Monday, January 26, 2009


Monday 11. 45


“I can spell Ms Loya”

“Sorry, Sir…”

“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.

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