thewrightway: (Default)
Phoenix Wright (成歩堂龍一) ([personal profile] thewrightway) wrote in [community profile] aceattorneythenovel2017-05-07 09:51 am

Chapter 7: The Victim's True Colors (Japanese terminology)

[March 15, 10:00 AM: District Court – Courtroom No. 3]

The second day of the trial has begun.
“The defence is ready, your honor.”
“The prosecution is okay.”
The judge nodded and opened his mouth.
“In yesterday's trial, we held of on delivering a verdict due to a lack of motive for the defendant. The prosecution has told us that they would have an established motive today, but have you anything to show for it?”
Prosecutor Garyuu had a confident expression as he snapped his fingers.
“Of course. I've got the perfect witness lined up too.”
“In that case, I suggest we hear their testimony immediately.”
The courtroom doors opened and the witness entered.
The judge took one look at the witness and blinked in surprise.
“Ch-Chief Prosecutor Mitsurugi? What are you doing here? Are we switching to another prosecutor today?”
“Nothing of the sort. I'm here as a witness.”
“You're... a witness!?”
The judge was momentarily dumbfounded, but quickly regained his composure as he continued.
“Well in that case... Let's move on with your testimony. Ah, but first your name and occupation. Though it's hardly necessary, we should proceed for formality's sake.”
“Reiji Mitsurugi. I'm the Chief Prosecutor.”
Mitsurugi carried an air of authority greater than the judge as he introduced himself, leading into his testimony.

“My testimony does not relate directly to the incident. I will instead be discussing certain hidden details regarding the victim.”
“The victim... Uranashi-shi?”
“That's right. Masamichi Uranashi-shi was first elected at the age of 30, and in the 30 years since he's continued acting as a local politician in his hometown. While other members of parliament have been involved in various scandals over the years, he has always maintained a clean image. However—”
Mitsurugi's expression was even harsher than usual.
“But this clean image was merely a facade, he was a man who performed various dastardly acts for his own benefit.”
“... Eh? Then that means...”
“It's a long list. Accepting both personal and professional bribes, tax evasion, rigged elections... He was anything but clean.”
“Oh... Oh my...! Is this true?”
The judge's face was red with rage. He may be a fairly easy going judge, but it seems he has a deep hatred of corruption.
Mitsurugi nodded before continuing.
“Most notably were the deals involved in the construction of Umibeno Airport. To begin with, the city is windy all year round, making it an unsuitable location to build an airport. However, he has spent decades laying the groundwork for its development. He has received large amounts of money from construction and aviation companies. Though his public position was that it was 'for the city's development'...”
Mitsurugi slammed the witness stand. He had the expression of a prosecutor, not a witness...

“The only benefits were the ones made to Uranashi-shi's bank account. The prosecutor's office has been secretly investigating for evidence of fraud. Uranashi-shi noticed our investigation closing in on him and became desperate to dispose of all the evidence, however traces still remained. We were only a step away from exposing him... When Uranashi-shi was suddenly murdered.”
I was stunned.
There's should be no real connection between Uranashi-san's fraud and his murder. Yet Mitsurugi was still called as a 'witness' for the murder case.
Mitsurugi spoke.
“I think it's possible that the motive behind this murder may be related to Uranashi-shi's fraud. I've heard that our defendant has an incredibly strong sense of justice. It's possible that he may have learned of Uranashi-shi's fraud and found his actions so deplorable that he deemed it necessary to judge him by his own hand!”
The gallery went into an uproar. Newspaper reporters left the courtroom to pass on this latest information.
The judge slammed his gavel.
“Order, order! This is a truly shocking revelation. Does the defence have any objections?”
“—Of course I do.”
I nodded. It may be that Uranashi-san was in actuality a horrible person, but I wasn't willing to accept it as a motive.
“The defendant has no relation to Uranashi-san. There's no way he could have known about the fraud. It doesn't hold up as a motive!”
“Is that so?”
Prosecutor Garyuu opened his mouth.
