5 minutes named Lionel, after my
father.

The two old men were were so overcome with joy that they were kissing each
other, and, unknowlingly holding hands like a couple, and the actions were
all captured on camera. The neonatologist gave the twins an all clear bill
of health, Hannah, who was totally exhaused, with the twins snuggled close
to her breast, two hungry little mouths latched onto her tits, and Tomas
laid his head on the pillow next to Hannah, watching her nursing the
newborns. The picture brought tears to my eyes, and a twitch of envy as
well.

Not much happening at the Legal Aid, most cases involved minor drug and
alcohol related crimes, it would have been much cheaper for the society to
put in more monies for education and rehabilitation, instead, the public
goaded the government to direct almost all of its resources towards
punishment and incarceration.

Then this urgent case landed on my desk. A young man of 18 years old, Ross
Markey his name, called in the Darlinghust Police Station last night,
confessed to the murder of a local priest. He led the police to the crime
scene, at the nearby St. Joseph Catholic Church, they found the body of a
priest on the pew at the front row, accordingly to the youth, he strangled
the priest with his bare hands. The forensic team confirmed his version,
even the detectives at the scene noted the clear visibility of finger marks
on the deceased's windpipe.

I would have been a clear case of murder or manslaughter, however, during
the subsequent interview with the youth, who refused legal representation,
was only willing to provide his age, name, the victim's identity, Father
David O'Connor, and repeatedly telling the detectives at the interview that
he killed Father O'Connor with his bare hands, and signed the confession.
He refused to elaborate on the circumstances which led up to the killing,
his motives, and even his family background. They ran a check on Ross
Markey, which came up with nothing, not even a driving license. The
identity of the victim, Father O'Connor, age 36, was confirmed by his
mother.

Detective Rogerson, who was in charge of the case, decided to bring in
Legal Aid for help, he told me on the phone that he sensed there must be
more to it, "It is obvious that the kid is suffering from some form of
psychological disorder, James, but our hands are tied, we couldn't just
call in medical help without order from the Magistrate, so, perhaps you
could come in and see if you might be able to extract some information from
him? This kid needs help, at the moment we are putting him under suicide
watch, and he is being kept at the local station". That Rogerson, I found
him to be a rare specimen among the law enforcement professions, from all
the dealings I had with him so far, he displayed a compassion not common
among his fellow policemen. I made arrangment to be there at 2 p.m. today.

The duty officer took me into one of the interview rooms, few minutes later
Rogerson came in, a 40 somthing bloke with expanded waistline, and a strong
hand grip. He ran through the case with me quickly, telling me also he
interviewed some staffs from the parish, nobody seemed to or willing to
tell him anything, except that the victim was very well respected and
loved.

"Detective Rogerson, how much time do I have with this case before you have
to present it to the Magistrate?"

"A week? Unless he wants to apply for bail before then, which I doubt it"

"Ok, lets get started then"

Sitting in front of me, tall frame, maybe 6'1", slim, sensitive face, dark
long hairs, fine features, quite good looking, the appearance of a college
kid, what is the story behind the killing?

"Cigarette? Ross?" I don't smoke, but I always carry a pack with me, good
icebreaker with your client.

"Yes, please" I light the cigarette for him.

"My name is James Menzie, I'm from the Legal Aid to look after your case"

"I don't need a lawyer, I have confessed to the killing, I'm guilty, so,
thanks anyway"

"I believe you have told the truth, but perhaps if you could tell me your
reason behind the killing, maybe we could get you a lighter sentence. The
jail is no place for a young guy like you, rape and bashing is common
inside. Killing another human being is a major crime, but we could ask for
leniency if there are mitigating circumstances"

"I don't want leniency, I killed the only man I ever loved, and I deserve
punishment" Crime of passion!!!

"Were you and Father O'Connor having a sexual relationship?" No answer.
"Ross, I'm not judging you, I myself am having a relationship with another
man for many years"

"Yes"

"You loved him, but did he love you back?"

"He did, until last night, when he told me that he didn't have any time for
me anymore, there are other needy children required his attention. Since
I'd turned 18, I'm old enough to look after myself, and should start living
my life like an adult without him"

"So, he told you to go" Better leave the question about the killing to the
last.

"Yes"

"How long ago the relationship first started?"

"Since I was 10 years old"

"How did you two meet" He clams up again. "Did he help you when you where
in trouble?"

"That was the night when my father left us. Dad and Mom had a big row,
something about another woman, then mom told him to leave, and dad stormed
out of the house. Mom was crying, smashing things, I got really scared, so
I went to Father O'Connor for help"

"How did you come to know him at the first place?"

"Mom is a keen church goer, Father O'Connor often dropped in for a cup of
tea, he was always very nice towards me. Could I go now, I'm getting very
tired, I'm happy to see you tomorrow"

"Sure, Ross, do you need me to pick up anything for you?"

"You think you could go to my home and pick up my iPod for me? and perhaps
a package of cigarette? I have no money though, but I'll pay you back as
soon as possible, the house key is with the desk sergeant" I takes the
address down.

"I have to ask permission of the Custodian Sergeant to let you have the
iPod. Would your mother be home? What should I tell her?"

"She drinks all day long, you wouldn't be able to get any sense into her"

"How's it going? James?" Detective Rogerson asks. I tell him what I knew,
and ask permission to allow Ross to have access to his iPod "if he has
something to occupy his mind, the less chance of him trying to commit
suicide, by the way, have you done any search on Father O'Connor's
residence? I suspect there might be some kind of address book, appointment
book or even diary kept" "It's next on my list, it will be thoroughly
searched today. Could I have Ross Markey's address? you could tag along,
but we will do the search, standard procedure, you know, tomorrow morning
at 9? and by the way, thanks for the help" I avoid shaking his hand this
time.

(To be continued.....)

1 comment:

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