FOWC: Mitigate

“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”

Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson.

“Mr Reid, are you ready to make your opening statement?”

Simon Reid took a deep breath and then put his hand to his head to make sure that his wig was on straight, this case was being televised and he was damned if he was going to be filmed looking anything less than completely professional especially as he was up against Marty Jackson. That man was like a Doberman, handsome, sleek and alert and Reid had always felt like a terrier next to him; excitable, snappy but canny in his own way. He would never have Jackson’s style and presence but he could fight with the best of them; he got to his feet.

“I am, thank you your honour. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the details of this case are complex in the extreme but at it’s root we have murder, plain and simple and it’s your job to determine whether the man before you in the dock is guilty. The prosecution will argue that John Durham is personally responsible for the deaths of over 200 men and women”

Reid paused for a moment, his lively blue eyes scanning the faces of the jury. As he had hoped, their look was one of universal shock. All details of this case had been kept away from the press until today and it played to his advantage; they were staring at the man in the dock in disbelief. John Durham was well known to them, with his chiseled good looks and startling green eyes he was the media’s darling and his mellifluous voice could charm even the most hardened journalists.

“Each of these deaths was pre-meditated, which is why this is a charge of murder and not manslaughter, and each and every one has left a grieving family who cannot understand why this man in the dock before you took the actions that he did. These families want justice and it is up to you, ladies and gentlemen, to give it to them. During this trial, you will be shown photos that you will no doubt find highly distressing, broken and ravaged bodies, burned beyond recognition; these are John Durham’s victims”

There was a sharp intake of breath from many in the courtroom that seemed to blow around it like an autumn wind; no-one spoke as the Judge had warned before the trial began that anyone creating a disturbance would be ejected. Reid paused in his rhetoric once again to let his words sink in and looked over at his opponent, Jackson, but he was giving nothing away, his expression unreadable, eyes facing front.

“The defense will try to convince you that one man  could not be responsible for all these murders and that his accomplices should be tried along with him but we will prove that the blood of these men and women has stained this man’s hands alone. It is John Durham who must suffer the consequences of his actions for it was he, and no other, who set this play in motion and he who must answer to the families of his victims”

Durham looked stunned as he listen to these words. He had been under public scrutiny for long enough that he could keep his head high but the tension was showing in the muscles of his jaw and his famous green eyes were dark and strained. His hand picked at a stray thread on his shirt, plucking at it over and over; even this small sign of stress was picked up by the hawk like cameramen who lined the back walls of the courtroom.

Reid gathered his robes beneath him and retook his seat, confident that his opening remarks had had the desired effect; everyone in the room, aside from the Judge and the other lawyers, was in a state of shock, unable to take in the enormity of what had been said.

“Mr Jackson, would you care to address the jury?” The Judge looked to the defense barrister to make his own opening statement.

Marty Jackson was a skilled orator and was known, to his peers, as a dangerous opponent. He never raised his voice and was never seen with a hair out of place but he could tear a witness to shreds in minutes so that they were tripping over their own words and doubting their recollections. However, this was different. This was not a man accused of murder, this was a celebrity accused of multiple murders and there was only one way he could begin if he were going to undo the damage caused by Reid’s opening remarks. He rose and turned to face the jury.

“John Durham is the Prime Minister of Great Britain, he is the man that the over-whelming majority of you voted for” Jackson watched as they shuffled in their seats like children caught in the act of doing something naughty, feeling the seed of guilt by association that he’d strategically planted.

“We are a country at war” he continued “and John Durham….”

“No, Mr Jackson, I’m going to stop you right there” The Judge’s voice rang out clearly across the courtroom

“Your honour, with respect, this is most improper” Jackson was shocked and glanced across at Reid who also had a look of disbelief on his face; a Judge interrupting opening statements was unheard of.

“I realise that Mr Jackson but this country has been in a state of war for almost 50 years now because, historically, a collective, a Government, cannot be held responsible for the death of its soldiers when in combat. However, there is always only one deciding mind, one man or woman who will give the order to fight and, in this case it was John Durham. I’m sorry Mr Jackson but, in this case, there will be no mitigation, your client is to be tried for murder……”

Written in response to the fantastic one word prompt from Fandango, albeit delivered a little late..

Lisa x

Devil’s Advocate…….

Years of  imprisonment, mental and emotional torture carried out on a daily basis before finally murdering a man in cold blood. There is no remorse from any of the perpetrators and they believe that they have every right to do what they have done. Do you think that they deserve the death penalty for their crimes?

A man held in a darkened room

His tormentors ever watchful

Playing games with his fragile mind

They dangle hope before him

Will freedom come before death?

These words repeated over. Days

Weeks, months, never ending

Torture exquisite, intentionally refined

Years in debilitating isolation

Hope and death the only constant

The first is lost, his captors proclaim

Holding him down, the waiting crowd

Leans forwards. Morbid fascination

Sustained and fueled by righteous anger

The terror in his eyes shines bright

But there is no reprieve. We are right

They say and, with that, his light goes out………

Years of  imprisonment, mental and emotional torture carried out on a daily basis before finally murdering a man in cold blood. There is no remorse from any of the perpetrators and they believe that they have every right to do what they have done. Do you think that they deserve the death penalty for their crimes?