Having fulfilled his role, Mitsurugi turned on his heel and left the witness stand. Prosecutor Garyuu gave him a light bow before he continued.
“Uranashi-shi had strong support from the people of Umibeno city. Among them are people aware of his fraud, yet who still support him. The reason for this is because they're in his debt.”
“Just little things. Using his connections to make sure their son gets into college. Keeping their businesses from going under. Sweeping away minor charges like speeding tickets.”
A number of people could be heard gulping nervously in the gallery. It seems a few of those people are in the audience today...
“But there were a few people who refused to give in to Uranashi-shi. And Toshinari Amakake-san was their leader.”
... It seems Prosecutor Garyuu has done his homework on Toshinari-san too...
The judge enquired.
“Toshinari Amakake? What kind of man is he?”
“He owns a ramen shop in Umibeno city. He's currently retired, having passed the shop on to his grandson. He's a straightforward man who directly butted heads with Uranashi-shi. As a result, they've been subject to harassment to drive the shop out of business. And it's worth noting that Toshinari-san's grandson, Meguru Amakake, the current proprietor of the store — is a close friend of the defendant.”
Prosecutor Garyuu had a triumphant smile.
“I'd like to summon our second witness, Meguru Amakake-san. His testimony will make the defendant's motive abundantly clear!”

Meguru-san took the witness stand with a disgruntled expression.
“Meguru Amakake. I run the ramen shop 'Taikuuken'.”
Quickly introducing himself, Meguru-San forcefully began his testimony.
“I've only one thing to say here today. Odoroki isn't a killer! He's the straightest arrow I've ever known. He'd never kill a man!”
“Come now, Amakake-kun.”
Prosecutor Garyuu cut in.
“We want a straight testimony from you. I never asked for an assessment of Forehead-kun's character, both you and I know him well enough.”
“Then it should be obvious! Charging Odoroki with murder is total bullsh...”
“You held a grudge against Uranashi-shi. A grudge you discussed with the defendant. Isn't that right?”
Meguru-san's manner suddenly changed.
His brashness faded away as he became timid...
“A grudge...? What for? Uranashi-san was a great politician. I respected him...”
“Tell us the truth. As your grandfather opposed Uranashi-shi, 'Taikuuken' began receiving harassment to drive customers away. It's only natural for you to resent Uranashi-shi.”
“Th-that's not true! Uranashi-san was a great politician!”
Meguru-San shook his head fiercely.
Uranashi-san was dead and gone, his fraudulent activities uncovered, yet his influence on the people of Umibeno city wouldn't fade that easily.
Meguru-san seemed to fear something.
It was at this point that Kokone-chan, who had been standing silently next to me until now, whispered to me.
“Naruhodo-san. Meguru-san's emotions are disturbed.”
“... Eh?”
“There's a lot of noise. If you point it out, he may open his heart a little.”
—That's right.
Kokone-chan's hearing really is impressive.
When there's a contradiction between someone's words and their feelings, she hears distorted 'noise' in their voice. Nothing gets past her hearing.
“But Meguru-san seems to be hiding his true feelings to cover for Odoroki-senpai. If he reveals how he really feels, it could put Odoroki-senpai at a disadvantage.”
Kokone-chan's expression clouded.
Indeed. The prosecution's goal is clear.
Meguru-san and Odoroki-kun are close. If Meguru-san's grudge against Uranashi-san became clear, it would be disadvantageous to Odoroki-kun. But even so, we can't avert our eyes from the truth. Only when the whole truth has been revealed can the right verdict be delivered. The verdict that Odoroki-kun is not guilty.
Holding on to this belief, I nodded to Kokone-chan.
Prosecutor Garyuu continued his questioning.
“It's no use denying it. It's quite clear that Toshinari-san hates Uranashi-shi.”
“N-not really. Grandpa doesn't hate Uranashi-san, they're childhood friends, so...”
“We have several accounts. There's a good number of people who have heard Toshinari-san badmouthing Uranashi-shi.”
Unable to hide it any longer, Meguru-san hung his head.
