Courtroom, office shenanigans

“I KNOW something you don’t”, said one colleague to me, as se passed the desk, one fine morning at work. OUCH! Like what ah? Anyway, that morning saw me on court-house duty and I sped off to Jalan Duta where the courts were back in the 80s.

What on earth did she mean? You know, office politics and gossip can get you going in a tizzy, if you let it. While pondering on any significance behind that remark, I was already in the courtroom, seated on one side of it, in front, on a long bench. That’s the way it was then at the magistrate’s court, long benches, the press on one side of the room, right in front, within touching distance of the lawyer’s table.

The case was one of murder by one Satwant Singh, who was accused of cutting off a man’s head and throwing in into the Gombak River in Kuala Lumpur.

He was brought in by the lockup cops, not in orang outfit, but in a T-shirt and pants, hands cuffed. He entered the dock, and  that too was within talking distance from the press, as it was just behind the lawyers’ tables.

The lawyers’ were arguing the merits of his case, as he sat in the dock, and exhibits were brought in by the police, including the parang used to chop off the head.

Next minute you know, the accused had jumped over the dock, and grabbed the parang. “Yes, I chopped off his head, and I will chop off yours too!” he shouted as everyone scrambled away from him. Except the press, a bunch of us, rotted it seems to the wooden bench.

The accused tried to make his way towards the press, and yes, I was still seated with notebook in hand. But the cops managed to grab his arms, before anything bad happened.

The magistrate, seated at the front f the room on a platform, had by then hidden herself behind her table. I saw her opening a door behind her, and scuttling into her chambers.

With the accused back in the dock, under the watchful presence of policemen beside him, the magistrate was called back and the case sort of limped along. We were all waiting for a break, really. It came soon enough when it was adjourned to the next day.

Oh my. It seems the accused had been moved by the sight of the parang, as the person he had murdered had been his lover.

Now, over a much-need teh tarik, at the lawyers’ room, cos the press room had nothing, not even a kettle, I wondered, I do hope that I I know something you don’t’ remark, had nothing to do with this episode. Oh so funny me!

Filed under Lifestyle/Heritage, Roses & Belacan
Subhadra Devan

A journalist who has been writing about culture, arts and heritage since the 1980s. She is herself gobsmacked to have started the Sunday arts pages for English newspapers in Malaysia, in the new millennium. The passion for these genres rages on.


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