What’s described here IS the death penalty. Is it ever deserved?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.

Lisa

x

 

 

 

The Inequality of Law

Can someone please explain how the violent rape of a woman and conning a hedge fund out of money can possibly be on the same page in the sentencing handbook (if there is such a thing)? Does someone, somewhere who has a very important job title look at those two offences and thinks ‘yep that’s fair’? If so, he should be summarily fired and forced to track down his lost marbles! What am I ranting about? Sorry, yes, I should probably explain…..

Can someone please explain how the violent rape of a woman and conning a hedge fund out of money can possibly be on the same page in the sentencing handbook (if there is such a thing)? Does someone, somewhere who has a very important job title look at those two offences and thinks ‘yep that’s fair’? If so, he should be summarily fired and forced to track down his lost marbles! What am I ranting about? Sorry, yes, I should probably explain…..

This tells the story of a guy who was pretty much broke, surviving only on State handouts, but who is a World class liar. He convinced some extremely wealthy people to give him lots of money by telling them that he was a confidante of the rich and famous; he span a tale of life as a super rich philanthropist while living in a council house in Wales. The one question that immediately sprang to my mind was ‘why did no-one check this guy out’???? However wealthy a company, do they seriously just hand over £1 million without doing any kind of background check???? How daft can you get?

This chap is a complete fantasist and a conman who committed a crime, yes, but does he deserve to go to prison for 8 years? The company got most of its money back; really, who was hurt?

On the other hand we have a guy who raped a woman who was on her way home. He attacked her when she was alone, at night. He grabbed her by the hair, threw her on the ground, punched her in the face and then raped her. This memory will stay with her for the rest of her life; she has been violated in the worst way possible. Her physical scars will quickly heal but the emotional ones will be raw and painful for many years to come.

What sentence was handed down to the animal that did this to her? 8 years.

I realise that there is often far more to these cases than is reported in the media but can anyone please explain the logic here? For me, there is none and I am sad that we live in a World where taking cash carries the same penalty as rape.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you

Lisa

x

Let Them Eat….

Well, not cake apparently. Before I start, I should warn you that this post may be a little bit contentious so if you’re not in that kind of mood, give it a miss. Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve seen the report in the news today that the UK supreme court has backed the Christian owners of a bakery who refused to make a cake, for a gay activist, which read ‘Support Gay Marriage’?

Well, not cake apparently. Before I start, I should warn you that this post may be a little bit contentious so if you’re not in that kind of mood, give it a miss. Anyway, I don’t know if you’ve seen the report in the news today that the UK supreme court has backed the Christian owners of a bakery who refused to make a cake, for a gay activist, which read ‘Support Gay Marriage’? What surprises me is not that the Christians won but that the case went on for over 4 years and cost more than £250,000. Did it not occur to either side that either making the cake or placing an order with another bakery would be considerably less stressful and expensive?

Leave me out of thisWhat makes people cling onto their beliefs with such vigour I wonder? Do the Christians really believe that their God will condemn them for baking a cake? Is it that they fear some kind of retribution in this life or in the after life? Apparently the Bible doesn’t really have a massive amount to say about homosexuality other than it’s an abomination, that gays should be put to death and excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. However, in terms of being excluded, they will be keeping company with the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers to name but a few.

These people will all be grouped together under the heading ‘Sinner’ and, according to parts of the Bible, if they don’t sort themselves out and change their ways, lots of nasty things will befall them. However, and here’s the rub, the Bible also says:

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins” and also:

“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it.”

So, whichever way you look at, we’re all damned….quite literally apparently. None of us is without sin so we’re all going to be exterminated. Except, we’re not, well maybe we are, to be honest it depends which bit of the Bible you read, for instance:

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

dalekIf we take this last quote as gospel (pardon the pun) God won’t care if people are gay or not because we all fall under the heading ‘sinner’ and we are all equally loved by Him. I’m not a great one for religion to be honest but I do have to believe that, if there is a God, He’s likely to be the benevolent and tolerant kind rather than the smiting and exterminating kind. Why? Well because if I didn’t believe that I’d think that people might as well worship a dalek (who were also big on extermination) or some other cruel and intolerant being. For me, the whole point of God is to remind people to be nice to each other; it’s a little ironic that His name is so often used as an excuse to do quite the opposite but anyway….

So that’s my opinion of the Christian side of the argument. To sum up, God probably wouldn’t care if you baked a cake with some words on it.