“... Yeah. It's true. Grandpa is so stubborn. He kept badmouthing Uranashi-san in public. As a result... all our customers have been driven away...”
So many of Umibeno city's residents owed Uranashi-san their gratitude. It's only natural they'd turn against those who opposed him. I'm not sure I can even imagine the harassment levelled at 'Taikuuken'.
“It seems your grandfather has caused you some trouble.”
“Totally! Every time he trash talks Uranashi-san, I'm always telling him. Uranashi-san is a great politician... geez! But grandpa never listens. I swear, he's such a handful...”
“Hold it!”
Kokone-chan raised her voice.
It's Kokone-chan's time to shine. I kept quiet and let her do the talking.
“Meguru-san, your statement just now strikes me as odd.”
“... How so?”
“Ah, it isn't about what you said... But the contradiction in your feelings.”
“... Contradiction?”
“When you described your grandfather as 'such a handful', you felt happy. I'm guessing in actuality you're proud of how your grandfather won't back down against Uranashi-san?”
Meguru-san's expression was as if he had been slapped. His clenched fists trembled. Kokone-chan looked Meguru-san directly in the eye.
Nobody can hide their true feelings from Kokone-chan.
Meguru-san averted his eyes for a moment, before lifting his head and speaking in a weak voice.
“... You're right. I was proud. Happy even... No matter the consequences, grandpa wouldn't back down from that bastard Uranashi...”
Tears streamed down Meguru-san's face.
“Even though we lost our customers and we barely made a living... I was still happy. I'd constantly complain about him, but I truly respect my grandfather...”
... Hm? Hold it. Something doesn't add up here.
I quickly identified what struck me as off and enquired about it.
“You barely made a living... Is that true?”
Meguru-san glared at me.
“We had no customers. Of course we weren't making any money!”
“But that doesn't add up. If you were really so hard up for cash, why didn't Toshinari-san give up his hobby?”
“Huh? What hobby?”
“His private aircraft. Even the smallest aircraft has significant maintenance costs. How did he cover the costs?”
“What are you talking about?”
Meguru-san tilted his head as he looked at me.
He didn't seem to be playing dumb. He seriously had no idea what I was talking about.
“Your grandfather has his own private aircraft, doesn't he?”
“Eh!? Private aircraft!? My grandpa!? You're kidding. The only vehicles we have are my old pickup truck and Wataru's worn out bike.”
Meguru-san stared blankly. Prosecutor Garyuu spoke with an exasperated shrug.
“I hate to say it, but Taikuuken's financial struggles are just as stated. Do you really think that they could afford something as extravagant as a private aircraft?”
No, but... Both Kokone-chan and I heard about it.
Meguru-san doesn't seem to be lying... what's going on with this contradiction?
“We heard Meguru-san's younger brother Wataru-kun talking about it. Grandpa's plane is the coolest... or something along those lines.”
Meguru-san stared blankly for a moment, before bursting out in laughter, slamming the witness stand.
“Ah, I see. So that's it! That's a total misunderstanding.”
“A misunderstanding?”
“Grandpa's plane is a paper plane.”
... Eh. A paper plane...?
“Grandpa is an aviation maniac, but he also loves paper planes. He came up with his own original way of folding them and taught all the kids in the neighbourhood, he's totally into it.”
“Paper... planes...!? Wataru-kun was talking about paper planes, not a private aircraft!?”
“Of course. It should've been obvious!”
The gallery tried to stifle their laughter. I never suspected that 'grandpa's plane' was a paper plane... I'd jumped to the wrong conclusion and embarrassed myself.
Prosecutor Garyuu gave a sarcastic laugh as he returned to the previous topic.
“Anyway, the witness hated Uranashi-shi. I'm sure you'll acknowledge that?”
Meguru-san nodded in resignation.
“You've seen right through me. I'll admit it. I hated Uranashi.”
“And you told the defendant about this grudge?”
“... Yeah. Odoroki was willing to hear out my problems, so... I told him all my complaints. How it was Uranashi's fault everything in town was screwed up... That we'd all be better off if he was dead...”
