Monday 11. 45
“I can spell Ms Loya”
“Counsel, address the court properly”
The air-conditioning is Antarctica-ice but I am sweating profusely. Though, thankfully no one can see through my sweat drenched camisole through the black gown.
Forty-five minutes ago, I was safely ensconced in my cubicle; blissfully reading through legal precedents and journals and half-wondering if I’ll soon be needing thick granny-glasses. I was toddling this thoughtful point on a L. T & Co’s cream legal pad when Ghandi’s face pops from nowhere.
“You’ll be appearing in court today”.
It was really a simply matter- three sentences with zero trouble, I was thinking. And of course, what better time to cut my legal teeth.
Final witness for the plaintiff was involved in a bike accident; both parties think witness is important and would rather adjourn. Courts have recently resumed and legal traffic was minimal. It was perfect period to cut my barrister-teeth. I was giddy with excitement as I picked my robe and wig.
Ghandi had a little mischief in his smile but I take little notice.
Here in the court room, I can tell why.
The judge has a huge scowl on his face- I realise that huge scowls and glasses-assisted sight from a high bench tend to be quite imposing and sweat-inducing. Actually, I can’t tell if it’s a frown or simply disgust at my apparent lack of decorum and composure.
Another round of apologies and we finally get through the introduction. Counsel on the other side suggests a date and I mumble “no, objections, My Lord”.
Ghandi is waiting for me outside. He is finished with his filings at the Court Registrar’s.
“How did it go?”
He is practically clucking. I try to put a straight face but I give up and blurt out my woes, Nollywood style, ending with an “I made a fool of my self”
Ghandi laughs at my drama and tells me some stories about the judge. Apparently, His Lordship has a reputation for extreme impatience or extreme chattiness depending on which side of the bed his wife woke up.
I learn a tip today- reconnaissance: the court or mischievous seniors.