29. The Verdict

My brothers and I sat outside the courtroom, still waiting.  The jury had been out for 5 hours, over two days.  Today was Friday 22 October 2010.  We were sitting there seemingly waiting, in a state of nervousness, anticipation and dread.

Miss R appeared, and said, “The barristers for both sides have been summoned to the Judge’s chambers for tea.”  I enquired what this meant and I was told that, “it always happens when the jury have reached their verdict.  Soon we will be in court.”  It was 12 noon.  At 12.30 we were ushered into the courtroom.  I sat next to GS, less than 8 feet away from where Robinson would be seated.

A door opened and in came Robinson.  He sat down, having never taken his eyes away from the Judge’s chair.  This was it, Robinson, the former professional boxer, winner of 31 professional fights.  I can now recall thinking, will he be winning his 32nd fight?  The outcome of this fight would be felt by all the victims, their families, the Police and, more importantly, Robinson.  After all, it was given in evidence that he never lost a professional fight.  Would the now grown up lads end his distinguished career record?  We all hoped and prayed we would.

The Judge entered and we all stood up.  I looked at Robinson and I saw an old man, having aged many years over the last few hours.  He looked vulnerable, scared and somewhat “not quite with us” as we all sat down.  The Judge asked the foreman of the jury, “have you reached a verdict?”  The foreman responded “yes.”

The Judge then went on to ask the most important question of the trial:  “On charge No 1, do you find the accused guilty or not guilty?

G and I looked at the foreman.

“Guilty.”

I grasped G’s hand and the Judge asked the foreman for the answers to the other 20 charges.

On each charge James Robinson was found guilty.

I still cannot believe the atmosphere.  There was no sound at all in court, no talking, no rejoicing, no nothing.  Then at the end of the charges the Judge adjourned the court for ten minutes.  The court stood up and the Judge walked out.  I looked at the clock.  It was 12.45 pm.  We all remained seated, not wanting to leave our seats.  Robinson too remained seated.  I watched him, there was a tear in his eyes.  The tear didn’t run down his face, that would have shown weakness.  But his eyes were far from dry.  I thought to myself, now he feels the threat, the pain, and the fact that everything happening is out of his control.

I thought, welcome to how we felt, as young lads, the difference is, you deserve the feeling, we did not.

At five to one, the court arose, and the Judge walked back in, taking his place, Lord of all he surveyed.  He spoke to the barristers for both sides and then, having reviewed some notes, looked up at Robinson.  It was now.  Now was the time that Robinson’s professional career would take a nose dive.  He had lost his 32nd fight, the most important fight of his career.  In fact, the most important fight of his life.  The grown up little lads had won, now it was time for the Official Referee to announce the score.

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