“And what did the defendant say?”
“He told me not to do anything stupid... Calmed me down.”
“Thank you. This has been an enlightening testimony.”
Prosecutor Garyuu turned back to the judge.
“We've established a motive. The defendant felt the pain of his friend Meguru-san—”
And in a finishing gesture, Prosecutor Garyuu pointed directly at the defendant's chair.
“And thus, killed Uranashi-shi in his stead!”
“... I see.”
The judge nodded. This is bad...
“The defendant has a strong sense of justice and cares for his friends. He kept his friend from going too far and... this is the result.”
I shouted immediately.
“That's no reason for the defendant to resort to murder! He'd sooner expose Uranashi-san's fraud fairly to save his friend!”
“I'm afraid your objection is overruled.”
The judge shook his head.
“To raise an objection, you need either a logical contradiction or physical evidence. Does the defence possess any evidence?”
I had no comeback. ... The judge was right. Evidence is everything in court. I can't use Odoroki-kun's temperament as an argument.
But I can't back down.
“We heard testimony from Shirai-san yesterday, however there's another person we haven't heard from — Hipokura-san. Shirai-san's testimony alone isn't enough!”
Prosecutor Garyuu gave a friendly smile.
“I figured as much, so I had him summoned to court today. It's about time we bring him out.”
... Ugh. Outmanoeuvred again. With a prosecutor this prepared, I doubt there'll be many holes in Hipokura-san's testimony...
No, if there's no existing holes, then I'll just have to poke some myself, that's my role as an attorney. I'll drag some useful testimony out of him one way or another.

“Michinaga Hipokura. I'm a doctor.”
Standing at the witness stand, Hipokura-san looked like an older gentleman with streaks of grey hair. He was plump and had a moustache below his nose.
Prosecutor Garyuu spoke.
“On the day of the incident, you didn't go to the waiting room with everyone else and instead were with Shirai-san, some may find that suspicious. What do you have to say?”
“There's nothing to be suspicious about.”
Hipokura-san answered.

“The reason I didn't go to the waiting room was because I was still shaken after such an unbelievable incident. I was in no state to be shut in a small room with a lot of other people. I noticed that Shirai-san had wandered off without entering the room, so I followed him.”
“Are you and Shirai-san close?”
“I wouldn't consider us close, but we are acquainted. I'm Uranashi-shi's doctor after all. I thought I'd be more comfortable with Shirai-san than a room filled with strangers.”
“And what did you do after that?”
“We went to the observation deck. It's calming to be able to get some fresh air.”
“The two of you were together there until the police arrived?”
“Technically, we headed back to the waiting room shortly before the police arrived. After that, everyone underwent a body search at Shirai-san's suggestion.”
“Just to cover our bases, did Shirai-san do anything suspicious on the observation deck? For example, disposing of or hiding anything.”
“Nothing of the sort.”
“I see, thank you. We have a clear picture of the situation.”
Prosecutor Garyuu turned back to me.
“As you heard, there was nothing out of the ordinary.”
“—I'm not so sure.”
I shook my head. The two of them are acquaintances. They could've spoken to get their story straight.
Anyway, time for my cross examination.
“You had no idea that Shirai-san and Uranashi-san were catching the same flight that day?”
“That's right. I had no clue until I saw Shirai-san in the departure lobby.”
“Did you speak with Shirai-san after you saw him?”
“No. I just waved to acknowledge him. I was paying attention to the soccer game on TV.”
“Then please tell us about when you heard Uranashi-san's scream and ran over.”
“I suddenly heard a scream and ran over without thinking. Shirai-san was cradling Uranashi-san in his arms. I said 'Don't shake him' and warned people not to touch the ice pick used as the weapon.”
“That's quite clear judgement.”
“It's part of the job. If I went into a panic any time someone collapsed, I wouldn't be much of a doctor. After all, I...”
Hipokura-san's expression warped.
