A Fitting Solatium Ch 10: Judgment For…

“Ummm… subject to the Court’s approval, my learned colleague and I will go for 22nd September,” Anthony Binang said as he took out his pen, ready to note the mentioned date in his diary. After about a month and a half since the beginning of the trial, the last of Sampson’s witnesses had been cross-examined, and the defence had finally come to a close.

Out of the few who came to testify for Sampson, Mrs. Emelia Dadzie, who was one of Sampson’s aunties, was one witness who had, unfortunately made a statement during cross-examination that Mr. Binang was slightly worried about. In spite of the insistence that the necessary rites had been fulfilled, the elderly lady had admitted that the ceremony that had been discussed did not amount to more than an engagement.

This would probably be worrisome to their case. But he decided he would find a way to deal with it through his final address.

The circuit court judge looked at his clerk, who was busily looking through his diary. A few minutes of inspection, and he nodded at His Honour. “It’s a good date, Your Honour.”

His Honour nodded and jotted down in his book. “Adjourned to 22nd September for judgment. Counsels, please ensure your closing addresses are filed in time.”

“Very well. Most grateful, Your Honour,” the two lawyers said, standing and bowing before they called to their clients to follow them.

Adjeley and Sampson, who had the iciest of expressions on their faces as they waited eagerly for the chance to avoid being within thirty centimeters of each other, sprung up from their seats as they quickly followed their lawyers, each one more eager to keep their distance from the other.

The judge shook his head as they exited his office. “This case eh,” he murmured to the clerk, “So charged with emotion, it’s amazing.”

The clerk nodded in agreement. “Very true, Your Honour. The way the parties look at each other in the court room before their case is called alone is something else. Me, I get scared of marriage when I see these things.”

The judge shook his head. “Oh please, Oheneba. It’s not anything scary biaaa. You just need to find the right person and be committed. Most of these cases, the issues can be solved. It takes commitment and the will to make it work. But the young people of today… ah well, let’s return to the court room.”

***

“Well, now that the trial is done, all that’s left for me to do is work on the address. You guys can just get back home and wait for 22nd September,” Maame Ama said to Adjeley and Kirah as they left the court building and headed for the car park.

“Oh, bless the Lord, person can relax themselves now!” Kirah sighed in relief. “Me, I’m convinced that with all we’ve put before the court, the guy has lost already. No way he’s winning.”

Maame Ama sighed. “Yeah, well… you know there’s always the possibility he will seek an appeal, right?”

“Appeal?” Kirah seemed taken aback by this piece of information. “Appeal for what? This one too, he’ll want to appeal?”

Maame Ama shrugged. “That’s how this thing is. You don’t get the ruling you want, you go for appeal. With a case of this nature too, even if it’s clear he’s in the wrong, he’s likely to just seek an appeal just to prolong the issue. That’s how ugly it gets in this litigation world.”

“Ah, but can’t we reject to hear the appeal or something?” Kirah asked.

Maame Ama shook her head. “Nope. That’s the thing about this litigation battle. It’s a lot more draining than you think. Time, money, emotions… these things really get stretched here. Trust me, whoever loses in this case is very likely to lodge an appeal, because everyone is super invested and unwilling to lose. I’m waiting to see how things go, but… gear yourselves up for the possibility of a trip to the Court of Appeal.”

Kirah sighed while Adjeley shook her head. She was aware of all Maame Ama had said, and truthfully, she was unperturbed. As far as she was concerned, she wanted Sampson dealt with, and if a lower court could not get it done, she would go to the higher court. And if he was dissatisfied, he was free to go higher and be proven just how wrong he was. At the end of the day, she just wanted Sampson to pay for those 3 ‘stolen years’ of her life.

***

Later that night, Sampson was in bed with a heavily pregnant Lydia, having made love to her before dozing off. The fight they had had when Adjeley left a few months ago clearly was inefficient in extinguishing the feelings they had for each other; coupled with Lydia’s heightened sex drive, they still had their moments of passion, although they were not as carefree and full of raw lust as before. They had a child on the way, so he chose not to do as he used to back then.

Lydia sat up in the bed, which he used to share with Adjeley, and looked at him as he slept soundly. She shook her head as she remembered how he had informed her of the proceedings. The tone of his voice, the choice of words… all conveyed a pure dislike for the lady who used to be on the same bed with him. This trial had certainly caused one heck of a rift between them.

She didn’t care too much about the outcome of the case, although she obviously wouldn’t make that clear to her baby daddy. What did keep her heart disturbed, however, was the subtle manner in which her relationship with Adjeley went the way of the ancestors.

The shame of being revealed as an audacious snake who was smiling with her delightful neighbour while having illicit sex with her fiancé still haunted her to that day, and as ever, she felt too embarrassed to face Adjeley about it. Whenever the thought came up, she shivered as she thought of the possible reactions. She had never seen her angry before, but with the gravity of the offence, she didn’t expect Adjeley to actually be gentle about it.

