“THIS ISN’T PERSONAL, IS IT, Mr Mungai?” asked Marwa as they walked along the long corridor to Judge Adan Mohammed’s chambers. The judge had called for a recess and summoned the two lawyers to his chambers to deliberate on the sentence.
“No,” replied Mungai, the prosecutor. “Not in the slightest. One thing that has made me come this far in my career is that I detached emotions, grudges and beef from my prosecution equation and remained with truth and justice as the common denominator. We may have crossed paths with your client’s father, punches and blows thrown—figuratively—but your client is not on my shit list. He is on my criminal list. I wouldn’t want to rid society of your client on a vendetta. With the spate of murders he has committed, robberies he has orchestrated and arsenal found in his house—as though he was preparing for a war—it’s automatic that the court gives him the noose, sheer luck if it’s life. And don’t tell me you don’t know this, counsel?”
Marwa smiled, and, suddenly, his face did not seem as sharp as it was in court a moment ago defending a bank robber, murderer, and rapist.
“I do,” Marwa said. “And don’t tell me you don’t know when a lawyer is performing for the cameras too … even if the media weren’t there. You know how it is with clients. They like to see some drama for their money. That’s the babe of criminal lawyers.”
His smile stayed on the prosecutor until they entered Judge Adan’s chambers.
“You almost went for each other’s throats in there,” Judge Adan said when the two attorneys-at-law were seated opposite him. “Needn’t I tell you how to behave in a courtroom? You know that school-kids drama in my court is a no-no.” The judge paused. “However, you know why I called you here.”
The two lawyers sat silently for a moment, wondering who would be the first to say something.
“Prosecution calls for a death sentence, and not because we want to make an example because of who he is …”
“My client is guilty,” Marwa said, “but that does not mean frying him for all hell takes. I’ve talked with his father. Senator Mutuma Nzilo does not want to see his son go away forever or anything like that, but a short spell in jail might bring back his senses. If he has any left.”
“Are you suggesting a lesser punishment or sentence …?”
“No, no. Not in the least. I have discussed this with Senator Mutuma, and he wants his criminal son, who’s an embarrassment to him and the family, to have a taste of the rule of law.”
“I hear what you are saying, counsellor,” Judge Adan said, “but with the magnitude of your client’s crime life, imprisonment is a sentence too lenient.”
“I understand that,” Marwa said. “Senator Mutuma has already talked with the Attorney General and the President. My client would be granted a presidential pardon after three years, off the record, of course. Senator Mutuma has played a significant role in the just concluded elections. President Mambo owes him a few too.”
“If that’s the case,” the prosecutor said, “prosecution rests its case.”
“Good, you just made this stalemate easier. Counsel here has evidence enough to exonerate his client of the criminal charges, so is prosecution to put the accused on death row. Off the record, you should drop by for dinner sometimes, gentlemen,” the judge said.