Copyright© 2012 Angharad
All Rights Reserved.
All weekend the children, especially the younger girls were like bottles of pop, ready to explode. They wanted to know all about Jacquie and when she was starting and myriad other things. I told them that they would find out when they met her on Monday, although if they cross-examined her like they doing me, she might not come at all and certainly not stay.
“We’re not cross, Mummy,” said Livvie looking bemused.
“I didn’t say you were.”
“You did, Mummy, you said we were cross and examining her.”
“No, I said, cross-examined, which means you ask her difficult questions like they do in court.”
“But we’re not cross,” she insisted.
“It doesn’t mean that sort of cross, it means that a defence barrister asks questions of a prosecution witness, or a prosecutor questions a defence witness. That sort of cross because they are from different sides of the court, hence cross or even across.”
“Why not trans-examined?” stirred Stella smirking as she went past.
“Why not take a running jump, missus?” and received a raspberry in response which made the girls chuckle loudly.
Simon had taken Danny to watch a football match, don’t ask me which one, but I encouraged it as some male bonding for them both. I even encouraged Tom to go with them but he dismissed it, ‘he wis tae auld tae sit aboot in thae cauld.’ I offered to loan him my hot water bottle, but he said something unrepeatable and slunk off to his den with Danny trying not to snigger until the door was closed.
I’d talked it over with Si on the Friday night, the fact that I was sure Jacquie was innocent of the conviction she’d received. He accepted what I said because he always believed me—unless I said I had a headache—and suggested speaking to Jason about it, although his major opinion was to let sleeping dogs lie, unless Jacquie really wanted her life blown open again.
“Look what happened when one of the Bulger killers was rearrested for breach of parole conditions.”
“Si, that was a bit different, those two boys were quite a bit older when they tormented that poor child to death, and whichever one it was, he was guilty of downloading or handling child porn.”
“Okay, that one had some sexual content, what about that girl in the States who killed a kiddie so she could watch it die?”
“I know, but again she was much older, about nineteen if I remember and that was either an act of a sick mind or one of wanton wickedness.”
“Well I’d give short shrift to child killers, yeah short shrift and a long drop.”
“Si, you sound like you come from Texas, they execute murderers regularly there.”
“Yeah, well maybe they’ve got one thing right.”
“I don’t believe I’m hearing this, you’re not usually so fascist about things.”
“Yeah, well maybe I’m feeling harsher towards these types of malefactors since I’ve become a parent myself—and aren’t you speaking with forked tongue, having killed to protect your kids?”
“That was done in the heat of battle and I’m not proud of it, I really did think it was kill or be killed and I still do. You’re talking of judicial murder of a very cold blooded variety.”
“Well they say revenge is a dish best eaten cold.”
“Revenge? That isn’t the point of the legal system.”
“What is then?”
“To protect the citizen and his or her right to go about their daily lives and business without fear of crime.”
“So, hanging the criminals tends to reduce their numbers so thereby reducing the risk somewhat.”
“Like the Nazis did in the nineteen thirties.”
“Why what did they do?”
“Announced they were going to hang the next so many people found guilty of housebreaking, and they did. It had a certain short-term effect.”
“The policy was produced by Heinrich Himmler.”
“Oh, the SS bloke?”
“The same—remember as well, he and his cronies executed gypsies and gays in numbers, virtually crucifying them in things they called ‘singing forests’.
“That is sick,” he said pulling a face.
“I quite agree, but the problem seems to be that as soon as you become more punitive things move even quicker and it’s easy to lose control. So before long things are being driven by the tabloids and most of them are fascist in their outlook.”
“So waadda we do, let ’em go?”
“No, there are ways of punishing them, and the system which does so needs to be cold-blooded and accurate. But it shouldn’t be a matter of reprisal or retribution.”
“Yeah, so we care more for the perpetrators than the victims—thanks to all these do-gooders.”
“No we don’t—a civilised society is measured by the way it deals with its minorities and its prisoners.”
“Currently we’re too soft.”
“Yeah, look at all these cyclists who’ve been killed by bad driving. What happens there—they get fined two Mars Bars and a packet of crisps and they’re free to drive again. They should get locked up if they kill someone.”
He was pushing my buttons and I’m sure he knew it. I’ve had so many close encounters on the bike, that I can’t discuss it rationally, so we eat out somewhere and they leave a door open for me and lock up everything. I know British Cycling thought sentencing was too lenient. I suspect they should stick to things they know, like cycling.
I looked at Cycling Weekly and there was his story of hanging those who ride bikes—um—those who don’t ride bikes? Oh I know, anyone who kills a cyclist with a vehicle should face a custodial sentence.
Um—maybe we should introduce criteria for hate crimes against cyclists like they have for trannies and gays. So does that mean any cyclist killing a tranny or gay could be done for hate crimes. Nah this is getting silly. I kissed him and turned over to sleep—I was pretty tired.
“You could always try bribery and corruption to change public opinion.” He carried on after I’d settled down.
“Simon, I want to sleep.”
“Just a thought,” he chuckled as he gently poked my fleshy buttocks.
“Yeah well here’s one for you, stop poking my arse or I’ll possibly be pleading provocation as my defence.”
“Defence? What defence?”
“The case I prove against you and why I had to murder you or face sleep deprivation.”
“Oh,” he squeaked and left me in peace although by then I was wide awake and plotting murder as I heard him snoring.
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