Warnings: Graphic recounts of homosexual rape and court-room drama. Be warned, my experience with court is limited to random episodes of Law & Order and watching the Mock Trial team in Debate, so it might be a little wonky…
POV: Minamoto Kousei's Attorney, Iwata Inari-san.
Disclaimer: I don't own Digimon or anything related to it. Don't sue me, I think I need the money for therapy.
Account of Abduction
Chapter 9: Day in Court - Pt. 2
"Your honor, what on earth is this?"
There was a part of me that had to smirk at the surprised, almost offended voice that burst from my opponent as the equipment was wheeled in: a laptop, a projection screen, and a RBG projector especially designed to connect with the computer in question. It was far too expensive to buy a whole new set of machines, so we simply borrowed some equipment from the local school district, who was more than supportive.
The judge indicated that I should speak, which I did, with a certain amount of inner pleasure, I must say. "My client is currently suffering from a Selective Mutism disorder brought on by immense mental stress. With this, he will be able to testify without putting strain on his mind."
"Your Honor!" My opponent was livid. "It seems to me that if the witness is unable to speak, he should therefore be unable to testify!"
:The judge was not convinced by the argument, and smirked lightly. "Iwata-san has already gotten the permission of the court. There is a precedence that states the court cannot refuse a witness's right to testify based on their current mental state. The decision stands."
Counsel sat down, scowling. It was a definite victory for us. Because there was only one real witness to the 'events' in question - Kimura-kun - a detrimental part of his case must have been counting on the parents or judge to bar victim's testimony. This way, we would almost certainly have the upper hand with the jury.
It took only a moment for the equipment to be set up, and then the court was called to order again. After a moment of required deliberation, the session officially reopened with the prosecution.
Kimura-kun, after a soft hug from his mother and a gentle squeeze of the hand from his brother, took his place on the stand. There was a light ring as the laptop started up, a bright blue filling the screen of the projector. The court scribe reached over and opened the word processor for him, then settled back as I moved forward.
"Kimura-kun," I started calmly. He knew the basis of what I was going to ask. But I wanted to come in early to keep him calm. After all, he was only a child. "I want to make sure that this arrangement is all right with you before I begin. I'm going to ask you some questions, and all I want you to do is type your answers out on the keyboard. All right?"
Kouichi gave a small nod, and with a few quick taps, the word 'yes' popped up on the screen.
"Good." I brushed hair out of my eyes and adjusted my glasses, making sure not to let the pause go even a second more than it had to. "Kimura-kun, have you ever seen the defendant, Koukon-san, before today?"
Swift fingers. "Yes."
"When was the first time you saw him?"
The thin fingers flew across the keyboard swiftly. I was mildly impressed - the boy must have picked up typing skills from one of his part-time jobs - and the sentence quickly scrawled itself out across the screen:
"Outside the school. He was standing across the street from the school when I came out. He was staring at me."
I lifted an eyebrow. "Staring at you, Kimura-kun? Are you sure?"
"Yes. He never took his eyes off me. I could feel them all the way until I got around the corner."
I rubbed my chin lightly, considering my next question before I spoke again. "Let's skip ahead, Kimura-kun, to the night you disappeared. Can you tell us what happened that day?"
The fingers flew again, pausing and stumbling occasionally. "It was raining. I was walking home from school, and I couldn't see the street lights very well for the rain. A car door opened and wouldn't let me go any further. He was inside, and wanted me to come in, too. I tried to get away, but the driver wouldn't let me go. They made me get into the car, and they wouldn't let me out."
"Driver?" Uh-oh. This could be a problem. "What did the driver look like?"
"Big. Tall." The boy paused a moment and shrugged before he continued. "I couldn't see anything else about him. I never saw him again."
Crap. Probably a hired thug of some sort, but without a good description we would never be able to hunt him down. Who knows, Koukon might have even killed him to keep his dirty little secret, in which case only a body would provide any more evidence.
The only option now was to move on, so I cleared my throat lightly before the next question. "What happened then, Kimura-kun?"
"I don't remember." Damn. "I think he knocked me out. I woke up in a bed."
I tapped my fingers on my arm lightly. "A bed where, Kimura-kun?"
"A dark room. He wouldn't let me out." He hesitated for a moment, closing his eyes as though he didn't want to type out the next sentence, but he did anyway. "I was tied to the bed all the time. He wouldn't even let me move to eat. He force-fed me."
I pushed my glasses up my nose. This was the critical part of the testimony, and it was extremely important that Kouichi be the one to 'speak', not me. His recount would make or break this case, and it had to be completely and totally solid. "Do you remember what happened to you during the three weeks you were not a home?"
He hesitated again. "Yes."
…Which is why I normally do not work with children.
"What happened, Kimura-kun?"
