Jared the Paramedic III ~ Redemption
Copyright © 2018-2019 Snowblind. All Rights Reserved.
Chapter 9: Court
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Jesse had arranged all of his notes on the defence table, and he was ready to cross-examine one of the witnesses. This was a criminal matter, judge alone with no jury. His client had been arrested at a home and charged with assault, as well as breaking-and-entering with the intent to commit assault. When the accused had come to the law office to speak with a lawyer, a junior lawyer had interviewed him first. The junior lawyer had brought Jesse into the interview for his opinion. Jesse was impressed with what he sensed to be a client telling the truth. The client wasn't an angel, but if what he was saying was true, the current charges should be dismissed. He pulled at his white powdered wig, and robe. As this was a Court of Queen's Bench trial before a Superior Court Judge, the lawyers and Judge all had their black robes and traditional white collars on for the proceedings.
The Crown Counsel had finished questioning the homeowner, and they were now looking at Jesse to see if he would be asking any questions. Jesse stood.
Jesse stood, "Thank you, Your Honour. My learned friend has painted a very specific picture of the incident that night in February, based on your testimony Mr. Block. Is there anything you would change about your testimony?"
"Objection your honour," the Crown Attorney called as he rose, but the judge cut him off.
"Sustained, Mr. McCoy please get to the point."
"I will your honour, thank you." He moved from behind the table to stand near the witness box.
"In your testimony at the Preliminary Hearing and just now again you explained the break-in and assault."
"Yes, I did," replied Mr. Block with a smirk.
Jesse smiled back at him as he asked, "You testified that you didn't know who the person was who broke into your home at first, and then he attacked you and you fought."
"Yes, that's what I said."
"Were the lights on or off in the house?"
Mr. Block thought for a moment. "When I go to bed, they are usually off except for a couple of low lights which stay on all the time."
"Were the lights on or off in the house that night?"
"They were off as I said." He paused for a moment and then added, "I think."
"Ok, that's fine Mr. Block. Where are the low-level lights?"
"One is in the kitchen, one in the hallway, and one on the stairway."
"So someone who was used to the low level of light could see things fairly well, and for example not trip on something."
"Do you live alone?"
"Yes, I do."
"When did you realize it was my client who was in your house?"
"The police told me who it was when they arrested him."
"That was the first time you knew it was my client? Not even during the fight in the low lighting?"
"That's what I said."
"Please tell me about the relationship you had with my client prior to this event?"
"I knew him, we had been acquaintances."
"Friends or acquaintances?"
"Are you no longer friends?"
"When did that happen?"
"About a week before he broke into my house."
"Why did you two end the relationship of being friends?"
"I don't recall."
"You're telling the court you can remember absolutely everything which happened that night, but not why you two aren't friends anymore?"
"We had a disagreement."
"So you do remember. A disagreement over what?"
"Something he had got from me and hadn't paid for."
"Something he had got, sorry bought from you and hadn't paid for. How did you come to sell him this item?"
"He came to me and wanted it."
"Did you have it posted on Kijiji, Facebook, or in the newspaper? How did you advertise the item?"
"It was just between us."
"Was it a big item? Small? How about, bigger than a breadbox?"
"No, it was a smaller object."
"Was it heavy? Did you need people to help move it?"
"No, it wasn't that big or heavy."
"You're being very careful not to mention what it was. So, I'll ask you directly, what were you selling him?"
"I refuse to answer that."
"Why would you refuse to answer?"
"I don't want to answer that."
The Crown lawyer was looking over his glasses at the witness and then at Jesse. He stood slowly. "I'm not sure what this line of questioning is expected to contribute to this case."
Jesse looked at the Judge, "It should start pulling together any moment, and goes to the lack of intent which is included within this alleged offence, Your Honour. Would you direct the witness to answer my question please, Your Honour?"
The Judged looked at the witness, who was beginning to look nervous. "The witness will answer the question."
"No judge, I will not because it may incriminate me in something. I have that right under the 5th, right? To remain silent?"
