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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2016-09-24 10:07 pm

Chapter 4: Testimony begins (English terminology)

The murder is front page news on every newspaper.
After all, the suspect is none other than the explosively popular idol, Melody Cutter.
The victim Mr. Ukulfaskul isn't nearly as well known, but he has a certain subset of fans who consider him a handsome artist.
On top of that, the incident took place backstage at a busy shopping mall... it's the ultimate sensationalist headline.
“Good luck, Daddy! I believe in you!”
Trucy may be cheering for me, but to be honest, I have no idea how today's trial is going to turn out.
After all, the prosecution has Mr. Knight and Mr. Lewis as witnesses, while the defence has nothing of any worth up its sleeve. Not even the defendant seems to trust in me.
... No, I can't give in this early. I'm used to having the odds against me. As long as I pursue the truth, I'm sure I'll have a breakthrough!

[June 20, 10:00 AM: District Court – Courtroom No. 4]

The courtroom doors opened at the appointed time.
I had Apollo as my assistant, taking on the role of co-counsel. Athena and Trucy were in the gallery.
The courtroom is laid out with the judge sitting at the top in the center, between the defence and prosecution. As the defence, I represent the defendant– That's the person accused of the crime. On the other side, the prosecution aims to prove the defendant guilty.
In a trial, the defence and prosecution must pit their claims against each other in order to bring the truth to light. The one who hands down the final verdict is the judge.
The prosecutor I'm facing today is–
As I expected.
Prosecutor Blackquill...
The judge raises his gavel, then slams it down. The familiar sound breaks the silence of the courtroom.

“Court is now in session for the trial of Melody Cutter.”
The judge solemnly declared before looking at me.
“The defence is ready, Your Honor.”
I said as per the usual process.
The judge looked to the prosecution and spoke timidly.
“Ah, Prosecutor Blackquill... I suppose we'll be... skipping the opening statement?”
... Oh brother. Seems the judge is getting used to Prosecutor Blackquill's ways.
Prosecutor Blackquill flashed his usual creepy smile at the judge...

