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Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2016-10-05 08:35 pm

Chapter 7: New evidence (English terminology)

[June 22, 10:00 AM: District Court – Courtroom No. 4]

With nothing new to help my case, the second day in court began.
Ms. Cutter was in the defendant's chair, hiding her face as usual as if the whole world was her enemy.
As always, the judge banged his gavel to show that court was in session.
“The defence is ready, Your Honor.”
“... Are you okay, Mr. Wright? You're sounding a bit weak there!”
My assistant for today, Athena, whispered to me.
As a newbie lawyer, Athena doesn't have as much legal experience as Apollo, but right now her infectious optimism is exactly what I need.
“Ah... I'm fine.”
I lifted my head and looked at the prosecution.
“... Heh.” Prosecutor Blackquill gave a cynical chuckle, then looked to the judge.
“The prosecution has obtained some new evidence.”
“New evidence, you say? Oho... What is it? Please present it to us.”
At the judge's insistence, Prosecutor Blackquill held up something small.
I couldn't quite tell what was between his fingers. Something small, thin and black...?
“What is it?”
Prosecutor Blackquill answered the judge's question.
“A memory card. It was found in the pocket of the victim's parka.”
Ms. Cutter suddenly stood up from the defendant's chair.
She put her hands to he mouth, as if trying to contain a scream.

A memory card...? Could it be... that it contains what Ms. Cutter feared... the hold the victim had over her...?
“... A video is recorded on it.”
Prosecutor Blackquill spoke indifferently.
“It's an old video. From ten years ago. However – it will allow us to grasp the truth behind this case.”
“–Please stop!”
The one who shouted was Ms. Cutter. Her face was scrunched up.
“That's... That's...”
A bailiff started to set up equipment in the middle of the courtroom. A monitor to view the video on.
His progress was interrupted by, oddly enough, Prosecutor Blackquill.
“... The defendant is quite familiar with the content of this video.”
He looked at Ms. Cutter, who was petrified and trembling, as he spoke.
“If the defendant is willing to explain, we can forgo watching the actual footage. You can talk, or we'll show the video... It's your choice.”
... What's the meaning of this? What is Prosecutor Blackquill plotting this time...?
Ms. Cutter answered with tears in her eyes.
“... I'll talk. I'll tell you everything.”
Ms. Cutter wiped her tears and took a deep breath to compose herself, then she began talking.
About the secretly recorded footage from over ten years ago.

“... The video contains footage of my father.”
The moment Ms. Cutter started her confession, the judge cut in.
“Your father is Upton Cutter, isn't it? The former world champion boxer.”
“... Yes.”
“I remember them well, your father's exploits! He was a powerful champion. Especially with his legendary tenth title match as defending champion! It was back in the day, that passionate challenger would knock him down, only for him to keep rising to his feet with incredible fighting spirit... Then suddenly, he settled the match with his ultimate uppercut...! Even now, it was the greatest boxing match!”
The judge is really getting into it. I guess he must be a boxing fan. I never knew that.
I'm no expert on the subject, but I'm at least familiar with the name Upton Cutter. As the judge said, he's a former champion who is famous for that legendary match. If you were to poll boxing fans on the 'Greatest Match of All Time', then that match would undoubtedly come out on top.
The fact that Melody Cutter is the daughter of that legendary boxer has gained attention ever since her debut.
“... I was so proud of my father. I was aware he wasn't always the best role model as a parent, but it didn't bother me. In fact, I was pleased. I was proud to have such a splendid father... That's how things were.”
... Past tense? So things are different now?
Ms. Cutter's dark expression didn't give the impression of proudly talking about her dad...
“That video was recorded a few days before his tenth defending title match. It was secretly recorded without my father's knowledge. It shows my father... talking with his opponent, Max Fitch.”
“... What's that you say?”
Ms. Cutter closed her eyes and spoke in a single breath.
“My father bribed Mr. Fitch to throw the match.”
The judge exclaimed in surprise.
“What's that!? You mean to say he fixed the match!?”
“That's right. The match now known as the greatest of all time, was fixed in my father's favour from the beginning.”
In a moment the gallery fell silent, then it started buzzing like a beehive. Not even the judge pounding his gavel would restore order.
“Order, order in the court! Defendant, you're really saying your father's match was fixed!?”
“That's right. It's all there in the recording. Mr. Fitch was wary when meeting my father, so he prepared a hidden camera in advance. My father's unashamed attempt at bribery was all recorded on camera. Mr. Fitch refused at first, but it was an incredible amount of cash. He was having money issues at the time due to his extravagant lifestyle. Rather than risking things on a real match he couldn't predict, he could take the money and throw the match, retiring comfortably.”
Ms. Cutter spoke smoothly, finally getting the weight of this secret off her chest.
“The two of them planned the flow of the match in advance. First Mr. Fitch would take the advantage, knocking my father down countless times... But before the final count was up, he'd win with a miraculous uppercut.
“I... I can't believe it... That match... was rigged...”
The judge was in shock. He was in a daze, seemingly having forgotten his role entirely.
I was also shocked. Not about the boxing match though. Rather, about the fact that Prosecutor Blackquill had this as his first move.
The prosecution was one or two... possibly even ten steps ahead of me. We're closing in on the truth of this incident.
What am I even doing...!?
Ms. Cutter continued on.
“Mr. Ukulfaskul was Mr. Fitch's nephew.”
The gallery was once again consumed by chaos. Athena and I were both lost for words. Having already dug up all the facts, Prosecutor Blackquill listened indifferently.
“Mr. Fitch passed away from an illness half a year ago. Mr. Ukulfaskul found the memory card among his possessions. He then approached me and told me... I had to pay him off or else it would go public. That if I gave him the money, he'd give me the memory card... And of course, that he made no copies. It was all shrouded in darkness. I did as he said and paid him off several times.”
I heard the gallery whispering amongst themselves things like “Match fixer”, “Liar” and “She's the worst”. It seems that the match fixing scandal will be even bigger than the murder in tomorrow's papers and TV coverage.
Cold stares were upon Ms. Cutter. However she would no longer hide her face. The truth had set her free to show heartfelt confidence.
Allowing Ms. Cutter to testify in place of showing the footage, maybe Prosecutor Blackquill is going a little soft... It's possible. I mean, it'd be pretty tough for her to have to show off her father at his worst in front of other people.
... No, my perspective on this is too naïve. Prosecutor Blackquill is just as harsh as always.
“The defendant begged the victim to let this payment be the last, but was refused. The continual demand for more money drove the defendant to despair, that's when she decided... to turn to murder. That is the truth of this incident.”