The judge looked down from the bench at the man in the witness box, and then at the Crown Attorney. The Crown Attorney was wide-eyed and obviously caught off guard with this development. The Judge again looked to the witness, "This is Canada and not the USA. There is no 5th amendment. We do have the Canadian Charter of Rights which has different conditions, and the Canada Evidence Act."
The Judge leaned back and thought for a moment. "I will give you the explanation I have given before, to both prosecution and defence witnesses. It is the statement of lawful fact, not the interpretation of an issue. You will answer all questions put to you in this courtroom because you are required to do so by law, or I will site you with contempt of Court and send you to jail. Having said that, any witness who testifies in any proceedings has the right not to have any incriminating evidence so given to be used to incriminate that witness in any other proceedings. The only exception for that rule is for perjury or have given contradictory evidence."
The witness looked confused, the Judge continued. "Mr. McCoy, Mr. Helman, would we be in agreement on the interpretation of the Charter of Rights that this witness is protected from admitting to any crime unless it is perjury or contradictory evidence?"
Both men answered, "Yes your honour."
"Mr. Block, it's not the 5thamendment, but you are protected unless you lie to the court, commit perjury, or contradict yourself. Is that clear?"
"You are under oath in this court to tell the truth. When you tell anything which is an untruth, or a lie, that is perjury. Do you understand, sir?"
"Yes, your Honour. Thank you."
"Now, Mr. McCoy, please ask the question again."
"What were you selling him?"
The Crown Attorney exhaled sharply as he looked at the police constable in the front row of the gallery. The Judge did a double-look at the witness as soon as the admission had been made.
"Do you mean grass like in a lawn?" asked Jesse innocently, trying not to smile.
"No... dope, marijuana, grass, buds."
"Ok, so you sold him some dope. Did you do this often?"
The Crown Attorney was staring at the desk holding his head with both hands.
Jesse went over to his table and picked up a couple long of pieces of paper. "Your Honour, this is the witness's criminal record which was provided during disclosure for this matter." Jesse showed it to the Crown Attorney who nodded, and then he repeated the process with the Judge. He walked to the witness box and held them out to the witness. "I would like you to take a look at this criminal record, is this your criminal record?" Jesse watched as the witness looked it over.
He looked it over for a moment before saying, "Yes."
"You've been selling dope for a while and been caught a few times, too."
"Let me ask you this... could any of these convictions dates for your charges appear on the Criminal Record of my client?"
The witness looked nervous, before answering, "I don't know."
"Let me ask you the question this way, you two were in business together selling dope, weren't you? You have been caught together, and convicted together, haven't you?"
"You two go back a long way, don't you?"
"Yes, to high school together."
"Did you two visit each other socially?"
"Did you two go to each other's home?"
"He has an apartment."
"Did you go to his apartment, and he came to your house?"
"Did that happen lots?"
"Did you ever let yourself into his apartment?"
"How did you do that?"
"He gave me a key to look after his place when he was away, or if I was in town and too drunk to drive home. A place to crash for the night."
"You used it a few times?"
"A couple of times."
"Did you give him a key to your house?"
The witness looked at his feet for a long moment before answering, "Yes."
"Did he ever use it before?"
"After your fight, did you ask for it back?"
"No, I forgot."
"Did you ever tell him to never set foot back in your house again?"
"No, I don't think so."
"You don't think so? That's like saying your sort of pregnant, it is one way or the other."
The Judge caught himself before he chuckled aloud, "Mr. McCoy, please mind the decorum of the court and drop the sarcasm."
Jesse looked at the Judge with his best puppy dog eyes as he said, "I apologise, your Honour." Jesse turned to the witness and restated, "Did you ever tell him to never set foot back in your house again?"
"No, I don't think so."
"So you two have known each other, and been business associates for over 20 years, is that a fair statement?"
"So you had sold my client a bag of dope, and you claim he hadn't paid for it, is that a fair statement?"
"How big of a bag of dope did you sell him. It was smaller than a breadbox you had said."
"Half a pound."
"Half a pound? Approximately 227 grams? Isn't that a lot of dope to smoke for personal use?"
"227 grams would roll in the neighbourhood of 454 thick doobies or just over a 1,000 really thin joints. Isn't that about right?"
The witness looked at Jesse in surprise. "I'm not that good at math, but it sounds about right?"