My opponent today, Prosecutor Blackquill, has had somewhat of a unique career.
That is to say, until quite recently he was convicted on death row.
He was charged with murder. On top of that, he still appeared in court several times in the role of 'prosecutor' while still serving his sentence.
A convict acting as a prosecutor. The first, and probably the last, to do so.
Using everything in their arsenal to declare a defendant guilty is normal protocol for a prosecutor, but–
This man is known as the 'Twisted Samurai', a symbol of 'The Dark Age of the Law'.
It was just a few months ago that his guilt was cleared.
The truth of the crime he was accused of was brought to light, and he was declared completely innocent. He's no longer a convict, a completely free man and prosecutor... However.
His dangerous glare still reflects his days as a prisoner.
The only real difference is the absence of the handcuffs that shackled him.
“Hold on. I didn't say we were skipping it.”
The judge's eyes widened as Prosecutor Blackquill spoke.
“What...? You're giving an opening statement? Like a normal prosecutor?”
“Normal... huh. I don't mind following standard procedure once in a while.”
“I see! Thank you, Prosecutor Blackquill. If you would, please.”
The judge had a large smile on his face. Apollo's shoulders slumped.
“The judge seems to be really pleased... by something as ordinary as having an opening statement.”
“He's a tricky one...”
This was going against Prosecutor Blackquill's usual modus operandi.
He always discarded the usual opening statement (a summary of the incident) considering it 'pointless' and selfishly had the judge do it for him. The kindly judge would go along with Prosecutor Blackquill and let his audaciousness slide.
That same Prosecutor Blackquill, at least for today, seemed willing to perform a standard trial. Whether it's a mere whim, the joy of being a free man or simply taking his job as a prosecutor seriously, I couldn't say...
I won't question it though. If I say anything out of line... that thing on Prosecutor Blackquill's shoulder will attack me.
“The incident occurred on June 18th. There were three people performing on the outdoor stage at the shopping mall 'Pegasus Town'. There was magical girl, fruit cutting girl and finally comedian guy. Fruit cutter used a knife prepared for her performance and stabbed the comedian... That's everything.”
... I'd hardly call that vague thing an opening statement!
But the judge nodded as he spoke.
“That has given us an outline of events. Now, if we could call the defendant to the stand.”
... Eh? You're actually okay with that opening statement... Are you feeling okay, Your Honor...?
The courtroom doors opened, and Ms. Cutter was escorted in by a bailiff. She looked far worse and paler than she had just yesterday.
“Defendant, your name and occupation.”
Ms. Cutter answered the judge's request with a trembling voice.
“... Melody Cutter... My occupation... I'm a singer.”
“The popular fruit cutting idol. I've heard of you.”
The judge gave a serious nod.
“I've been practising how to make rabbits from apples for my grandchild. They haven't turned out well though.”
“Apple rabbits are actually quite simple... It's much easier if you use the base of the blade...”
“Ooh.” The judge admired the advice given by Ms. Cutter.
“That's good advice. The base of the blade, I see...”
The casual dialogue between defendant and judge was interrupted by Prosecutor Blackquill.
“However, our defendant wasn't able to do her famed fruit cutting on the day of the incident. In fact, I hear she was barely even able to sing properly.”
“... My knife was stolen. Not just my knife, but my stage jacket too. I was thrown off by that...”
“You left your knife at the crime scene. Stabbed right within the victim's heart.”
In the face of Prosecutor Blackquill's sharp stare, Ms. Cutter swallowed her breath.
“The only fingerprints left on the knife were the defendant's... There's no-one else other than the fruit cutting girl who could've done it.”
I immediately shouted. This claim was mere supposition.
“The defendant had her knife stolen. The real murderer was obviously cautious not to leave their own prints. Fingerprints alone aren't decisive evidence!”
Prosecutor Blackquill roared sharply.
Ugh... Even if he's not a convict, he's still just as intimidating.
“The defendant said herself. Not only the knife, but a jacket was also stolen.”
“Th... That's right, so...?”
“Only the knife was at the crime scene. There was no sign of the garment.”
Prosecutor Blackquill had a large grin.
“If this real murderer of yours exists, why did they steal her jacket? If they didn't leave it at the crime scene, there was no real point in doing so.”
... Good point. Not even I can explain the theft of the jacket.
If they intended to frame Ms. Cutter, there was no point taking it unless they left it somewhere in plain sight. Oddly enough, the jacket is missing even now...
“The defendant was wearing the jacket when she stabbed the victim. As a result, it was covered in blood splatter. She disposed of the garment after it was stained red... I believe this reasoning holds up?”
“I never did that...!”
Ms. Cutter shouted, but her words were all but meaningless. The defendant's word alone isn't going to hold any sway.
Finding contradictions on the defendant's behalf, that is the job of an attorney– Such as myself.
“How did she dispose of the garment? Ms. Cutter never left the staff area. There was no way for her to dispose of the bloodstained jacket!”
“Oh, but there was.”
Looking at Prosecutor Blackquill's expression, it was clear I'd fallen into his trap.
He already had something to refute my argument.
“As soon as maintenance on the elevator ended, a cleaning lady got on the elevator on the first floor. A pair of company employees who got on at the second floor testified to that effect.”
That cleaning lady, huh... The contractor who told me the wrong floor. Which means the employees who testified were probably the ones after the lost pass case.
“I know. I was in the elevator too.”
“In that case, you must have noticed. What was the cleaner holding?”
“... A bucket. A large bucket.”
“The defendant gave the garment to a cleaner who happened to be passing in the hallway. Of course, it was in a garbage bag to hide the splattered blood. I'd like to dispose of this garbage... she told the cleaner, and the jacket was tossed into the bucket without ever being questioned, it was disposed of without ever being looked into. By now, it's probably been burned without a trace in an incinerator.”
“No... No way...!”
I desperately tried to recall the details of that cleaning lady.
She was carrying a large green bucket in her hands. I recall thinking it looked heavy. The top of the bucket was covered in a cloth, so I couldn't tell what was inside...
... N-no. I can't pull back here.
If Ms. Cutter were the culprit, would she really give her bloodstained jacket to some cleaner she'd never met? Even if it were in a bag, had the cleaner bothered to check inside she would've found the bloodstained jacket. I doubt the culprit would take a risk like that.
The judge nodded, seeming to accept Prosecutor Blackquill's argument. I shouted out.
Objection! Has the cleaner clearly testified to receiving anything from Ms. Cutter?”
“... Heh. We are currently searching for the cleaner.”
“Then the prosecution's claim is nothing but supposition!”
“Don't get ahead of yourself. Wright-dono. I have a decisive witness against the defendant.”
... Oh yeah. The prosecution has prepared an even better witness than the cleaner...
The judge nodded with relief.
“A witness? Let's hear their testimony then.”

