“When testimony and evidence contradict one another, you know which one takes priority, right?”
The prosecutor used a terribly restful tone. She recited it as if she were chewing over each and every word before letting it out of her mouth.
But from the penetrating cold look she sent my way, I couldn’t feel the sensation that I was alive.
… Crap. I slipped up.
No, my thoughts were naïve. Right. Those camera are normally working 24 hours a day. Besides the time of the crime the cameras are constantly taking in the scenery.
“M’lud, it seems the defendant has given us false testimony.”
The prosecution’s attack didn’t stop. She spoke to the judge. “As long as there is suspicion of perjury, the defendant’s testimony doesn’t merit any worth.”
“W-wait a second.”
“No, I won’t wait. This is a place ruled by the law. As long as you remain faithful to the rules, everything is permitted, but if you break them, you shall receive a suitable punishment. The crime of presenting false testimony to the court is a heavy one. Of course it is. This is a problem related to the country’s definition of law.”
The prosecutor brought it to a finish with those words.
The judge made a grim expression.
“If Prosecutor Schaefer’s assertion is true, it truly is a major problem we cannot overlook. The defense shall answer with that in mind. If the defendant has given false testimony, then all you have based on her testimony must be disregarded, and we will see no further need for a trial. But if it isn’t false, the defense has the obligation to prove it.”
… Crap. She really got me. The situation reversed.
Right now, what was supporting Claudia: it was her testimony. It was precisely because of her testimony that we had successfully dragged on the trial so long.
But if she was branded with the sin of perjury, defending her would be hopeless.
I have to somehow clear these charges… but how?
“Mr. Lawyer? You don’t look so well. Your face is pale. Ah, also your hairstyle is weird.”
… Don’t bring my hair into this!
Before I knew it, the prosecution was back to normal, her normal face of leisure returned. Her mouth moved slightly… I got the feeling she was saying, how unfortunate for you.
“I… I haven’t lied. Honestly!”
Claudia leaned over the witness stand, pleading with all her might.
But the judge shook his head. “Unfortunately, this is a court. As long as evidence of perjury comes up, you can only show evidence of your innocence.”
… I know that. But…
Claudia didn’t lie. She didn’t; I’ll believe that. But I don’t have the basis to substantiate it.
… Bang! I couldn’t help but hit my fist against the desk.
Just a little bit more. Just a little, and I was sure to grasp something. With this…
“Hmm.. It seems the defense has nothing to add. Then it’s about time we move to the sentence…”
The judge extended a hand to his gavel. I got the feeling everything was moving in slow motion.
The former of the expressionless Prosecutor Schaefer’s lips rose. As a smile of guaranteed victory rose on her face, she used her sharp eyes to look through me.
Claudia didn’t unhand her sword.
… I guess it was natural. That weapon was the only thing protecting her.
But for some reason, she was looking at me. Without taking her eyes of me, her clouded pupils looked my way as she tried to say something.
… What’s with those eyes. I can’t save you anymore…
The judge’s hand stopped. Right before he could lower his gavel. “What is it, Mr. Lockhart?”
… Don’t I have anything?
… Anything is fine.
“The defendant’s testimony.”
… Please give me something.
“The defendant hasn’t lied about anything.”
… I believe in her.
“And the defense shall prove that.”
… But I can’t prove it.
“Hm, is that so. Then let us ask the defense. The defendant’s testimony is genuine. What is your evidence?”
I looked at Claudia. My memories since I met her in the detention center played back like a revolving lantern.
Each and every still image, I recalled each in sequence.
The riot in the detention center and the testimony in court… no, that’s wrong. There was something before that.
The first time I saw her wasn’t the center. In the boss’s office, I had seen a picture of her there.
It wasn’t right to place the detention center first.
Order… right, it’s order.
I had finally caught onto it… the trick in this case.
“The defendant attacked the victim on the night of the 10th. Not the 11th, the 10th. So naturally, when she left the hotel, it was eight on the morning of the 11th. So there’s no way she’d every be shown between 0:00 and 23:59 on the 12th. The defendant… will be right where she should be, on the footage of the 11th at eight.”
Continuing on, I spoke.
“The defense asserts that the security camera footage… its dating is off. She really did come to the hotel on the 10th. She… hasn’t told a single lie.”