“You're wrong! I only gave him the money. I didn't do anything else!”
Ms. Cutter objected.
– Then something happened. Athena whispered from beside me.
“It's odd. There's still some noise left.”
“There's a lot less than before, but there's still a little left. It seems like she's still hiding something.”
“Noise, huh...?”
– This is Athena's special ability.
Human emotions are complicated. No matter how much you try to hide them, some trace comes though in the tone of your voice. Athena's sharp ears can pick up the slightest hint of emotions in a voice. When a person's emotions are unstable or confused, it becomes perceived as 'noise' within their voice.
Despite coming clean on everything, there's still some noise remaining in Ms. Cutter's voice... Which means... There's something she's still hiding.
The thing she's hiding. It must be–
“Ms. Cutter. You broke the locker in waiting room B, didn't you?”
“... Eh!?”
Ms. Cutter's eyes widened.
There was nothing unnatural about her expression... but...
“The locker was in perfect working order a few days ago, but now it's broken. On top of that, your prints were found on the locker's handle. Did you break the locker and take its contents?”
“... Defence?”
The judge spoke with surprise.
“Um... I believe you're supposed to defend the defendant? Incriminating the defendant is the prosecution's job.”
“Yes, that's right. Which is why I would like this clarified.”
I nodded.
This was to eliminate Ms. Cutter's noise. Unless everything is cleared up, we'll never find the truth.
Ms. Cutter shook her head.
“I didn't do it! I know nothing about the locker!”
“Then why are your fingerprints on the handle?”
“That's... uh... I tripped. I tripped over near the locker and grabbed its handle by instinct. That's all.”
Ms. Cutter spoke nervously and averted her face.
Athena promptly whispered.
“There's an unnatural emotion. She's feeling intense fear.”
“Such incredible fear and surprise... Those emotions are showing in her voice. It's really strange for her to have such a reaction to just recalling touching a locker!”
– I'll have to put my faith in Athena's abilities!
I asked a question.
“Did something happen when you touched the locker, Ms. Cutter?”
“... Eh...?”
“You were incredibly shocked and afraid. Why is that? Please explain it to us.”
“I... I wasn't... afr... afraid...”
Ms. Cutter's voice trembled, before going silent – She seems to have accepted she can't hide it anymore. She spoke with her face hidden.
“... I'm sorry. The truth is... before Mr. Ukulfaskul returned to his room, I went through his things.”
“His things?”
“The bag on his table, the parka he left on the chair, stuff like that. I thought I might be able to find the memory card... but I didn't see it, so I thought I'd check the locker.”
I see. She felt guilty and didn't want to admit searching another person's belonging.
“But the moment I was about to open the locker, Mr. Ukulfaskul came back. I was so shocked my heart almost stopped...”
“Hold it right there. So that means you never opened the locker then?”
“I didn't open it. I just touched the handle.”
... But it was open when the corpse was discovered. And the victim's blood had splattered inside.
There's a contradiction. Perhaps there's some clue in that.
“Please testify in detail. About the moment Mr. Ukulfaskul returned.”
“... Sure. He saw me with my hand on the locker door and laughed at me. 'Take a look if you like. It's not in there.' he said, before taking it from his shirt pocket and flaunting it at me. He told me 'If you want it, then pay up.', so I reluctantly gave him the money. But he just put it back in his breast pocket and began humming. I begged him 'Give it. Let today be the end of it.' but... That's when Mr. Porter knocked on the door and spoke to me. I didn't have time to argue, so I gave in and went to the wing of the stage.”
... So at that point, the locker was still closed...
That's when I noticed something odd. There was a clear contradiction in the testimony.
“Ms. Cutter, you said Mr. Ukulfaskul put the memory card in his shirt pocket?”
“Earlier, 'the memory card was found in the pocket of the victim's parka.' is what Prosecutor Blackquill told us. That's a clear contradiction!”
Prosecutor Blackquill gave a weary reply to my objection.
“There's no contradiction. Shirt, parka... they're practically the same thing. The defendant was mistaken.”
“I'm not mistaken! He put the memory card into his shirt pocket. The breast pocket of the green shirt he was wearing.”
... The shirt's breast pocket.
The pieces of the puzzle are coming together in my mind.
“When Ms. Cutter discovered the body, she reached for the left side of his chest... Trucy Wright testified to that effect.”
Prosecutor Blackquill looked over the written records.
“... Ah. She did say that during police questioning.”
“Ms. Cutter. Do you recall your actions at the time?”
“... Yes. At the time, I... couldn't think of anything other than the memory card. I was going to search his breast pocket. But I came to my senses when Trucy stopped me.”
I looked to Prosecutor Blackquill.
“Mr. Ukulfaskul put the memory card in his shirt pocket. However, it was instead discovered in the pocket of his parka. This is a clear contradiction!”
“Concerning yourself with such minor issues is the height of foolishness... Hmph...!”
Prosecutor Blackquill slammed the prosecution bench as he spoke in a forceful voice.
N... No, this is a trial. We have to go over every small detail...
“There's no contradiction. The victim put the memory card in his shirt pocket, but later changed his mind and put it in his parka pocket instead... That's all.”
“Why would he do that? There's no reason.”
I shook my head.
“There's only one explanation for the memory card moving. A third party was in the room.”
“... What's that?”
“That third party was planning to frame Ms. Cutter. In order to do that, they had to be sure the memory card ended up in police custody. The video it contains would be a strong motive for murder... It would put Ms. Cutter at a clear disadvantage!”
Prosecutor Blackquill shut up. I continued with vigour.
“Ms. Cutter knew the memory card was in his shirt pocket. During the confusion following the discovery of the corpse, she could possibly steal the memory card. In order to prevent that, the culprit moved it somewhere else. The pocket of his parka on the chair!”
“You're forgetting something important, Wright-dono.”
Prosecutor Blackquill spoke, having not yet lost his calm.
“The door to waiting room B was locked. Unless we're dealing with a ghost, this third party couldn't have entered the room!”
– The culprit is no ghost. They're a flesh and blood person. And flesh and blood people can't just pass through locked doors.
Which means – there's only one possibility. I saw only one answer to the issue of the locked room.
“There's only one possible explanation. The culprit entered the room before it was locked!”
“What... did you say!?”
Prosecutor Blackquill was taken aback.
“Have you lost your marbles, Wright-dono? Are you saying there was a third party in the room when the defendant and victim were talking!?”
“That's right. And that person is the true culprit!”
“How could they hide in the room without being noticed... Well? Was the culprit the invisible man!?”
I shook my head.
“The culprit was neither invisible nor a ghost. The culprit is naturally a human.”
“In that case–”
“The culprit was hiding. There was only one place to do that. The culprit was inside the locker the whole time!”
Prosecutor Blackquill was lost for words.
Despite not being in use, the locker was open. I've finally solved that mystery.
I spoke with confidence.

