It is my first case. I am defending two young men accused of assault. Suddenly their interests diverge. What do I do?by Alex McBride / June 19, 2005 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2005 issue of Prospect Magazine
Billy Kilcooley followed the usher into the provincial courtroom. His loose-fitting suit could not hide his twitchiness. His eyes darted about, trying to take everything in, not because he was unfamiliar with courts but because he was nervous and excited. His body was popping with expectation.
The courtroom is in a dying town with one street and an empty arcade. I’ll call this town, protruding into the
Irish sea, the hunchback of Pembrokeshire.
Billy Kilcooley is the main complainant – I hesitate to use the word “victim” – in a trial of actual bodily harm. His allegation is that while he was walking to a club with his sister and a couple of friends, he was accosted by a group of young men. They taunted and then set about him, kicking him in the face, legs and ribs. One man, Billy claims, stamped on his head.
There are four defendants: Matty, Tam, Maureen and Biff, two of whom are relying on me to keep them out of jail. My colleague, Liam is representing the other two. They all sit in a small, sealed dock. High medieval arrow slits in the glass let the air circulate and give me the chance to whisper conspiratorially to them. One thing is clear: I care more about the outcome than they do. Their liberty is at stake but it is my ego. Whatever happens…