“Well then…” The judge made a conflicted expression as he looked over. First at the prosecution, then at me, and finally confirming the defendant, “It seems everyone’s gathered, it’s about time we restarted the trial.”
“In the previous hearing, there was a problem presented about the video of the defendant attacking the victim. Looking at the contradictions between each piece of footage, the defense raised an objection that perhaps the dates of the videos were actually off…”
Prosecutor Schaefer crossed her arms, continuing on after the judge.
“The security camera footage. Regardless of the snow piled in the footage of the park, there was the problem raised of the roof’s viewing platform having no snow at all.”
“Yes. Thinking back, that was the trigger for the trial’s extension.”
“Good grief, what a bother.”
The judge with his grim expression. And seeing the prosecutor nod along with him, I wanted to retort.
“But as long as we’ve discovered a contradictory point, there is a need to make it clear. Does the prosecutions have any objections?”
The female prosecutor undid her arms, taking a bundle of documents from prosecutorial assistant Eugene.
Flipping through the bundled documents page by page, she answered, “Of course, m’lud. The prosecution has a clear answer in regards to that.”
…! Eh? She can answer?
To think she’d go right into crumbling last trial’s doubt, I felt a little dizzy.
“Why was there snow piled up in the park but not the roof on November 11th? The answer is simple. They shoveled the snow.”
“As I expressed last trial, there was snow falling at Westminster Hotel on November 11th from eight to four. The snow stopped at four, and with the heavy snowfall, the scene wasn’t in a state suitable for anyone to walk.”
“I-I’m sure. Then snow must have built up on the viewing platform after all, right?”
“My. Lawyer,” Prosecutor Schaefer raised her chin, as if she was looking down on me. I’m sure she actually was looking down on me.
“As I just said, they shoveled the snow.”
“B-but the hotel was closed all through November.” I recalled the results of my investigation the other day, and refuted.
“On the day of the incident, there weren’t any employees at the hotel.”
“And that’s just employees, right? It’s not as if there were no people at all.”
“Do you mean the people working in the basement? If you’re talking about them, then…”
I recalled the guard’s words.
“They are habitually late. As the hotel is closed, the manager is off on a different job, and using that to their advantage, the basement staff don’t come to their work stations on time, it seems.”
… Bang! I slammed the desk, leaning forward as I objected.
“On a day without anything, for those who don’t even abide the time, there’s no way they’d specifically come to work early specifically on a snowy day. More than that, let alone late, there was a possibility they wouldn’t come at all!”
… Fufu, the prosecutor laugh. An extremely pleasant laugh.
“Ahahahahaha! Let alone come late, they’d play hookey! Ahahahaha! That’s quite the accusation there! What’s with that, let alone evidence, that’s just plain prejudice!”
On her sudden outburst, the gallery started acting up.
“Hihihihi, kukukuku, yeah, yeah, you’re right. That’s right. It’s just as the defense says! He has not a shred of evidence, but I’ll agree with his objection.”
Her laughter finally contained, Prosecutor Schaefer took a deep breath, and with a cold look, she glared at me.
“The defense’s objection just now wasn’t mistaken, m’lud. As a result of police investigation we discovered, on November 11th, not only the Hotel’s regular staff, the outside workers were absent as well.”
“I see. So all of them were out. Where are you taking this?”
Prosecutor Schaefer spoke with an ill-natured smile.
“Sabotage. That’s all.” The female prosecutor slammed a document down on the table, letting out an overly threatening voice. “On November 11th, there were no workers in the hotel. The staff admitted it, so there’s no doubt about it.”
“Hmm. That’s well, I can’t praise it.”
Meaning my conjecture was right?
… No, wait. If that’s the case, who the heck are you saying shoveled the snow?
“But there was one.”
Prosecutor Schaefer continued disinterestedly.
“On a snowy day. As everyone refused to work, hating troublesome things, only one diligent lad made his way to the hotel, and did his job.”
“That person would be…”
I looked through my memory.
November 11th. All hotel workers were off, and the basement floor staff were on holiday (skipping) as well.
In that case… one, I do have an idea.
But that’s not possible. She should keep her jokes to a minimum.
I felt something cold slowly run up my back.
“On November 11th. The person who wasn’t part of the hotel’s regular staff, and wasn’t a basement worker. It was the only person at the scene. It would have to be… security guard, Hal Anderson.”
“The victim shoveled the snow? But that’s…”
Well if she says that, I guess it throws off my theory, but…
Hal Anderson was attacked not on the 11th, but the 10th. That’s the conclusion I drew from Claudia’s testimony. But if evidence came that the victim shoveled snow on the 11th, that theory would come to an end.
Evidence? Right, evidence.
“What evidence do you have?”
“…” Prosecutor Schaefer kept quiet. Tightly sealing her lips, she looked to be observing me.
“If you’ll say that much, do you have any evidence?”
“I have… no evidence.”
She calmly said it as if it were natural, before continuing on.
“But I have a witness.”
… A witness, you say? Who?
I can’t even guess anymore. At the time, the only one at the hotel should have been a single security guard.
No, perhaps a visitor who came to see the viewing platform? The hotel was free use, so there was plenty of possibility a third party came and witnessed something.
“A person you all know well.”
Prosecutor Schaefer opened the prosecution side door, and continued on.
“Then witness, please enter.”
Someone came out of the door. On that small amount of effort, they gathered the eyes of the people.
The light was on. I could see his face. It was a man’s face. Black, long hair, and a sharp look in his eyes. A nose well in order.
Identical to a face I’d seen in a picture. And one I’d seen on video as well.
Claudia suddenly stood, her shoulders shaking.
“P-prosecutor Schaefer. What is the meaning of this?”
The judge’s voice shook as he said the most logical thing possible.
“There’s no meaning behind it. The one here is Hal Anderson, the eye-witness who saw it all unfold, and my witness!”
“Q-quit screwing around!”
I cried out, pointing my finger.
“Then he should be dead!”
“Yes, he died.”
… But he came back. Prosecutor Schaefer said it quite naturally.