Now, for the Gay activist. Again, cards on the table, I don’t have a massive amount of time for ‘activists’ in any shape or form, not because I don’t believe that we should all be free to live our lives as we see fit, but more because I’m not keen on being force fed the beliefs of others. However, in my mind, as long as what people do doesn’t hurt others, have at it. We all want to love and be loved and what better way is there to live life?

rights Ayn RandWhat I do find slightly troublesome is when acceptance is not asked for but demanded as appears to have happened in this case. The man who ordered the cake has the right to live as he pleases, if he loves another man and is loved in return, who are we to criticise; it has no effect on us so what’s the problem? However, is his lifestyle in any way diminished because a baker refused to bake a cake? Was he told that he could not be gay or that he should be condemned for being so? No. He was merely told that he could not impose his will on others but only by this court; two others told him that he did, in fact, have such a right.

That’s what all this ultimately comes down to: people’s rights. Personally, I can’t help feeling that Jonathan Sacks was on the money when he said:

“True freedom requires the rule of law and justice, and a judicial system in which the rights of some are not secured by the denial of rights to others”

In this case, either the rights of the baker or the rights of the gay man would have to be denied in order to settle the case once and for all; wouldn’t it have been far easier, all round, for the case to be dismissed right at the start?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you….

Lisa x

I Want to be Alan Shore……

Yes, I know he’s a fictional TV character from Boston Legal…and a man… but bear with me on this. He has, in spades, the thing that I’ve always craved and never really been able to muster: self-confidence. Like or hate him, you have to admit that Alan Shore is completely himself and he makes absolutely no apologies for it; how do you get to be like that, can anyone explain it to me?

Yes, I know he’s a fictional TV character from Boston Legal…and a man… but bear with me on this. He has, in spades, the thing that I’ve always craved and never really been able to muster: self-confidence. Like or hate him, you have to admit that Alan Shore is completely himself and he makes absolutely no apologies for it; how do you get to be like that, can anyone explain it to me?

He is totally self-aware and accepts all his flaws; is that it? Is that what gives us self-confidence:

“You’ll recall I once advised you fleeing the practice of law because it’s an ugly occupation which calls opponents participants to do ugly things. I’m very accomplished to the practice of law, Jerry”

This comment acknowledges that he does ugly things sometimes. The words are not an apology by any means but they are, in their own way, humble when you read between the lines. Yes, he says ‘I am very accomplished’ but, in the same breath, admits that he is massively flawed because he is capable of being cruel to others in the course of his work.

He is extremely attractive to the opposite sex, not because of his looks but because he is utterly determined in his pursuit of them. Is that self-confidence? To talk completely openly to someone you’ve never met, to lay yourself on the line risking all kinds of rejection but not fearing it? He is also brutally honest about what he expects from a relationship:

” I demand only one thing in a relationship, Christine, that I remain utterly alone.”

That may sound nonsensical at first glance until you realise that, in most relationships, people are absorbed into a ‘couple’, often losing something of themselves in the spirit of ‘compromise’. Is it self-confidence or arrogance when someone refuses to change to meet the whims or desires of another person?

Alan shore 2Alan is supremely intelligent, is that what gives him his self-assurance? He has the ability to make a witty comeback to any criticism or verbal attack but without getting overly emotional. Is it that he doesn’t fear confrontation because he knows that his verbal dexterity cannot be bested? Is he unemotional because he doesn’t care or because he realises that, when you lose control, you lose the argument?

He admits his fears: he suffers from night terrors and a fear of clowns and, what’s more, he asks for help, from his friends, in over-coming them. Is that self-confidence? To disclose your fears in all their dark glory and acknowledge that you can’t conquer them alone?

Whilst Alan can cut others to the quick with his retorts he is, at the same time, a great humanitarian who sees the injustices in the World and wants to do something about them. Could there be a connection between self-confidence and compassion?

Alan: You know what I miss most about our country, Denny? Not the loss of our civil rights so much as our compassion, our soul, our humanity.
Denny Crane: Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh. Soul, that’s a religious thing. State… church… it’s unconstitutional for the United States to have a soul.
Alan: Apparently. We seem to be becoming a mean people. Learned Hand once said, “Liberty lies in our hearts, and once it dies there, no constitution can save it.”
Denny Crane: Just once, I wish you’d quote a Republican.
Alan Shore: “I want a kinder and gentler nation.”

Finally, the man is a romantic at heart. He has endless affairs and dalliances but admits that he is desperate for love and is open to it, what’s more, he understands it. Does self-confidence stem from our ability to love and allowing ourselves to be loved?

Denny Crane: Do you believe married people can stay in love?
Alan Shore: Oh, I believe they can know even more profound joys be it with children, the depth of the relationship itself can evolve into something they can’t possibly live without. And yet, it’s something that doesn’t quite so resemble love. It’s not the romance of love.
Denny Crane: I never knew you to be such a romantic.
Alan Shore: My problem is I’m too romantic. No woman can possibly live up to the promise of tomorrow that love holds for me.

I don’t really understand where Alan’s self-confidence stems from but I wish I had it so, there you are, I wish I was Alan Shore……..

If you have any thoughts on this I’d really love to hear from you :O)

Lisa

x

Ps, If you’ve never seen Boston Legal and don’t know Alan Shore, here’s a perfect example of his eloquence in court…