Sometimes I miss the courtroom; the over enthusiastic correction of “ITK” lawyers, the “as the court pleases” chorus following every sentence the Judge utters.
I’m reminded of my first appearance in court alone was hilariuos, my mission was to ask for a date for adjournment. It was a criminal matter and I was appearing before the Chief Judge in Abeokuta.
On the set date, I donned my skirt suit with my shiny black heels, sprayed perfume and wore light make up.
I was looking sharp.
Titilola was definitely going to make her papa and mama proud.
I strolled into the courtroom at 8:30, armed with my wig, gown and client file and sat watching other Lawyers chat idly, and also trying to to blend in. I checked the cause list to be double sure my matter was on the cause list and to see what number I was. Hehe! Their father!
I went back to my seat after ensuring my client was in court. the court was to sit at 9 a.m. At exactly 8:45, panic set in so I took out my diary and glanced through all I had written out, I was sweating profusely even in the air conditioned room.
At 9:02, I heard “Court!”
Everyone rose to their feet and bowed, proceedings commenced but my heart was beating rapidly. I barely listened till I heard the registrar call my matter. This is it, this is it Titi, this is why Mr Edu sent you to school.
The prosecutor was not in court so I stood up to announce my appearance.
“My Lord, Edu S.T for the defendant, Edu is spelt E.D.U.”
Yes, she said.
“Ermm Ma, our appeal is still pending before the Court of Appeal” That was what they told me to say at my Chambers. According to my principal “If they ask you anything, just say ‘the matter is still pending at the court of appeal’.
Judge: How long has this case been in court?
I quickly checked the file.
“Six years, ma”, I kept referring to the Judge as “Ma” instead of “My Lord”. Trust the Lawyers to murmur and correct me each time I made the mistake, which was a lot. One lawyer with his tattered wig barely sitting atop his head looked at me with disgust and said
“You don’t refer to a judge as Ma”
“My Lord” I quickly corrected myself.
“And the defendant has been coming to court for six years”
“Yes Ma” I said. Oh shoot
I was so nervous I repeated it a couple more times. The Judge however did not once complain but trust overzealous Lawyers to interject at every point. A date given and confirmed the date for adjournment amidst the murmur of “As the Court pleases” by fellow lawyers.
I was flooded with relief as I sat a little longer writing nonsense just to appear serious, I eventually stepped out all smiles, I came , I saw, and I had conquered.