“… Ah? What was that?”
It looked as if Prosecutor Schaefer’s face had frozen for a moment, but she immediately reverted to her face full of confidence.
“Mr. Lockhart,” the judge sounded his gavel, and addressed me. “I’ve had the chance to read through the diary, and I didn’t feel that anything was particularly off.”
The ones in the courtroom who had read this diary were me, the prosecution, and the judge. As well as Claudia in the defendant seat.
Then what is the meaning of this? When there’s a contradiction so blatantly clear, why hasn’t anybody noticed it? No, that aside, why didn’t Claudia herself point out this fact?
And I remembered… right, Claudia was blindfolded the whole time. So she couldn’t have noticed it.
If that’s the case… I hesitated for a moment.
Could it be the contradiction in this diary was also Cate’s trap?
No, that’s not it. Her face just now… she immediately reverted, but only I could tell. That was her face when she was flustered.
Only when this woman was flustered would her expression disappear. Because that was how panicked she was in her head, and she didn’t have the leisure to show any expression.
Of course, that was the same as when she was in deep thought, so whether she was expressionless because she was thinking, or she was expressionless from shock, you’d have to have known her a long time to notice the slight differences.
Even so, I understood. Right now, she was flustered from an unexpected occurrence.
Setting thoroughly defeating any foe as a motto, Caitlin Schaefer was the one who, not only in school, I could never triumph over in our apprentice days as well.
But just once, I had pressed her to a good point. The expression she showed at the time was exactly the cold expression from before.
The woman called Caitlin Schaefer had a weak point of being terrible with irregularities and accidents that didn’t go by her carefully constructed plans.
So me objecting with this timing was surely an unexpected thing to her… or so it should be.
… But is it really? I didn’t have the confidence to say it definitively.
I shook my head once to dispel my hesitation. And after slamming the desk once with good momentum, I intimidated her.
“Based on the first line, the accused wrote this journal entry on the 5th of December.”
“And what of it? I just explained she is a savant. Even if there weren’t any calendars or clocks in the detention center, she would be able to tell with her internal clock.”
I ignored the prosecutor’s condescending tone. This was her plan to lure me into an emotional slip-up.
… So don’t pay mind to it.
“That isn’t the problem.” I pointed out a certain line at the end of the journal. “The true problem with the diary lies here.”
… ‘Right. It’s true, on that night twenty five days ago, I murdered the demon lord.’
“This passage is the greatest problem in this journal.”
Prosecutor Schaefer’s eyes narrowed, carefully observing the copy in my hands. When she was sure to have a copy of it herself…
It was a short line, so she finished reading it soon enough. “Aaah!”Prosecutor Schaefer suddenly cried out, before muttering, “that can’t be…”
“P-prosecutor Schaefer, what is the meaning of this!” The judge’s eyes opened wide, as he compared the copy in my hands with the original journal.
“Hmm, their contents are the same, but Mr. Lockhart, what is this supposed to mean?”
“It’s simple. The journal was written on December 5th. And she wrote in the entry that she had killed the victim 25 days prior… meaning, she asserts she killed the victim on November 10th.”
“W-what!? What is that supposed to mean!?”
T-this judge… doesn’t remember anything.
I almost fell powerlessly at the spot, but I managed to keep my footing.
“Listen closely. Based on the prosecution’s autopsy report, the estimated time of the victim’s death is November 11th.There is a contradiction with the day outlined in this journal!”
“Hmuh, this is… t-true! It’s just as you say!”
The judge read the journal with a serious look on his face, and let out a voice of admiration.
“The victim died on…” Prosecutor Schaefer was gritting her teeth in vexation, but after giving the desk a single strong bang, she assumed her specialty poker face.
“November 11th, between nine and eleven post meridian. There is no doubt about it. There is no mistake in the results of the autopsy report, and the security camera footage proves it.”
“But that would contradict the defendant’s testimony.”
“In that case, the defendant is lying. Isn’t that all there is to it?”
Prosecutor Schaefer responded as if it were only natural.
“A lie… you say?”
“Right, a lie. If you’re offended by my phrasing, then a mistake, a memory error, a time pulled out of air, codswallop… this testimony isn’t of much value before the other pieces of evidence. In the case where testimony and evidence contradict, isn’t it obvious the evidence takes precedence?”
Sure enough, the prosecutor’s objection was sound. Of course, it was, but… I couldn’t turn back here.
“She didn’t lie.”
I had intended to lightly mutter to myself, but the prosecutor’s sharp ears caught it.
“What did you say?”
Lies are fine, bluffs are fine, for now…
… I’ll object.
“She… the defendant did not lie!”
It was a voice so loud, the gallery that had started making a ruckus was momentarily silenced.
The judge’s eyes were open wide, and Prosecutor Schaefer’s, no Cate’s face was full of shock as well. It was a face I’d never be able to see in our law school days.
Of course, she immediately hid that face, and corrected herself as a professional prosecutor.
And the one most surprised in the courtroom was surely her, Claudia.
Her long, black bangs were covering half of her face, but the remaining half of her expression was enough to tell.
her wide-open blue eyes were fixated on me. Because of the gag, I couldn’t read her mouth, but it looked as if she wanted to say anything.
“She hasn’t told a single lie. There were some misunderstandings, but she’s been honest throughout. This journal details her truth without the slightest of falsehoods.”
Clap. Clap. Clap. I heard the clapping of hands. They were Prosecutor Schaefer’s hands.
“The zeal of a young man, thank you very much. So what of it? As long as you have the cheat sheet called empty ideals, you can say anything, can’t you? Rather than that, if you think your opinion is right, then show some evidence.”
… That’s the rule here, Prosecutor Schaefer added on.