Ms. Cutter left the witness stand and went to the defendant's seat, and in her place the first witness took the stand.
“The name is Fabio Lewis. My occupation is being a fabulously charismatic fashion adviser!”
... The clothing store employee, huh.
Mr. Lewis adjusted the scarf around his neck as he began testifying.
“I had to use the restroom, so I went through the back door of the shop into the hallway. That was when I saw Ms. Cutter leaving the waiting room. She then snuck into the waiting room next door. I was truly surprised to later hear that a murder took place in that room!”

... The same damning testimony I heard part of yesterday.
I calmed myself before beginning the cross examination.
“About what time was this?”
“... Oh, it's you.”
Mr. Lewis looked at me with a surprised expression.
“I thought you were a reporter? So you're an attorney... Oh my. I had no idea.”
“My occupation isn't what we're here to question. What time was it you saw Ms. Cutter?”
“Oh, that's simple. Our store manager is really strict, we have to tell her whenever we go to the restroom. The boss has a notebook where she notes down the exact amount of time we spend in there.”
... Sounds like a harsh mistress.
“The precise time I entered the hallway was 1:08 PM. By the time I'd finished my business and returned to the shop, it was 1:23 PM. And don't ask what I was doing during those fifteen minutes! It was my precious private time!”
... I don't even want to know.
“While I was heading down the hallway to the bathroom, I saw Ms. Cutter. It must have been around 1:08 or 1:09 PM.”
That would be three, maybe four, minutes after the opening talk finished.
Something about that bugged me.
“At that time, Ms. Cutter's manager, Mr. Porter should have been in the room with her...”
“Her manager had been sent from the room.”
Prosecutor Blackquill answered.
“... Sent from the room?”
“The defendant had asked him to buy her a drink. After the defendant had her manager leave the room, she went and committed the crime.”
“Eh... Eeeeeh...!?”
Nobody informed me of that...
I looked over at Ms. Cutter in the defendant's seat. Ms. Cutter was looking down refusing to look anyone in the eye.
Dammit... Ms. Cutter is keeping too many things hidden. It seems that Prosecutor Blackquill has taken the advantage.
“Tell us the truth, Ms. Cutter. Did you purposefully send away your manager?”
“... I did ask for a drink, but... it's not like I had any ulterior motives. I was just thirsty. It's perfectly normal...”
“Do you acknowledge going into Mr. Ukulfaskul's waiting room?”
“... Yes. But I had a reason for that. Mr. Ukulfaskul had asked to see me.”
“He did? Was there any relation between you and Mr. Ukulfaskul?”
“None. We'd never met before. But he wanted to speak to me... I went to see him, but it was all pointless. He just asked me for my contact information or if I wanted to have dinner with him and stuff.”
I see. So Mr. Ukulfaskul was just trying to make a pass on Ms. Cutter. A likely situation.
I turned back to the judge.
“The defendant entered the victim's room on his request. There's nothing suspicious about that.”
Hold it.
Prosecutor Blackquill immediately shouted in objection. I put myself on guard.
“Nothing suspicious about that? Are your ears only for decoration, Wright-dono?”
“... Eh?”
“It's nothing but suspicious. The time the defendant went into his waiting room was 1:08 PM. Where was the victim at that time?”
“Eh... Ah!”
I realised what he was getting at, my face went pale.
That's the time Mr. Ukulfaskul was on stage! There's a contradiction in Ms. Cutter's testimony that she was called to waiting room B by Mr. Ukulfaskul!
Ms. Cutter... why all the lies...?
The answer eludes me. If she really didn't kill him, then what is she hiding?
Ms. Cutter mumbled with her face hidden.
“He told me he wanted to talk before we had the opening talk. He asked me to come to his waiting room later... I went to waiting room B a little early. That's all.”
“Going there early, you sent your manager away and waited for the victim in an empty waiting room. For what reason? So you could ambush the victim upon his return to the waiting room.”
I shouted. At this rate, Ms. Cutter will be crushed by Prosecutor Blackquill's intimidation.
“The prosecution is badgering the defendant with his supposition! I demand he stop speaking as though his assumptions are facts!”

