Grimbeld’s judicial branch used a three-tier court system.
The first hearing was reserved for deliberating whether the accused was guilty or not.
The first hearing took place in one of the district courts in each area.
And in the first hearing’s trial, there was only one presiding judge.
By law, there were secretary seats in front of the presiding judge’s, and two clerks of court were to sit there.
The visitor’s gallery was on the opposite side from the judge’s seat. As a general rule, anyone could attend a trial, but in trials with high popularity, only those chosen through lottery could sit in.
And the defense and prosecution opposed one another perfectly between the judge and the public.
Looking from the visitor seats, right was defense, and left was prosecution.
The target of all this setup, the defendant sat on a bench in front of the defense’s seat.
The prosecution asserted the accused’s guilt, while the defense proclaimed their innocence.
That was the schema of Grimbeld’s courts.
No matter what sort of case it was, the defense would assert innocence. Regardless of the disadvantageous standing, protecting the client’s interest was our job.
December 7th. I was the only one in the waiting room on the defense’s side.
The clock hung on the wall informed me the trial would be starting before long.
The time approached minute at a time. I read through the documents, and discerned this was the only way left to get the defendant off with a not guilty.
I heard a knock at the door.
The bailiff of the court came for me.
I loosened my necktie and took a deep breath. And holding the briefcase with all the documents, I left the waiting room.
Leaving the hallway, I opened the door to the courtroom. The courthouse was filled with a peculiar air.
In a majority of criminal cases, an audience wouldn’t gather. For most criminal cases were theft or injury, nothing but small incidents.
But murder was a different story. Many people felt concern at the case, impelling them to gather at the gallery.
And I’m sure this case was a peculiar color when put against other ones.
Watching the noisy, rabbling audience, I took my seat at the defense side. As I was lining up my papers, someone came over to the other side.
It was a man who was still young. With tidy appearance, somewhat awkward where he stood. Probably the prosecutor’s assistant officer.
As he lined up the documents on the prosecution’s side, the scraping sound of high heels followed before long.
And here she comes.
As if the verdict has already been called, with a leisurely smile on her face, Caitlin Schaefer entered the courtroom, and took her seat at the prosecution.
There was a courtroom sketch artist in the front-most seat of the peanut gallery, and he was staring in awe at Cate’s dramatic entry as he eagerly moved his brush.
… She sure is a popular one.
The defense, the prosecution, and the audience seats were filled. The judge entered, with the clerks following behind.
The judge and clerks were wearing black robes of the same make, but in contrast to the clerks’ cotton, the presiding judge’s robe was silk.
A qualitative difference in the small things, I mused as I watched the judge and clerks take their seats.
Taking his seat, the elderly appropriately-white-bearded judge cleared his throat, eventually slamming his gavel.
With his voice, the court’s – especially the visitor’s gallery’s- clamor went still.
“We will now commence the first hearing.”
“The prosecution is ready.”
Caitlin Schaefer stood from her seat, and proclaimed with an imposing stance.
I also stood, and looked at the prosecution. Caitlin’s sharp eyes were piercing through me, but I wasn’t going to lose.
“The defense is ready, m’lud.”
The trial… began.