“They're large lockers in that room. Large enough to fit a person. The culprit was hiding inside the locker the whole time, waiting for a chance to kill him!”
Prosecutor Blackquill slammed the bench fiercely.
“When was this exactly? At which point did this true culprit go in there?”
Think hard, Phoenix Wright. You have the clues!
Before the event started, when everyone involved was in waiting room A, Mr. Porter showed us the knife. Since the culprit stole the knife to use as the murder weapon, they obviously hid in the locker later than that.
Waiting room A didn't become empty until the opening talk started at around 1:00 PM.
And then Ms. Cutter entered waiting room B at 1:08 PM. Which means the culprit only had an eight minute window to steal the knife from waiting room A and hide in the locker in waiting room B.
Additionally, Mr. Knight from the book store entered the hallway around 1:05 PM, took off his mascot costume and passed right by the waiting rooms. There was only an incredibly short window where the culprit could act without being seen.
“Is something the matter, Mr. Wright?”
I came to my senses when I heard the judge call my name.
I've no time to lose myself. If I put the pieces together the right way, I'll soon see the truth!
“The culprit acted according to a tight schedule. It would be impossible unless they knew the event's time schedule as well as the layouts of both the waiting rooms and hallway.”
“Indeed, that's true.”
“The event staff were all busy working either backstage or in the audience seating, which means they were not anywhere near the scene of the crime. Out of all the people who knew these details – there can only be one suspect.”
“Oho? And who would that be?”
A certain person's face came to mind.
–I don't want to doubt him. He's someone who acknowledges Trucy's talent after all. But...
Within the strict limits of the case, he's the only one who could move freely like the invisible man. There's no other possible suspects than him.
“I'd like to summon some new witnesses.”
“Who would you like to call?”
I took a deep breath and named two people.