“I went extra miles to prove my love for you, i let other girls go for your sake, i steeped on toes of my family members to please you, i disassociated with my friends and disregard shame and mockery just to prove my wholehearted love for you, but today my wages is being killed by hanging, the good Lord will judge us”
The above statements came from one Mr Marcus Gregory of Ikot Usung Ebu of Akwa Ibom State to his heartthrob Mrs Evelyn Gregory before His Lordship, Honourable Justice Justin Etuknwa of High Court of justice in Uyo Capital City.
The defendant was arraigned before the honourable court with a three count charge: inciting suicide, inciting breach of public peace and attempted suicide. On reading those counts to him, he pleaded not guilty. The effort of the defence lawyer on securing his bail was made abortive and he was remanded in prison custody till his sentencing.
During the arraignment, it was disclosed that the culprit induced the nominal complainant (the wife) with his affluence to accept his marriage proposal. It was also disclosed that two other contesting suitors by name Bassey and Dominic showed up, revealing their roles in the well-being and upbringing of then Miss Evelyn Patrick respectively.
Bassey was alleged to have sponsored Evelyn’s tertiary education, starting from her tuition fees to her upkeeps, house rents to her textbooks. While uttering his dismay with disappointment to the culprit before contracting the said subsisting marriage, he requested for refund of a cumulative sum which will tantamount to his expenses.
Being disappointed with the snobbish disposition of the defendant coupled with the cold shoulder he was given, he became destabilised and traumatised because of this double jeopardy, consequently committed suicide a week after the weeding between the defendant and the nominal complainant. On this ground, Marcus was charged for inciting suicide.
Dominic being enraged with the status quo ganged up with his friends alongside with the family and friends of the late Mr Bassey to attack (which disrupted the masses’ peace) Evelyn and the newly wedded husband for the harm they’ve done to humanity and posterity as a result of their callous decisions of giving them deafening ears, allowing no room for negotiations. On this ground, the defendant was charged for inciting breach of public peace.
He was also charged for attempted suicide after his unsuccessful attempt to take his life. In a letter to the wife on the table, he explained that the ordeals the wife put him through for six months of their marriage made life intolerable to him after several threats and attempts to be killed. He wished the beastlike wife the best in life, praying she finds a better husband than him she tried killing. This unsuccessful suicide was reported to the police by the wife.
Challenging the cause of action for being vexatious, frivolous and scandalous by the defence team through the lead counsel, he vehemently opposed that the defendant cannot be tried on the said charge, which led to the amendment of the charge. He was finally tried for attempted suicide.
At the commencement of the trail, the prosecution called five witnesses who testified and tendered overwhelming evidence in support of his case, proving his case beyond reasonable doubt. It was then left for the defence to discredit and contradict the pointed and cogent evidence of the prosecution during cross examination.
The defence opened his case, called his own witnesses on attempt to cast doubt on the mind of the judge, invariably favouring his case. The witnesses after testifying in chief were also cross examined by the prosecution as required by law.
The closing of the case by the defendant paved way for the filling and adoption of final addresses and replies on point of law which took place within the stipulated time and a day was reserved for judgement.
On the judgement day, the judge while reading his judgment pointed that the prosecution established a very strong case with reliable, uncontroversial and uncontested evidence but same was not discredited by the defence. Based on the testimonies of the witnesses and evidence before the court, the defendant was convicted for attempted suicide.
It was indeed a moment of sober reflection in court on the day of sentencing the convict. Before the sentence, the defence counsel stood up to make a plea of allocutus, appealing to the judge to temper justice with mercy. Hear him speak:
“My lord, to err is human and to forgive is my Lord’s. My Lord, if errors were to be counted, who would survive? If my Lord temporal does not imitate my Lord spiritual by not punishing us as his children as our error deserves, who would?”
“Combating emotional trauma is never easy my Lord and we beg my Lord not let him die for the wholehearted love he exhibited and ran amok, not being subjected to double jeopardy for trying to die for unselfish love as Jesus did, may it please your Lordship”. The whole court broke into tears.
The judge with pity in pronouncing the sentence on the convict expressed his inability to help, contending that his hands were tight, opining that justice must be done, seen to have been done, heard and felt to have been done in accordance according with the law.
“The sentence of this court upon you is that you will be hanged by the neck until you be dead and may the Lord have mercy on your soul”, the Judge pronounced. On hearing this, the convict shouted “Lord Jesus, an innocent soul is dying, may my blood hunt Evelyn as long as she lives”
Great fear was in court and no one was able to control his tears or comfort this convict. He was taken back to prison pending the determination of where he will be hanged by the governor. It was indeed a sad Monday in court. My tears were uncontrollable.
Tying to be strong to leave the courtroom, my alarm rang and i woke up realising that it was a dream of a law student.
Disclaimer: All the individual and village names, court location and Judge’s name are fictional. No reference is made to anyone or Institution that may reflect being real in the story.
Edikan Ekanem is a contemporary writer and a columnist. He can be reached at 08130015006 or [email protected] .
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)