"What type of bud were you giving him?"
"What, Romulan – grown hydroponically?"
The witness was startled at the knowledge of the lawyer. "Yes."
"So this product had a really high THC count, and it would be described as good shit."
The judge looked down at Jesse, "Language please, Mr. McCoy."
"Apologies your honour, just trying to ensure that Mr. Block and I were on the same page."
"Continue please, Mr. McCoy," said the Judge with a barely contained smirk.
"What was my client going to do with it?"
"So you are his dealer?'
"So this time, you gave him half a pound and he hadn't paid you for it?"
"Yeah, he hadn't paid me for it."
"The night he came to your house, it was about the sale of marijuana, wasn't it?"
"Why was that?"
"He claimed I had shorted him 3 ounces from the half pound."
"So he was coming to talk to you about it, as someone who you had been friends with for over 20 years, and business partners for many years. Is that correct?"
"You could say that."
"But you two visit and talk about this product all the time, why is this different?"
"He was sure I had intentionally shorted him."
"He accused me of intentionally shorting him."
"Let me ask you, did you do it accidentally?"
"It's possible it was an accident."
"So what happened?"
"He came into the house without being invited..."
"Let's look at that again, he came into the house as he usually did, through the door. If it was locked, he had a key given by you to unlock the door. Does that sound right?"
"Yes, pretty much."
"Look, let's cut to the chase. You were both drunk, and stoned, and you had an argument over the missing dope. Does that sound about right?"
"So there was no break in, he was an invited guest with an open invitation as a friend and business associate?"
"Maybe that's the way it happened."
"How about the fight? Who started it?"
"We were both drunk like you said. I really don't remember who started it."
"How did it end?"
"We both passed out on the floor of the kitchen."
"Have you two ever fought like this before?"
"You mean us actually fighting?" asked Mr. Block.
"Yes, punching, slapping, kicking, biting – whatever you do in a fight."
"I didn't bite him ever, and yeah we've fought in the past."
"But you made up? Did you kiss and make up?"
Both the accused and the witness looked perturbed at the question. The witness answered very shortly, "We're not fags."
"It's an expression, Mr. Block, let me rephrase it. Did you two resolve your difference?"
"Yeah, but we never kissed, ever," Jesse smirked.
"So what you're saying is your previous statements to police and the testimony given to this court was not entirely true."
"It seems that way."
"I think I'm done with this witness your honour. Perhaps my learned friend from the Crown Prosecutor's Office has some further questions for the witness."
The Crown lawyer stood and said, "Your honour, I would ask for a recess to speak with the witness."
"Granted, 15 minutes should be enough?"
"Yes, your honour."
The court recessed, and the witness was led into an interview room by a red-faced Crown Attorney.
Fifteen minutes later, the lawyer came back into the Courtroom with the witness. There were now two uniformed policemen with them as well. The Judge entered and court was reconvened.
The Judge looked over at the Crown, "Is there another witness or anything you wish to add to the previous testimony?"
The Crown attorney stood, "Your Honour, the Crown makes application for a Stay of Proceedings on the matter before the Court at this time."
Jesse stood, "Objection your Honour. I believe a more appropriate course of action would be to request a final verdict or a dismissal of the charges. The Crown has the burden of proof to prove the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. This hasn't been done. In fact, at this point, there is no evidence which can be introduced which would be classified as beyond a reasonable doubt. A Stay of Proceedings is an insult to an innocent man."
The Crown moved in front of his desk while speaking to the Judge. "Your Honour, although the accused may not be guilty of these charges he is not an innocent man."
"I take offence to that, your Honour. In my opening, I said my client was not an angel but he was innocent of these charges before the Court. These charges are all that is before the court today, not my client's history at this point and time."
The Crown looked at Jesse, "Will your client be testifying in his own defence today?"
Jesse smiled, "I can't believe you asked me that but no, my client will not be testifying. Maybe I remind you the burden of proof is on the Prosecution and not the defence."
The Judge hit his gavel on the desk. "Gentlemen, this is not law 101."
Both men apologised.