“I was worried about Uranashi-san's condition. His eyes were rolled back and he was convulsing. I realised that this was no ordinary stabbing, I wanted to administer first aid immediately... But it was already too late.”
Hipokura-san hung his head.
“And after that, you stayed out of the waiting room and went to the observation deck with Shirai-san?”
“That's right.”
“And what did you discuss?”
“Eh? Oh, nothing... Nothing important at least.”
Hipokura-san's gaze was briefly uneasy.
... Huh? I wonder what that was. It was a question I'd asked with little thought, but something about it had shaken Hipokura-san. Is there some kind of contradiction hidden here?
“I don't care if it was unimportant. I want you to tell me what you discussed.”
Hipokura-san lost his cool and began looking around nervously.
“I don't know...? It was just small talk... I don't recall the details.”
“Having regular small talk right after Uranashi-san had died? Isn't that a bit too laid back?”
“No... I mean...”
Sweat poured down Hipokura-san's brow.
—I've got it. Hipokura-san can't testify on this point. The reason being—
“You can't remember a single thing you discussed? Were you really together with Shirai-san? You were really acting separately, weren't you?”
“Y-You're wrong! I really was on the deck with Shirai-san. Oh yes, I just remembered. I had a phone call.”
“A... phone call?”
“That's right. After the incident happened, I had to cancel my travel plans, so I called to tell my family. So I didn't really speak to Shirai-san.”
“You made a call from the observation deck? Did you use your cell phone?”
“... Oh... Uh... Yes, I did.”
I shouted at the top of my voice. I felt like a weight had come off my shoulders.
“There's no phone reception on the observation deck. Shirai-san's testimony attested to that yesterday.”
“... Howah!? Ah... I remember now!”
Hipokura-san leapt up flailing his arms about, before returning to his former calm gentlemanly demeanour.
“Th-that's right, I didn't recall correctly. I didn't take the call on the observation deck. It was after I'd returned to the building and things slowed down after the police search...”
“Hipokura-san. It's obvious that's a half baked lie. We can easily determine what time you made a phone call by checking your phone records.”
Hipokura-san leapt up flailing his arms about again... He's so transparent.
With all eyes on him, Hipokura-san confessed with embarrassment.
“Sorry... The truth is I never went to the observation deck. Well... I was planning to accompany Shirai-san, but he wanted to be alone... So we parted ways and I made my call in the hallway...”
“Shirai-san requested some time alone?”
“Why did you lie about accompanying him to the observation deck?”
“That's... Well...”
Having become a shadow of his former self, Hipokura-san twiddled his fingers timidly.
“Because that's what Shirai-san told me I should say.”
“Telling lies in court is a serious crime. Were you aware of that?”
“I... knew that, but... sorry. Just... if it was known I'd been wandering on my own outside the waiting room... I was afraid of becoming a suspect...”
Seems I've got all I need from him now. I turned to the prosecution. Prosecutor Garyuu was tuning his air guitar with a calm expression...
“Both Shirai-san and Hipokura-san were on their own. Either one of them had opportunity to dispose of weapon. The airport should be searched again!”
“Objection. I oversaw the investigation. It was very thorough, nothing was overlooked.”
“I told you yesterday. There was nothing found on the observation deck, the tarmac or the hallways. There's no way a weapon was disposed of.”
“Objection! Now that their lies have been exposed, we have to ascertain the objective behind their cover up!”
“Alright. Let's hear from Shirai-san again then.”
Prosecutor Garyuu looked at the gallery. His fangirls in the audience squeed. Some of them even waved hand fans about. This isn't a concert hall.
“Shirai-san, you're in the crowd today as well, right? How about you come on down to the stage?”
Prosecutor Garyuu gave a flashy signal to the bleachers... I mean, gallery.
And in response, none other than Shirai-san stood up.
He silently came down to the stage... I mean, witness stand. His expression was a little stiff, yet calm. When he reached the witness stand, Shirai-san gave a deep bow.
“I'd like to start with an apology. I'm sorry for lying about being with Hipokura-san yesterday.”

