“Alright. To cut to the chase, I’d like to hear your opening statements, but prosecutor Schaefer? It seems the defendant has yet to arrive?”
Cate moved her eyes from me to the judge. She spoke with an expression fully loaded with composure.
“My deepest apologies, m’lud. Please give it some time. At present, the accused is being bound so she cannot lash out.”
“Wait a second.”
I spoke without a moment’s delay.
“There’s no way such inhumane treatment should be permitted during a trial. Without doing anything unnecessary, just bring her in at once.”
“We can’t be doing that. While in custody, the accused has attempted escape a total of twelve times. Just the other day, she committed acts of violence against the guards. In the case where there is a fear of escape during the trial, handcuffs and shackles are permitted by the criminal procedure code, Mr. Lawyer.”
“I know that. But when restraints are necessary, it requires the permission of the court. Have you gotten permission?”
“Oh my, oh my. It seems someone’s studied their share of criminal code. But aren’t you a bit insufficient? In the case where the accused has attempted flight and violence during transport to the court, the right to bind them without court order arises. In this case, there’s no issue if it’s ex-post-facto approval.”
Cate, no Prosecutor Schaefer said that, looking at the judge again.
“M’lud. During transport, the accused assaulted a prison guard, and attempted escape. She’s frequently performed similar acts in the past, and more than anything, there was a high urgency, so as an exception, I used my authority to restrain her. Will you give permission?”
In regards to the elder judge likely over fifty, no sixty, the prosecutor in her twenties took on an attitude that demanded a yes.
“Y-yes. If that’s the case, there’s no helping it. Then we shall take a brief recess until she is sufficiently bound…”
“There’s no need to worry about that.”
As Prosecutor Schaefer touched a hand to her hip, she looked to the courtroom’s doors.
“It’s already finished. Bailiff, bring her in.”
Her timing was so perfect it was as if she was waiting for this conversation. In truth, I’m sure she was. The doors opened grandly, showing the scenery outside. As everyone turned in that direction at once, the gallery broke into confusion.
I was the same. Those weren’t something as kind as restraints. Sat into a solid chair of iron, there was the defendant Claudia Rheinland.
And I thought. Was that really Claudia?
It wasn’t unreasonable for me to think it. Partly because her eyes were blindfolded with black cloth. More than half her face was wholly covered up, and you could only barely see a gap for her nose holes.
Her mouth as well. Forced to bite a gag, her mouth was open wide, ample saliva dripping down it.
Both her arms were twisted to her back, fastened in place with black manacles. On top of that, both her feet were fettered, the other end of the chains bound tight to the chair’s legs.
There was hemp rope wrapped around her waist, tied tightly so she couldn’t part her body from the chair.
… There were repeated restraints to make sure she definitely wouldn’t get away, and if I hadn’t seen her in the vising room, I would never have been able to determine who was before my eyes.
Bound to her chair, Claudia was loaded on a pushcart. That was likely how they brought her all the way here.
Two bailiffs, one pushed the cart, while the other supported the defendant’s chair to make sure it didn’t lose balance and fall over.
The rattling sound of the cart’s spinning wheels, and those occasional growl-like voices from the accused. Eventually, the bailiffs came all the way to me, unloading the defendant beside the bench she would normally be sitting in.
Because of those sturdy-looking handcuffs, it looked exceedingly heavy, but perhaps it was actually light, or the bailiff was strong, as it wasn’t any trouble for him to lift the defendant up and set her down. It was over soon enough.
As everyone gulped down their spit watching over it, Prosecutor Schaefer alone spoke as if it were natural.
“Well then M’lud. Let’s start the trial.”
“Heh? Ah, no, but Prosecutor Schaefer. This is…”
I spoke the continuation of his words. “Wait a minute. This is a blatant and major breach of human rights. Take off the defendant’s restraints at once.”
“Oh my, oh my. Do words not work on the good attorney? I’m sure I just explained there was a fear of her running away.”
“Then the handcuffs are enough. There’s no need to go this far!
“Hmm, truly…” the judge agreed. “I uphold the defense’s objection.”
Prosecutor Schaefer gave a disappointed gesture and sighed.
“We did it with everyone here in mind. But so be it. Eugene. Take out the defendant’s gag.”
“It’s fine. Be quick with it.”
At that moment, I definitely witnessed it. As Prosecutor Schaefer tapped her assistant’s shoulder, that narrow smile forming on her face.
… What? What happens when you take out her gag?
And I noticed.
The excessive restraints. These clear human rights violations. The impression of the judge. And the gag.
Would that twisted Cate really let my objection be taken so easily?
No, that’s definitely impossible.
It was all too easy for the ominous feel to come down. The moment the prosecutor assistant called Eugene, The defendant raised a thundering scream through the courtroom.
Unperturbed by the cry that made me want to cover my ears, Prosecutor Schaefer’s expression spoke volumes of how she knew this was going to happen from the start. She sent a signal to Assistant Eugene.
The assistant immediately returned the gag to her mouth.
After letting out a voice you couldn’t call a voice, Claudia went quiet. But the force with which she bit down on the gag had become something considerable, as a twisting, grating sound continued perpetually.
“Does everyone understand? The accused is extremely violent, and there’s no telling what she’ll do. M’lud. This is not a breach of human rights. It is a necessary measure. If we don’t go this far, we won’t be able to keep this dangerous, violent defendant in check.”
She sure says it brazenly. I looked at Prosecutor Schaefer’s troubled-ish expression as I thought. You actress.
Having been shown such a thing, the judge’s impression of the accused was the worst.
This woman hasn’t changed a bit. She really is… my natural enemy.
The judge widened his eyes as he looked at the defendant, eventually opening his mouth.
“T-that’s right. Truly. That does seem to be the case. Very well then. With this case as a special exception, the defense’s objection will be dismissed.”