The Judge thought for a moment and finally said, "I'm in agreement with the motion by the Defence. Your main witness is facing a perjury investigation and I believe your case has collapsed. I am going to rule the charges be dismissed."
Court was concluded, and after a brief discussion with his client, Jesse was packing up his papers to head back to the office. A Bailiff approached Jesse.
"Mr. McCoy, Judge Reinhart has asked if wouldn't mind joining him in his chambers for a few minutes."
Jesse was surprised by the request as Judge Reinhart was the most senior superior court judge in the Province and he wasn't known for chit-chat with any lawyers.
"Of course I will Sir, as soon as I finish packing the papers into my briefcase."
"May I help at all?" asked the Bailiff.
"It will just take a moment." Jesse packed the papers into his briefcase quickly and said, "I can sort them out later. I hate to keep His Honour waiting."
"I appreciate that Mr. McCoy," replied the Bailiff. They two men exited the courtroom together through the back and into the private area of the building. Jesse was led down a hallway to a large door. The Bailiff knocked at the big wooden door and the Judge called to them to enter.
As Jesse entered, Judge Reinhart stood and came around his desk with his hand extended. Jesse firmly shook the older man's hand and was pointed to a comfortable set of chairs at the side of the office to sit at. On the low table was a pot of coffee and cups. The judge poured one for Jesse, and them himself a cup of the life-giving fluid.
"Mr. McCoy, may I call you Jesse?" asked Judge Reinhart.
"Of course you may, Your Honour."
"In the Chambers like this, call me Hans please, Jesse."
"Thank you, Hans."
"Now, let's cut to the chase, you want to know what the hell you're doing in my chambers, don't you?"
Jesse smirked, "That thought is crossing my mind."
"Jesse, even before you became a part of this community, you had quite the reputation in the legal profession for your honesty, integrity, and commitment to the principles of equality."
The statement surprised Jesse, but he managed to say, "Thank you, Hans. I try."
"Jesse, I never got the opportunity to personally express my condolences for the loss of your husband. It wasn't until after I had heard you had left on your journey I had realized how badly your life had crashed. I was very relieved to hear you were working again, and that you were working here."
With the senses of a cougar, Jesse quickly determined the judge was being totally honest. Judge Reinhart was known for being a strict, but fair person. He was a very, very private man and not only protected his privacy but he never stepped into anyone else's either. "I appreciate your comments, Hans. Marc was a tremendous loss for me to handle, but one day I started the search for answers on the road. I was led here and led to meeting Zane. Not only Zane but other people who I now call my brothers and a family."
"You're in with a good group, Jesse. I've met Jared a couple of times in the courtroom, but I know his grandfather quite well from sentencing circles. If I may, who is Zane?"
"Zane is the director of the outreach centre, and he's my boyfriend. All of them, and Grandfather Mathew all helped me to deal with the loss of Marc."
"Jesse, have they introduced you to your spirit guide yet?"
Jesse squinted his eyes as he focused on the judge, "Yes, they have and my primary spirit guide is a cougar."
"Wonderful, you have a primary and others?"
"A secondary, but there are many others who may enter assist me with their needed skills and leave when finished. Both Zane and I are cougar and elk as a secondary."
"Both very powerful spirit guides, Jesse."
"I've sensed you since I walked into the courtroom the first time during the preliminary hearing."
"What did you sense?"
"There is only one animal who has the inner and physical strength to survive in the courtroom in the manner you have as a judge; to stand for his convictions and fight for them the way you have done throughout your life. If you're not associated with the wolverine, my senses are definitely fooling me."
"How do you know this?"
Jesse locked eyes with the judge for a long moment, and then looked at the empty spot on the couch next to him. A very large cougar morphed into sight, who promptly laid down and put his big head on Jesse's lap. "He tells me what I need to know about the next world and this one. I am him, he is me and we are one."
The judge smiled, "You are much more powerful than I sensed. I can only visit and speak with my spirit guide through meditation. You represent him well."
"Thank you, Hans."
"Jesse, the reasons I want to speak with you this afternoon is not only to confirm what I was sensing but to extend an offer of becoming a Provincial Court Judge. There are a couple of open positions, and what we do is to invite people to fill the positions for a 6-month term so both the person being considered and we as a department can see if it would work out. Someone with your spirit guides would bring many skills to the bench."