“Lying on the stand is a serious offence.”
The judge scolded him sternly. Shirai-san lowered his head again.
“I deeply regret my actions. I was embarrassed to admit the truth, so I requested for Hipokura-san to also lie to you... I can see I've inconvenienced you.”
“What is there to be embarrassed about?”
“I'm embarrassed about the reason I requested my time alone.”
Shirai-san pushed his glasses up with his finger.
“I needed somewhere to cry.”
“The boss I'd served for so long had been murdered in cold blood. I couldn't help but cry.”
“... I see, so that's how it is. A perfectly understandable reaction...”
The judge was quickly swayed by this story.
I won't be swayed so easy though. I spoke harshly as I glared at him.
“You stayed out of the waiting room and chased off Hipokura-san so you could cry alone on the observation deck?”
“Indeed. I like that observation deck. It's calming to watch the planes as they take off. I've often gone there to stare at the skies.”
“I see, so you're intimately familiar with the observation deck's layout.”
I nodded as I pressed for more answers.
“For example, you may know about little gaps, places you might hide things without being found?”
“–What might you be suggesting?”
Shirai-san scoffed. Prosecutor Garyuu spoke again.
“There's no 'secret hiding spots' on that observation deck. I swear upon my guitar.”
... I'm not sure how much weight there is to swearing on a guitar.
I looked to the judge.
“Shirai-san's lies have been to construct an alibi. First he put a gag order on Jinguuji-san, now he's persuaded Hipokura-san to lie to us. His bad intentions should be clear!”
“You think so?”
The judge shook his head.
“Not wanting to cry in front of others... I know that feeling well. Perjury may be a crime, but I see no ill will in his actions.”
Eh... Eeeeeeeh... The judge is way too easily swayed.
Prosecutor Garyuu spoke up.
“Yesterday's trial established that only the defendant had an opportunity to commit the crime. The only thing uncovered was his motive, which we've already cleared up today. Shirai-san has given a clear explanation for his lies. Is there any reason not to hand down a verdict immediately?”
“I agree.”
Shirai-san nodded.
“I've nothing else to hide. I intend to fully disclose all the details about the boss's fraudulent activities once this is over as well.”
The judge responded with a question.
“Oho? So you acknowledge that Uranashi-shi was involved in fraud?”
“–Yes. My boss was a fine politician, but he was blinded by greed and went off the straight and narrow. I told him countless times that he should cease his behaviour, but he refused to listen. Ultimately... I will accept the blame for this breach of the public's trust. Finally letting the truth out is an incredible weight off my shoulders.”
Shirai-san's voice trembled as he spoke.
The gallery once again became unsettled. People were whispering to each other.
(Shirai-san has done nothing wrong. Uranashi is the one at fault!)
(It must have been tough as his secretary. I feel sorry for him.)
Crap. The atmosphere in the courtroom seems to be heading for a swift verdict. At this rate a guilty verdict will be handed down.
Shirai-san lifted his head and spoke clearly.
“I would like to atone for my inability to prevent my boss's actions. And intend to do my best for the public in the future.”
He's speaking as if the trial is already over and he's planning his next step.
I won't let it end like this though.
Somewhere... There has to be a contradiction somewhere.
“I admire your resolve.”
The judge nodded.
“I would like to save your testimony on Uranashi-shi's fraud for another trial though.”
“Of course, I wholeheartedly agree. Which is why I feel we shouldn't waste any further time and bring this trial to a swift conclusion. After all, I've still got mountains of paperwork left behind by the boss to take care of.”
“Understood. In that case...”
The judge picked up his gavel.
The scene of the courtroom fell silent. The judge was about to hand down his verdict.
I took a moment to think during the silence. ... What was it? Something Shirai-san just said didn't seem right. Was there a contradiction there? He said he was busy... Because Uranashi-san left behind a mountain of paperwork. Well, of course a politician would be busy. I'm not sure what the contradiction...
It hit me. I finally realised. The unnatural element.
As the judge began bringing down his gavel, I shouted at full force.