That evil look at the court’s car park had done no favours as well. She had felt the smoldering fury from her eyes, and knew any face-to-face encounter would be akin to a meeting between an antelope and a tiger. And there were no surprises for guessing which animal she would be.

Then there was also the sub-issue of facing her sister. With all the stories Adjeley had told her about her younger sibling being quite a hothead who was all too happy to rip apart anyone who hurt the ones she loved, she was terrified at the thought of encountering her. She still considered it divine intervention when Adjeley stopped her from paying her what would have been a fiery visit. She had heard Rachelyn’s harsh words, and knew no tough front would be enough to fight back.

But all that aside, this really wasn’t what she had wanted. After falling for Sampson’s charm, it was nothing but sweet sex she had wanted from this fling. Nothing more than that. She had never anticipated becoming a mother at this point in time. She had not desired becoming more than a bed buddy to the charming and alluring man next door. And she certainly had not expected that she and Adjeley would no longer be friends.

She sighed and crossed her arms as she went over that same old ‘if only’ that constantly ran through her mind, wondering what would have been if she had not made the decision to convince him to discard the condom for that intense session that fateful day.

Hmmm. If I had known, God knows I would’ve just taken my pulverization with the rubber. But nope, I wanted his raw heated energy. Now look at where we’ve ended up. Not every sweet thing you desire is helpful…

In the midst of this, there were still one or two things to be glad about.

Her family was less than pleased with her, surprised and angered that she was engaging in pre-marital sex. The kwaseabuo money had been paid, however, and her parents were patiently waiting for their grandchild’s arrival, so they could take of him or her, making it clear they weren’t going to throw their daughter under the bus for her error.

And of course, Sampson was still around. She still had the hots for him, in spite of everything that had happened, and having him still happily ‘pulverizing’ her remained as sweet as ever. Plus, he seemed really concerned about his child, so that bought her quite some extra care from him.

These were little compensations, however. She had still lost a lot.

Oh well. I just have to live with it. There’s nothing I can do.

As far as she was concerned, aborting the baby was a no-no, and it was too late, in any case. And Adjeley despised her too much for there to ever be a chance they could patch things up.

She had messed up, and she was paying the price. All she could do, was to accept it, and move on.

***

The date: 22nd September.

The venue: Circuit Court.

The time: 9:21 am.

Adjeley sat on the bench, watching as Maame Ama and Mr. Binang approached the bench and informed the clerk of their presence and their desire to have their case called first, since it was held in camera.

The clerk sifted through the files of the cases for the day, looking for their docket. Finding it, he nodded and signalled that he was going to inform the judge of their presence.

Peeling her eyes away from the scene, she peered in the direction where Sampson usually sat.

There was nobody there.

Hmm. Probably too cowardly to come and hear the truth, I’m sure, she thought scornfully to herself as she patted her lap, inhaling and exhaling as she thought of how far this had come. For all she had heard about the justice system, this case had taken a considerably short amount of time. The judge had certainly given the lawyers a lot of strict timelines, and to their credit, they had stuck to them conscientiously.

“Naa Adjeley Anang! Versus, Sampson Owuraku Addai!”

The calling of the names indicated it was time for them to enter the chamber.

***

Adjeley sat back in the couch as the judge and the lawyers went through the usual formalities. She shut her eyes, and prayed silently. God, please don’t let me down. Let justice prevail.

“Yes, Your Honour, my client is currently on a business trip,” Mr. Binang explained.

“Well, at least it’s the judgment, so you can inform him,” the judge responded before taking out his sheet of paper, with the ruling on it.

Adjeley shut her eyes and inhaled deeply.

He began to read.

As he went through the facts of the case and mentioned the issues that had been set down for determination, she felt tensed up, getting weary of the long facts he seemingly droned on and on about. It got boring for her when he started venturing into the purely legal facts. She almost wished she could tell him to just go straight to the point. But of course, she knew better than to try that. And  her boredom didn’t entitle her to cutting short the usual way of doing things, so…

She waited on, forcing herself to listen to the judge.

Then she started to hear the analysis. References to the evidence that had been adduced by both parties, and his assessment of same.

He spoke of the fact that the plaintiff had adduced sufficient evidence to back their allegation that the marriage had not been completed, and that the defence were rather unimpressive in their assertions.

Her heart leaped with joy as she heard this. Oh God, this means we win, right?

The final paragraph of the judge’s ruling was the answer to that.

“Judgment is hereby entered for the plaintiff. The defendant is required to pay GHc13,000 in damages for the breach of promise to marry.”

So the court ruled in Adjeley’s favour! This is not over, though. I don’t think Sampson will take this lightly…

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