“Objection sustained. Prosecutor Blackquill, please refrain from phrasing your arguments this way.”
The judge spoke.
... What a relief. This judge may be a bit lax, but you can count on him for the important things.
But I can't relax now. The battle is just beginning.
I asked Mr. Lewis a new question.
“When you saw her, was Ms. Cutter holding anything?”
“If she's the culprit, then she must have had the murder weapon. Was Ms. Cutter holding the knife?”
“She didn't have anything so terrifying!”
Mr. Lewis shuddered.
Yes! I've gotten an important bit of testimony!
“That is a clear contradiction. If Ms. Cutter was the culprit, then she would have to have had the knife...!”
“I never saw a knife, but come to think of it, there was something else she had.”
Mr. Lewis cut me off mid sentence.
“... Eh? Something else...?”
“An envelope. Ms. Cutter was holding an envelope.”
“An... envelope...? What kind...?”
“Just a normal envelope. Long and thin, it was probably about 20 centimetres wide.”
A regular sized envelope... Why on earth would she have had such a thing?
I looked to Ms. Cutter, but she just hid her face as usual.
It intrigues me... But, the envelope doesn't seem to hold any relevance to the case. I spoke.
“It would be impossible to fit such a large knife in an envelope that size. Therefore, it's clear that Ms. Cutter was not in possession of the murder weapon!”
“There's plenty of ways to hide a knife.”
Prosecutor Blackquill immediately refuted.
“The defendant was wearing a jacket. The knife could have been concealed inside there.”
I looked at Ms. Cutter. She finally met my gaze and shook her head slightly.
Taking strength from that gesture, I spoke up.
“The defendant was not wearing her jacket. She was only wearing a simple sleeveless one piece dress. There was nowhere to hide a large knife!”
“But she was wearing it?”
Mr. Lewis spoke with a blank expression.
My jaw dropped.
“... Huh!?”
“She was wearing her jacket. That cute jacket with all the fruit on it? When she snuck out of the waiting room, Ms. Cutter was definitely wearing it.”
... Hold. Hold on a moment there.
I looked to Ms. Cutter. She spoke looking as if she was about to start crying.
“That's a lie. I wasn't wearing it. It was warm, so I left my jacket hanging on the back of a chair... Before I'd even noticed, it was gone. I wasn't wearing it at the time I moved between rooms.”
Mr. Lewis's eyes widened as he began rambling.
“Well, I never! You're calling me a liar? What a nasty little idol you are. I've never told a single lie in my lifetime, I'm pure as the driven snow!”
... I have a feeling that that's a pretty obvious lie...
But it's hard to refute. The only ones able to testify as to whether Ms. Cutter was wearing her jacket or not... are Mr. Lewis and Ms. Cutter herself.
That's when it happened.
Apollo whispered from next to me.
“Something is off with the witness' behaviour.”

“He's blinking more now. I think he may be lying...”
Apollo put a finger on the bracelet he wore on one of his arms.
–You see, Apollo has a special talent that comes in handy in the courtroom.
He can see through the 'lies' a witness tells. It's not something I fully understand... But when a witness is lying, his bracelet reacts to it.
“My bracelet is reacting. There's something fishy in his testimony...!”
Apollo focused his concentration into his bracelet.
“–! –!”
He struck with a fierce screech.
The hawk sitting on Prosecutor Blackquill's shoulder. He attacked Apollo with his sharp beak and talons!
Apollo screamed, crouching down covering his head.
The judge shouted flustered.
“St-stop this! Prosecutor Blackquill! Calm your bird down–!”
“–Heh. Taka, come back. You've done your job for now.”
Prosecutor Blackquill whistled through his fingers and the hawk returned to his shoulder.
The prosecutor looked like a different person as he as he gently rubbed the hawk's neck. The hawk closed his eyes happily.
– That is the ultimate weapon of the terrifying Prosecutor Blackquill. An abnormally intelligent and powerful hawk – his name is Taka.
Any time Apollo uses his ability, well, that happens. It leaves Prosecutor Blackquill's shoulder and comes to attack the defence bench.
“I forgot all about that hawk...”
Apollo shuddered incredibly.
“It's no use. We can't use your ability when we're in a trial with Prosecutor Blackquill.”
But it wasn't for naught. We know there's definitely something off about Mr. Lewis's testimony.
He's lying... Which means Ms. Cutter wasn't wearing her jacket.
But why would he lie about that? Is there something Mr. Lewis is hiding too?