More hesitation, longer, and this time he didn't begin typing at all. I took a deep breath through my nose, willing myself to remain calm despite the frustrations of young clients. "Did he do anything to hurt you, Kimura-kun?"
"Objection!" My opponent leapt to his feet. "Council is leading the witness!"
But Kimura-kun was already typing, and the words that sprung up on the screen were holding the attention of every person in the courtroom:
"It hurt all the time. He tied me up whenever I was alone, using ropes and handcuffs and chains. He ripped my clothes and kissed me all over. I couldn't eat without him there, couldn't move, couldn't bathe or anything. There were costumes, dresses and things, he'd put me in them and make me wear them all the time. If I didn't do what he said, he hit me, with his hands and anything else he could reach. He wouldn't let me go. He laughed when I asked."
There were a few stunned gasps throughout the room, plus one woman in the jury who opening burst into sobs for the 'poor child'. I paused for a while, to let the effect soak in completely. There was little need - the atmosphere was now thicker than soap.
"No more questions."
( - ) ( - ) ( - )
Even for someone with as much experience in court as I have, the sentencing is probably the most nerve-wracking part. At that point, there is nothing left that you can do to effect the outcome of the trail: Either you win, or you loose. There is no in between.
The entire courtroom was silent during the last hour of deliberation. There had been a few short recesses, plus a lunch break for the jury, but soon everyone who really cared about the trial were back in their seats: Kimura-kun and Minamoto-kun beside me, Koukon-san and my opponent on the other side of the court room, all four of them staring straight ahead, as I was, though the boys had their fingers intertwined, Kimura-kun leaning against his brother for both literal and figurative support. Just behind us sat Kimura-san, wearing her only nice suit and looking very battle-weary, with Satome-san, the boys' step-mother, who has Minamoto-san on her cell phone (the company head, that is, Minamoto-san's boss, had insisted that trial or not, he be at a business meeting in Okinawa for the next three days). The rest of the room was waiting with baited breath to find out the end to the story - the biggest real-life drama to have hit Japan in recent years.
It was a total hour of silence before the small door to the right of the bench opened without warning, and the jury - all 12 of them - filed into their seats once more. I heard Kimura-san take a deep breath and hold it until the entire dozen had sat down.
The judge pushed his glasses up his nose. "Has the jury prepared their verdict?"
The foreman stood, holding the page that would seal Koukon's fate. "We are, Your Honor."
"Then will the defendant please rise?"
Koukon stood, a smirk on his face, as did my opponent, who didn't look nearly so confident. The judge nodded to jury box. "Proceed."
The foreman cleared his throat before he did so. "We, the jury of this court, find the defendant…" He paused a moment, as though nervous that would he would say would bring down fire-rain of hell on his head…which might actually be true if he said the wrong thing…before he continued. "Guilty of all charges level against him."
The courtroom let out a collective sigh of relief, followed by the customary light chattering now that the heavy atmosphere had subsided. Tomoko-san collapsed backwards in her chair, letting out her breath with a gasp that sounded like a light sob. Satomi-san reached across to put an arm around her, tears falling down her cheeks as she gleefully reported the results to Kousei-san over and over and over.
Kimura-kun slumped against his brother almost bonelessly, putting his head on the other's shoulder to hide his eyes. Minamoto-kun reached over and hugged his brother, keeping an arm around him and whispering, gently, with a smile on his face. My opponent shook his head and sat down hard as the judge read his client's sentence - life in prison, with no chance of parole until the first fifty years were up. The highest sentence possible for all of his combined crimes. And Koukon…
Koukon was smiling even as he sat down, his smirk never changing, never moving, even as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail.
…Very, very disturbing. Without a doubt.
Minamoto-kun…Kouji…seemed to sense the wrongness of it as well, and to counter he looked up at Koukon with a glare. The grown man turned his head slowly and countered the glower with his own easy, confident stare, straight past the boy to the other in his arms.
For a spilt moment, I got a chill running up my spine. There was something between these three, something they weren't telling me. Something they couldn't tell me.
Something that they couldn't tell anyone…
I snapped out of my daze in an instant, lifting my head. "Yes, Your Honor?"
"Do you have any final statements?"
I considered for a moment. There was a secret about this case, something I didn't know. Something I couldn't know. Something that I…wasn't supposed to know. Maybe no one was.
"No, Your Honor."
The judge…an old friend of mine, a mentor really, someone whom I had looked up to and appreciated my entire life…narrowed his gaze at me before deciding that I would not change my mind. "Very well then."
He turned back to the defendant, his jaw set, and raised his gavel. "Life in prison, parole on hold. This court is adjourned."
And the gavel came down, as it always did, with a
loud bang. I gathered up my things, recieved my thanks from my clients, and returend to life as normal. Just. Like. Always.