… The rules here, eh?
With those words alone, silence returned to the court. But even so, it wasn’t as if they were just keeping quiet. The people in the gallery were just observing me to see what was about to happen.
It wasn’t the first time I was bathed in this attention.
But as each and every one of them stared with eyes of suspicion and intrigue, I couldn’t help but break into a cold swear.
It I were able to prove it here…
… Let’s just give up on giving up.
I shook my head to clear my doubts. And I returned the confronting prosecutor’s sharp glare head-on.
She was already taking on the same composed, self-confidence loaded expression as usual.
… When she’s really such a coward.
No, that’s not mistaken. She’s a prosecutor. A prosecutor’s job was to defend justice. She was only trying to carry out her duty. What’s more, to the best of her ability.
Despite that, what about me? I…
Had given up form the start. To be honest, I thought it was a painstaking job. Why did I have to defend this murder, or so some part of me had been looking down on it all.
… You fool.
Why did you give up? When did your job become doubting your client? Cate’s enough to handle that role.
In the defendant seat was a girl in chains. Was that girl truly a villain?
Whether she was chained or not didn’t matter. Even if she didn’t have those chains, there’s no way a simple little girl would have the legal prowess to prove her own innocence.
Perhaps she had violated the law. But was she really a bad guy? Was she a murderer? Was she a villain great enough to be executed?
Do I doubt her? When I don’t know anything? Legal terms aside, when she was even dubious on societal common sense, is it alright to one-sidedly oppress her? To form a group to arbitrarily decide she was evil?
That’s wrong, wrong, wrong. Even if everyone in the world decided that a criminal was evil, the defense attorney alone had to continue being their ally.
Even if we were to be betrayed, we can’t become the sort to betray.
“The defense… is prepared to prove it.”
I barely wrung out my voice.
“Heeh, that sounds interesting.”
The prosecution sneered. The judge’s somber face turned even sterner, and the eyes from the gallery only grew stronger.
And the accused, Claudia’s expression was expressing her internal struggle as to whether it was alright for her to laugh or cry.
The sound of a gavel rang through the courtroom. “Very well, then let us hear Mr. Lockhart’s claims.”
There was no turning back.
… I had to prove it here. There was no other means.
I’ll believe in her. In that case, what’s wrong must be the evidence.
But by what we could see in that footage before, I get the feeling there wasn’t anything particularly off.
The prosecution had presented four CDs in total.
The first was from November 11th, and it showed Claudia attacking the victim on the rooftop viewing platform.
The second was from November 11th, it was footage ow the hotel’s elevator.
The third continued on from the second on November 12th, displaying the footage in the elevator from 0:00 in the morning.
And the Fourth. That was also November 11th, a surveillance camera in a first floor passageway caught the park, and the body falling from the sky.
I activated the display installed in the desk. It was something used to check data and footage submitted as evidence, and one of the same make was installed in both the prosecution’s and judge’s tables.
It saved and preserved each piece of evidence submitted during the trial, letting the defense and judge, and prosecution inspect them whenever they wanted. Quite useful in reexamining the evidence while the court was in session.
Based on what I could see in the footage, the accused’s actions on the day of the crime were clear.
First, she boarded the elevator, headed for the viewing platform on the top floor, and hid herself there.
After that, the victim boarded the elevator, heading to the roof to do his security rounds, and there he was assaulted by the defendant.
The defendant cut his back with her sword, and he fell from the platform. The fourth CD showed how the victim fared after his fateful fall.
After cutting the victim, the defendant boarded the elevator again. Pushing the button to the first floor, she slipped away as soon as the elevator doors opened, fleeing from the scene.
Those were the defendant’s actions that the footage revealed. There weren’t any unnatural points, and with this much evidence on them, perhaps it was natural the police arrested her.
But in the case that this evidence was false, and the defendant’s words were true, there had to be a contradiction in this footage.
The defendant definitely did write a journal. She said the murder was 25 days before December 5th, meaning it was November 10th.
At the end of the journal…
… ‘It seems my lawyer is coming tomorrow. I don’t know what sort of person will be coming, but I intend to divulge everything I saw, everything I heard, and everything I did exactly as I know it.’
I truly regret it.
The day I went to visit the defendant was December 6th. Yesterday. If at that time, I had gotten her to divulge everything, perhaps it would have gone differently.
Looking at the prosecutor, I contemplated just how much of a pain that woman was. To get the defendant guilty, she would use any means, truly an unpleasant one.
But from the perspective of the victim and his family, you wouldn’t find a prosecutor as proficient as her.
If that’s how it is, I need only be a proficient defense attorney for the defendant.
Is there no contradiction anywhere?
I stared intently at the footage replaying on the display.
“Hey, Mr. Lawyer. Just when do you plan on offering your rebuttal?”
In regards to my silence, Prosecutor Schaefer cut the hush, and spoke bitterly.
The judge was the same, swinging his gavel once, twice, he looked at me with a face full or anger.
“Defense. If you’re going to object, then be prompt with it. Don’t needlessly waste our time.”
Even so, I remained silent. I did nothing but compare the footage in earnest.
“Defense. Pick up the slack. If you stay silent any further, I must assume you have no objections…”
… There it is.
I spoke without restraint.
“The defense questions the validity of the footage submitted by the prosecution.”
CD1 = Opening Statements (3) (4)
CD2 = Opening Statements (5)
CD3 = Opening Statements (5)
CD4 = Opening Statements (6)
Journal = Prologue