The cat lifted his head off Jesse's lap and meowed at his human. It was a quiet but stretched out meow with a clear message for the young man. Jesse looked into the eyes of his spirit guide, and said, "Yes, I agree."
The cat gently blinked, and turned its head slightly, and gave a couple of short meows followed by what sounded like a cough.
"You are right of course Misipisiw, I was thinking along the same line of thought."
The big cat seemed to smile at Jesse as he put his head back down on his human's lap.
Jesse looked at the Judge, "I assume I have some time to think about and consider this tremendous honour you have given me?"
The judge looked at Jesse and had been amazed at the quick exchange between the cat and the man. "Incredible. You two speak so easily."
"I am very fortunate. I have a strong family of brothers; my spirit guides are both with me and they protect me as I walk the path which lays in front of me. But, Misipisiw and I agree that I need to reflect upon the impact this role would have upon me, and the position which would serve the most good to those who need it."
Hans studied the young man sitting near him. "You are the first person I've ever heard say that after being offered a position as Judge. That makes it very clear to me I've considered the right person."
Jesse looked at his spirit guide, and gently said, "Misipisiw, thank you for support and guidance."
Hans could swear he saw a smile on the cat's face as it replied with a short "yow", and then disappeared.
Jesse took a drink of his coffee before asking, "What are the usual answers you get?"
Hans laughed as he took a drink of his coffee as well. "I've had reactions which included wanting to know about pay, benefits, where they would be positioned, where to get the right robes, do they get an office, how many holidays, how long before becoming a superior court judge."
Jesse chuckled, "I suppose they are all valid questions. To be honest, none of them are important to me. I will get what I get, and it will be enough to provide for what I need."
That caught Hans's attention. "You're not even asking about pay and benefits?"
"If it is the path I am to be walking along, the pay and benefits will be appropriate and what I need."
"Are you telling me you don't want some huge salary?"
"On or off the record, Hans?"
"I have enough money right now that if I wished to live on a private tropical island near Fiji, and never work another day in my life, I could. I live on what I'm paid through the law firm, which I own outright along with Marc's multinational construction company."
"Why are you working?"
"To make a difference. I don't know where or when, but Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977) explained it best in The Star Thrower."
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean for walks along the beach. Early one morning after a storm the night before, he found the beach littered with starfish. This morning, he noticed a young man walking the beach as well, excepts towards him. But, as the young man was walking, he would stop and pick up a stranded starfish, throwing it back into the ocean.
As the old man met the young man, he asked him "What are you doing."
The young man was very pleasant as he answered "The storm washed starfish onto the beach, I'm throwing them back into the water because they can't do it themselves and will die if left on the beach. They need help."
The old man replied, "But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I'm afraid you won't really be able to make much of a difference."
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, "It made a difference to that one!"
"Hans, we are simple people doing the best we can, one person at a time. You don't have to be a judge to make a difference; you just need to try. Any person can make a difference – and single, ordinary people are doing that every day in every town and city of this country."
"You really have been learning from Grandfather Mathew Bear, haven't you?"
Jesse smiled at the older man, "There was a doubt?"
Hans chuckled, "You really are sarcastic, aren't you? I did believe you, totally, even before the cougar came visiting us."
The two men drank coffee and spoke of various potential legal challenges or decisions which had been in the news lately for the next half hour. Jesse knew he was being examined by Hans for such things as critical thinking, analysis, and even word use for his responses. Hans tried to corner Jesse a few times verbally, but each time he was outmanoeuvred by the young man. The older judge's respect for Jesse grew immensely, especially when he realized he was the one who was being toyed with. As Jesse left the office after the meeting, Hans thought to himself, "We better have this one on our team to control the scales of justice rather than wasting his time prosecuting or defending people. I would have hated to have been opposing counsel to Jesse, on either side. He was really holding back in trial, but he was no holds barred in our discussion. I was losing our discussion and didn't even know it." Hans looked at his smartphone and found a couple of messages from his partner. As he left the office, his final thought as he left was, "Damn I hope he accepts."
End of Chapter Nine
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